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02 September 2011

Keaveny: Special Session and Veto Session Approaching, Open Enrollment Event Approaching, Remembering 9/11

Special Session and Veto Session Approaching

My colleagues and I will collaborate again soon for the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly, and when we meet for our annual veto session. Our special session is scheduled for Sept. 6, and veto session is scheduled for Sept. 14.

While in Jefferson City, one of my top priorities is to focus on returning control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department back to the city. Fortunately, the local control matter was included in the governor's call for special session.

This is a matter that I have been working on since I was elected to the Senate — it's about time we update the current governance structure to be more efficient and increase collaboration among departments. Local control of the police department will save the City of St. Louis money and increase safety.

A delicate compromise was reached between the city and the St. Louis Police Officers Association, which sets the stage to return control of the police department back to the city. With many citizens and lawmakers backing the passage of the local control measure, it is my hope that we will be able to take the steps necessary to return control to the City of St. Louis.

For my complete interview regarding special session and local control, please click on this link or visit my Missouri Senate website at and click on "Multimedia" under the "Media" tab. You can also follow the progress of special session and veto session by visiting the Missouri Senate website.

Take Steps to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Crime

Nothing is more important than your family's safety — there are many steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of crime. Please take the time to review these important safety tips, provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Preventing Crime at Home

  • If you don’t belong to a Neighborhood Watch Program, join one, or form a new group if your neighborhood doesn’t have one. Contact the Community Outreach officer in your district for more information.
  • If you’re going out of town, load luggage into the car inside your garage. Don’t advertise you are going out of town.
  • Install quality dead bolt locks with one-inch bolt lengths on each door in your home.
  • Use an alarm system. While no system will make your home 100 percent safe, a quality alarm system can be an excellent crime deterrent.
  • Install a wide angle (180 degree) peephole on doors. This will allow you to see those outside your door but prevent anyone from seeing you.
  • Make sure your street address number is clearly visible from the street, especially at night, in case you require police service.
  • Illuminate your residence at night and regularly replace bulbs. Use timers and motion detectors if possible.
  • Don’t leave spare keys in recognizable spots.

Personal Safety Tips

  • Trust your intuition. If you feel threatened or something doesn't feel right, take action immediately.
  • Pay close attention to your surroundings.
  • Know safe places in the areas where you live, work, and play.
  • Don’t let strangers get too close to you, even if they seem to have a reason.
  • Walk with a purpose. Know where you are going ahead of time.
  • Avoid shortcuts that take you through alleys, gangways, and other unlit, isolated areas.
  • Have a plan before you see trouble. Be prepared to cross a street or duck into a store, if needed.
  • Carry a small amount of cash, and only the credit cards that you intend to use.
  • If carrying a wallet, carry it in a front pocket.
  • Leave your expensive jewelry at home.
Please click here for more safety information, or visit the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department website at

Open Enrollment Event for Seniors and Disabled Citizens

Click on picture at right for a larger image.

I will be hosting 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 and click here for further information regarding senior assistance.

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors

Please read over the 2011 Edition of the Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors guide to review your benefits.

The 2011 Edition of the Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors guide is now available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' website. This guide serves as an overview of benefits you and your family may be eligible for. The 2011 version also contains any changes in these benefits in the past year.

I strongly encourage you to take a look at this online guide. You will be able to review information regarding:

Please click here to go directly to the guide, or visit

BIO Benchmarking 2011 Event

At left: My friends and I at Gallus BioPharmaceuticals, located 4766 LaGuardia Dr. in St. Louis. Click on picture above for a larger image.

The Missouri Biotechnology Association (MOBIO) recently launched its "BIO Benchmarking 2011" event, in which I was happy to participate.

The program lasts four months, and is a "four-phase, nonpartisan legislative leadership education initiative and fact-finding tour."

The program’s objectives are to:
  • Promote engagement between Missouri’s policymakers and the state’s biotechnology leaders.
  • Broaden awareness of biotechnology’s economic impact across Missouri.
  • Share experiences from other states engaged in the biotechnology sector.
  • Sustain informed, open dialogue to facilitate bipartisan development for long-term and sound public policy.
We had the pleasure of touring many locations, including:

Click on this link to learn more about the event. To learn more about MOBIO, please visit or call (573) 761-7600.

