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09 August 2011

Keaveny: Special Session Announcement, Free Gun Locks from SLPD, Health Fair Saturday

Special Session Announcement

In recent news, the governor announced that he will call us into a special session in September to work on economic development legislation — possibly when the General Assembly is at the Capitol for its annual veto session.

A delicate compromise was finally reached between the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Board and the St. Louis Police Officers Association, setting the stage to return local control of our police department to the city. The compromise protects officers' bargaining rights and employment benefits.

St. Louis city leaders expressed that the local control matter should be a priority during special session and majority leadership said they have no problem passing the local control measure. I sincerely hope that lawmakers will be able to form an agreement and give control of the police department back to the City of St. Louis.

Free Gun Locks Provided by Police Department

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department offers FREE gun locks to residents.

If you decide to have guns in your home, it is very important that you keep your weapons safe — many children die each year from misusing or playing with guns. According to a KSDK report published on July 21, four accidental shootings involving children occurred in the St. Louis-metro area in July.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department offers FREE gun locks to residents, courtesy of ATF and Project ChildSafe. The gun locks are available at 1200 Clark Ave. in St. Louis. There are also limited supplies of gun locks at the following stations:
  • North Patrol, 4014 Union, 444-0001
  • Central Patrol, 919 North Jefferson, 444-2500
  • South Patrol, 3157 Sublette, 444-0100

The Citizen Service Bureau

Many nuisance issues are handled by the city’s Citizen Service Bureau. If you have concerns regarding:
  • Refuse collection
  • Street maintenance
  • Traffic control signals and signs
  • Street lights
  • Requests for building inspections
  • Health inspections
  • Stray or vicious dogs
  • Accumulations of trash, weeds or similar problems
Contact them at (314) 622-4800, or visit the City of St. Louis website at

Legislation Signed By Governor

Uniform Trust Code

I’m very pleased to announce that one of my bills, SB 59, was signed by the governor. My bill will modify the Uniform Trust Code, among other provisions.

The bill clarifies creditors’ rights, provides flexibility to trustees and allows them to amend or create a new trust, consistent with the purpose of the original trust. This will provide a more reasonable timeframe for trustees to provide notice to beneficiaries of statutory changes, which will ensure that Missouri trusts are in compliance with federal tax law.

My bill also modifies the type of information that is required to include in a petition for guardianship for a minor or an incapacitated person, and adopts the Uniform Adult Guardianship of Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA).

When I drafted the legislation, I collaborated with the Missouri Bar, Missouri’s judicial branch and the attorney general’s office. Several organizations supported my legislation, including the Alzheimer’s Association.

I also had the pleasure of sponsoring several provisions that were adopted in the legislation. Some of those provisions include:

Judicial Procedures and Local Government

I filed SB 61, which requires at least one of the three commissioners appointed by the court in condemnation proceedings to be either a licensed real estate broker or a licensed or certified real estate appraiser. These professionals can accurately assess the fair market value of the property rights acquired. The provision was added to HB 111, which was signed by the governor.

Firefighter Education Benefits

I offered an amendment to HB 664 and HB 282, which pertains to education reimbursement for firefighters on disability. The amendment addresses the minimum GPA that a firefighter must maintain to receive education benefits. Both bills have been approved by the governor.

Tower Grove Park Board of Commissioners

I offered an amendment to HB 142 that authorizes the board of commissioners of Tower Grove Park to adjust the size of its membership upon the approval of a majority of its members. The bill has been approved by the governor.

Maintaining Water Fees

I filed legislation to ensure our rivers, lakes and streams continue to be healthy and clean. Senate Bill 158 extends clean water fees to provide continued funding for the federal Clean Water Act and the Missouri Clean Water Law. This provision was included in HB 89, which was approved by the governor.

Help With Your Insurance Complaints

The Missouri Department of Insurance is available to help you with complaints and questions about your insurance company.

It's no secret that insurance matters can be confusing. To help answer your questions, the Missouri Department of Insurance is here to assist you and can serve as a liaison between you and your insurance company.

The Dept. of Insurance is available to help with complaints regarding insurance companies, and is able to:
  • Forward a copy of your complaint to your insurance company and require the company to provide a response and explanation.
  • Review the company’s response for compliance with applicable Missouri insurance law and policy requirements.
  • Require the company to take corrective action if its determined that the company’s position does not comply with Missouri insurance law.
  • Help you understand your insurance policy.
  • Use a process called external review to resolve disputes with your insurance company, if the dispute is medical in nature. For example, the dispute could be about whether a service is medically necessary.
More than 20,000 consumers contact the department each year to file complaints and ask general questions about insurance. The department can explain which insurance companies have the highest rates of consumer complaints, and verify that companies and agents are licensed in Missouri. Each year, the department returns about $10 million to consumers who filed complaints because their claims were underpaid or their premiums were too high.

