Sen. Wayne Wallingford’s End of Session Report- Pt. 2


May 25, 2018

Legislative Session Concludes – Part 2


Senate Bill 693 – Guardianship Reforms

Senate Bill 693 would modify guardianship laws for seniors or individuals with disabilities. After receiving information from several constituents in the 27th Senatorial District, I discovered that Missouri’s guardianship laws often lead to undesirable situations with uninformed families not being given the chance to care for their loved ones. Under current law, a single hotline call can lead to an individual being taken out of their home and placed under the care of a public administrator.

This system has several issues. First, public administrators, especially in rural areas, have large caseloads, making it difficult for them to adequately provide attention and care for those who are relying on them. Additionally, family members of the person being placed in the public administrator’s care are often not informed about their family member’s whereabouts or status. Sometimes children or other relatives will discover months after their loved one has been placed in a long-term care facility and that the family belongings have been sold in public auction to off-set costs incurred by the state. Individuals removed from their home are moved into long-term care facilities paid for by Medicare, raising costs unnecessarily. Missouri’s current guardian laws result in damage to vulnerable Missourians and their families, overloaded public administrators and place unnecessary burdens on the Medicare program.

For these reasons, I filed SB 693, which modifies several provisions relating to guardianship in Missouri. Under this legislation, the court would be required to notify family members before a guardianship appointment hearing. Additionally, the person placed under guardianship will be able to create a list of their preferred guardians, requiring the court to either honor this list or provide legitimate reasons why a public administrator will be appointed instead. Also, if there is a claim of deficient living conditions, the court shall require an investigation by the Department of Health and Senior Services. A court must also make a determination that the living conditions are dangerous or unsanitary prior to deciding if that person needs to be placed under guardianship.

These measures are intended to protect the rights of people being placed under guardianship while ensuring that our state law does not circumvent a family’s ability to take care of their loved ones. Practically speaking, SB 693 will lessen the load on public administrators while reducing the costs associated with full-time Medicaid care.  This policy has been approved by the General Assembly, and once signed by the governor, will become law.

Senate Bill 574- Protecting Seniors from Abuse and Neglect

Senate Bill 574 requires mandated reporters in long-term care facilities to report suspected sexual assault to local law enforcement. Currently, these reports are only made to the Department of Health and Senior Services. Seniors in nursing homes are in a vulnerable position and should be provided the same protections as any other victims of sexual assault. This legislation would ensure that law enforcement is aware of a suspected sexual assault and can begin an investigation accordingly.

Senate Bill 574 is a common-sense change intended to protect thousands of Missourians residing in long-term care facilities. This legislation was amended onto House Bill 1635, which was passed by the General Assembly and now moves to the governor for his consideration.

Senate Bill 695 – Teacher Representative on the State Board of Education

Senate Bill 695 establishes a teacher representative position on the Missouri State Board of Education. This legislation came about after Karmen Carson informed me that teachers do not currently have a voice on the Board of Education, even though the decisions made by the Board affect everything a teacher does on a daily basis. Mrs. Carson has been teaching in the Poplar Bluff district for 18 years, served as a president of the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) for Southeast Missouri and is the daughter of my Chief of Staff, Bill Foster.

The Board of Education makes decisions about teacher certification, evaluation, state standards, graduation requirements and a variety of other expectations and regulations with which teachers must comply. Under SB 695, one teacher representative would be appointed as a non-voting member of the State Board of Education for a four year term. The position would rotate through the eight congressional districts in Missouri, starting with the 1st Congressional District and moving through the other districts every four years. An appointee would be required to be an active educator with at least five years of experience, a resident of Missouri and employed full-time as a classroom teacher.

Appointing a teacher to the State Board of Education will provide teachers a voice in the decision-making process while providing the Board with expertise and insight into the everyday experiences of classroom teachers. Senate Bill 695 was amended onto House Bill 1606 and has been passed by both the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives. Unless the governor vetoes the legislation, it will be signed into law at the end of this month.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Wayne Wallingford, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101, or email at or