Recap of the August Health Fair

I'd like to thank everyone who volunteered and participated in the health fair that was held on Aug. 13. We had more than 45 organizations present at the fair that offered valuable health information. Some of the participating organizations included:
  • Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services — provided disease prevention education, tips on how to handle tick and mosquito bites, information regarding safe swimming, and more.
  • City of St. Louis Department of Health — provided lead screenings, as well as information regarding HIV and hepatitis (314-877-2800).
  • St. Louis Women on the Move — conducted stress management workshops.
  • American Home Care — offered information regarding veterans' programs and seniors who need long-term home care (314-367-0600).
I'd also like to send my gratitude to members of Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church — you were very gracious hosts, and I appreciate your hospitality.

If you weren't able to attend the health fair and would like information regarding health services, please don't hesitate to call my office at (573) 751-3599.

Help Your Child Develop Good Homework Habits

As a lawmaker and parent, the quality of our children's education is of utmost importance. To help our kids succeed, we need to encourage them to make wise academic decisions, starting with focusing on homework.

Here are some tips you can use with your child to ensure he or she focuses on schoolwork.
  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that offers privacy.
  • Schedule ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
  • Supervise computer and Internet use.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's homework for him or her.
  • Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue, and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren't able to help him or her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.
(The tips above were provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics. You can visit its website at

I have the pleasure of serving on the Senate Joint Committee on Education — our goal is to provide our kids with the best opportunities available by monitoring the progress of our public schools throughout the year. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions regarding our public schools or your child's education.

Memory Care Home Solutions

At left: Senator Keaveny visits with Memory Care Home Solutions staff. Click on picture above for a larger image.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are an estimated 5.4 million people living with Alzheimer's disease in the United States, and every 69 seconds, someone develops the disease. (Click here for more facts about Alzheimer's Disease.)

Memory Care Home Solutions was created to accommodate this high number of adults who need care and family support. The non-profit organization was established to extend and improve quality time at home for families caring for loved ones with memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory Care Home Solutions operates three programs: Customized Caregiver Training & In-home Consultation, Education & Outreach, and Geriatric Care Counseling.

Customized Caregiver Training is the primary direct service program, and was created to reduce caregiver stress, promote the functioning ability of the person with dementia, and reduce the cost of health care. The Education & Outreach program offers free workshops and seminars for the community, and the Geriatric Care Counseling program provides on-demand, short–term telephone counseling and referrals for clients and the general public who are facing immediate elder-care crisis regarding memory impairment, or who need guidance in securing community services.

It was my pleasure to visit Memory Care Home Solutions — this organization is an excellent resource for families helping loved ones with memory loss.

To learn more about how you can help, please click on this link, and for more information about Memory Care Home Solutions, please visit

Ensuring Quality Health Care for Missourians

Missouri's federally funded, high-risk health insurance pool recently announced that it would reduce its customer rates by 23 percent. The pool guarantees health care coverage for Missouri citizens with pre-existing medical conditions who are often unable to purchase a policy from a private insurance company.

The Missouri Health Insurance Pool stated in a press release, "Our aggressive rate reduction is intended to make this much-needed health coverage more affordable. This pool is now insuring more than 550 Missourians who previously had no health coverage because they could not find affordable coverage in the commercial market. This premium reduction will make comprehensive health care coverage more accessible to Missourians with pre-existing medical conditions."

The quality of Missourians' health care is a vital issue. Last June, the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges was created, and I was happy to have been chosen to serve on the panel.

The committee is responsible for researching Missouri’s options regarding the establishment of a health insurance exchange and to study its effect on existing state laws. Health insurance exchanges are required under federal law — states may decide whether they would like to form their own health insurance exchange, team up with neighboring states to form an exchange, or join an exchange established by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

The Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges will share its recommendations on the establishment of Missouri’s health insurance exchange and its effect on state law to the General Assembly.

Please click here to listen to my full interview regarding the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges.

Remembering the Victims of September 11, 2001

It's hard to believe that 10 years ago, we were attacked by terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 American men, women, and children. I think we can all remember where we were that day when we heard the awful news.

So many feelings went through our heads — shock, fear, disbelief, anger, sadness, and the list goes on. We will never forget that horrible September day in 2001, but I believe our resolve is stronger than ever, and Americans stand even taller than before. The spirit of our country can never be diminished or destroyed.

I am so proud to be a citizen of this great nation and to represent you in state government. God Bless you and God Bless America.

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