To contact the department, call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit

Free Health Fair

It's almost here! My FREE health fair is on:

Saturday, Aug. 13., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church
5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in St. Louis

At the health fair, information will be provided regarding breast cancer, mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, senior health, asthma, responsible parenting, Alzheimer's Disease, and more.

Some of the health organizations that will be happy to help you at the fair include:

Medical professionals will be available to test your blood pressure and eyesight — lead and HIV screenings will be available as well.

Please call my office at (573) 751-3599 if I can answer any questions you have regarding this event, or e-mail Stacy Morse at stacy{dot}morse{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov. I hope to see you there!

Missouri's FY 2012 Operating Budget

On May 5, the General Assembly delivered the state's FY 2012 operating budget to the governor, one day before its constitutional deadline. The $23.2 billion spending plan included funding for Missouri's vital programs and departments.

On June 10, the governor approved the operating budget — however, he decided to withhold $172 million from the budget. These cuts include $14.9 million for universities, $1.9 million for community colleges, and $8 million for school transportation. I am disappointed that Missouri schools took a hit in the budget, but I understand that difficult decisions had to be made. Missourians have seen difficult economic times, especially considering the natural disasters that hit our state, and funding has to be distributed wisely.

Open Enrollment Event: Learn More about Your Medicare

I will host a FREE Medicare Open Enrollment event for senior citizens and citizens with disabilities:

Tuesday, Oct. 18., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church
5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in St. Louis

There, you will be able to:
  • Learn more about your Medicare options
  • Enroll in a new prescription drug plan for 2012
  • Visit with senior services organizations
  • See if you qualify to pay less for Medicare
Medicare experts will be available to answer any questions you may have — counseling is FREE and confidential.

Organizations interested in participating in this event are absolutely welcome — if you would like to participate and provide your services to seniors and disabled citizens, please call my office at (573) 751-3599.

For more information regarding this open enrollment, please visit or call 1-800-390-3330.

Click here to view my postcard for the event.

Matters that Continue to Be of Great Importance

At right: Thomas J. Irwin was appointed to serve on the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. The Senate confirmed his appointment on May 11. I hope that local control of the St. Louis police department will be addressed during special session.

Seat Belt Fines

For the past few years, I have been working to increase seat belt use in Missouri, which remains stuck at 76 percent. The national average is 85 percent and seat belt use in neighboring Illinois is over 92 percent. This year I sponsored
SB 24, which would increase the fine for seat belt violations from $10 to $50 in an effort to increase seat belt usage in Missouri. I will reintroduce this important legislation next session.

School Attendance

Inconsistent school attendance often accounts for students not graduating — it's vital that young children attend school on a regular basis. I filed SB 124, which would have required children in St. Louis to attend school at age five instead of seven. This would have helped identify students with special needs and would have prepared children for future learning. The well-being of our children remains a top priority for me, and I will continue to promote a quality education for all in Missouri.

Payday Loan Reform

For the past five sessions, we have been trying curb the abusive practices of the payday loan industry in Missouri. Senate Bill 295, which I sponsored this year, would amend state law relating to unsecured loans of $500 or less. It also would prohibit lenders from renewing such loans and create a statewide compliance system to ensure lenders play by the rules. The eight states that surround Missouri currently prohibit payday loan renewals. The federal government has stopped some of the worst payday lending practices targeted at our military families, and other states have enacted consumer guidelines to protect their citizens from predatory lenders. I think it is past time Missouri showed the same compassion for its citizens.

My Trip to Turkey and the Niagara Foundation

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Turkey with my fellow lawmakers and friends. We were guests of several people representing the Niagara Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring people together and promote understanding, tolerance, respect, and compassion between people of various backgrounds.

The Niagara Foundation Missouri Branch organizes trips to Turkey with a goal of strengthening friendships between people in the East and West. The trip was a very educational and memorable experience.

During session, several members of the Turkish community in Missouri came to the Capitol and received a goodwill resolution (along with a standing ovation) passed by the House, which recognized the Turkish community in our state and honored our friendship.

Thank you to our hosts for your hospitality and generosity. To learn more about the Niagara Foundation, please visit, or click on this link to go directly to the Missouri branch of the Niagara Foundation.

My friends and I at Hierapolis, near Denizli, Turkey.

Meeting with the governor of Denizli, Turkey.

Overlooking Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey.

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