Legislative Column
— Week of Feb. 4, 2013 —

Dear Friends:

In an effort to keep you informed about the activities at your state Capitol and how those activities might impact your lives, I am offering a regular electronic newsletter. I will send you information about bills making their way through the legislative process, especially bills that directly impact the lives of Kansas Citians. I welcome your feedback and encourage you to contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you.


striped-barSenate Advances Measure Giving Flexibility When Intervening in Failing School Districts

I would like to thank my colleagues in the Missouri Senate this week for fast-tracking legislation that removes the two-year waiting period that exists when a school district loses its accreditation until the time the State Board of Education becomes involved. The Kansas City School District lost its accreditation on Jan. 1, 2012.

I spent months last year talking to parents, teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to find a solution to our school district's loss of accreditation. We came up with an acceptable solution, but unfortunately, House leaders held the bill hostage on the final day of session over an anti-teacher tenure bill we could not support. Those political games were a slap in the face to the 17,000 Kansas City public school students who deserve a quality education.

Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairman David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, is substantially similar to the bill that received unanimous Senate approval last year. It requires the Department of Education to conduct at least two public hearings regarding the accreditation status of a school district, and the hearings must consider community resources that could be utilized in helping the school district regain accreditation.

If we can get this bill to the governor's desk in the next few weeks or so, the State Board of Education could begin holding public hearings on the district's accreditation status this summer instead of next year. The sooner we can get together as a community to begin the work of regaining accreditation, the better it will be for our students. The most important aspect to me is our student academic achievement.

When it classifies a district as unaccredited, the State Board of Education may allow continued governance by the existing local board of education. If the state board appoints a special administrative board to oversee the district, the board must consist of at least five members, with the majority being district residents. In addition, the board members must reflect the population characteristics of the district and collectively possess strong experience in school governance, management, finance and leadership. A special administrative board will be responsible for the operation of the district until it is classified as provisionally accredited for two successive school years, at which time the State Board of Education may provide for a transition back to local governance.

Senate Bill 7 must receive one more affirmative vote in the Senate before moving to the House.

Introduction of Bills in the Senate

This week I introduced two measures in the Missouri Senate. One bill, Senate Bill 262, would prohibit health carriers from denying coverage for health care service if that service was provided through telemedicine if the same service would be covered when delivered in person. Receiving clinical health care through the phone or other information technology prohibits distance from acting as a barrier between an individual and their doctor when seeking medical assistance, medical assistance that could otherwise be neglected because it is not easily accessible in their community. In addition, telemedicine can be used to saves live in critical care and emergency situations. Missourians should not have to worry if their health insurance is going to cover this service in these instances.

The other measure, Senate Bill 263, relates to the creation of the crime of assaulting an employee of a mass transit system while performing his or her duties. Legislation that has been filed for numerous years to address a growing problem in our district, this bill would make it a crime of assault in the first, second and third degree when an individual harms an employee of a mass transit system, such as a public bus, while they are on duty. Penalties for these crimes would be a Class B felony, C felony or Class B misdemeanor, respectively.

Other bills I have filed this session include (notes last action):

  • Senate Bill 151 - Changes the notice requirement to a tenant in a foreclosure action from 10 to 90 days (assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee)
  • Senate Bill 152 - Allows judges to suspend the imposition of an adult criminal sentence for juvenile offenders (assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee)
  • Senate Bill 153 - Requires a non-custodial parent to pay child support until the child reaches 22 instead of 21 years of age (assigned to the Senate Seniors, Families and Pensions Committee)
  • Senate Bill 223 - Modifies provisions of the Public School Retirement System of Kansas City (introduced in the Senate)
  • Senate Bill 224 - Increases the maximum salaries that may be paid to the members of the Kansas City Policy Department and provides that actions taken against the police chief are subject to review (introduced in the Senate)
  • Senate Bill 225 - Modifies laws regarding educational parental support for higher education (introduced in the Senate)
  • Senate Joint Resolution 11 - Increases the amount of time for repaying the Budget Reserve Fund when monies from this fund are appropriated due to a disaster or the governor's reduction of the state's expenditures (introduced in the Senate)

To read more about my legislative actions in the Missouri Senate, visit my Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/curls and click on the various informative links, which include my news releases, under my Media tab.


About Sen. Curls:

Senator Shalonn "Kiki" Curls, a Democrat, represents part of Jackson County (District 9) in the Missouri Senate. She won a special election to the Missouri Senate in February 2011, and one re-election to the Senate in 2012 after having served in the Missouri House since 2007.

In addition to her legislative duties, Sen. Curls works in real estate development, and currently serves as the 14th Ward Democratic Committeewoman in Kansas City. She is also a member of St. Monica's Catholic Church.

Senator Curls received her education from St. Teresa's Academy in Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Senator Curls was born on Dec. 7, 1968, in Los Angeles, and is the mother of twins, James and Michaela.

Capitol Office:

201 W. Capitol Ave.
Room 434
Jefferson City, MO
(573) 751-3158

District Office:

4609 Paseo Blvd.,
Suite 102

Kansas City, MO


(816) 923-6000

Helpful District Services

Stay up to date with the KC Streetcar project by visiting www.kcstreetcar.org, where you'll be able to get the latest detour information, full maps of the route, access to project and construction updates, as well as other beneficial information regarding this modern and exciting transportation project in downtown Kansas City — scheduled to open Summer 2015.


I have received calls from constituents wanting to know how they can properly dispose of their plastic bottles, aluminum cans, old paint and yard waste. RecycleSpot.org is your one-stop location for information about recycling these and other products. You can also learn more about reusing certain items and waste reduction in the greater Kansas City area.