Serving in the Missouri General Assembly since 2007
Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 8, 2016

Senator Curls' Biography
Senator Shalonn "Kiki" Curls, a Democrat, represents part of Jackson County (District 9) in the Missouri Senate. After serving in the Missouri House since 2007, she won a special election to the Missouri Senate in February 2011. Senator Curls won re-election to the Senate in 2012. <<more

Capitol Office
201 W. Capitol Ave.
Room 434
Jefferson City, MO 65101
(573) 751-3158

District Office
4609 Paseo Blvd.
Suite 102
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 923-6000

Affordable Care Act
The federal Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA, puts you in charge of your health care. Under this law, passed in 2010, you have the stability and flexibility you need to make informed choices about your health.

For more information on how the ACA can benefit you, please click here or visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at

To sign up for health insurance coverage, please click here or visit the Insurance Marketplace website at

If you or someone you know are at-risk of suicide, there is help available, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the website

Legislation Calling for Meaningful Criminal Justice Reform Heard in Committee

This week I was happy to see several of the measures I filed this session take another step forward in the legislative process. On Wednesday I presented four bills to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Two of the bills are part of my ongoing efforts to affect meaningful reform in Missouri’s criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 604 seeks to reduce recidivism rates by requiring the Department of Corrections to enhance its educational and job training program offerings for offenders. Through SB 604, we hope to increase the number of offenders who earn GEDs, provide job and life skills training, work with schools and employers to offer a variety of training programs that provide occupational certification or licensure, and ensure offenders transitioning from incarceration back into society have a copy of any certification or license they earned. Reducing recidivism rates is a win-win scenario for all parties: it increases public safety, provides offenders with a path toward true and lasting rehabilitation, and decreases the enormous cost of housing these offenders for years.

Senate Bill 674 requires the Board of Probation and Parole to review the case history and prison record of any offender who is incarcerated, serving a sentence of more than 15 years, has no prior felony convictions, has served at least 15 years and has exhausted all state and federal appeals. Following the review, the board must report, within a reasonable time, a recommendation to the governor on whether to deny or grant executive clemency.

I also presented two bills aimed at making it easier for concerned citizens to help keep their neighborhoods clean and safe, and for tenants to recover their money if their deposits were unfairly kept.

There are numerous abandoned buildings throughout the Kansas City area. These buildings not only become gathering places for criminal activities, but also devalue the surrounding neighborhood, both economically and culturally. Senate Bill 742 allows certain people to enter abandoned property to secure it, remove trash and graffiti, and maintain the grounds. It also provides immunity from civil and criminal liability. As legislators, we should be encouraging responsible stewardship in our communities. If there are individuals who are willing to step up and dedicate their time and energy to improving our neighborhoods, then we should do what we can to assist them in their efforts. That is exactly what SB 742 does.

Finally, Senate Bill 743 expands the amount of damages a tenant can recover from a landlord who has wrongfully held any portion of their security deposit and prohibits landlords from commingling their tenants’ security deposits with their own personal funds. The bill also provides that landlords must keep tenants’ security deposits in a bank, credit union or depository institution that is insured by an agency of the federal government; however, any interest earned belongs to the landlord.

Leaving Behind the Stigma of Past Crimes

How long are we going to make individuals who have paid their debt to society carry the stigma of their past crimes? It is a question Missouri lawmakers have been debating for years and are once again trying to answer.

Technology has made it extremely easy to check a person’s criminal background, and every mistake is out there for the public to see. This means that even though a person has served their time, they may continue to pay for their past crimes for years, decades and sometimes the rest of their life. From being denied housing to the enormous difficulty of finding a decent job, they continue to be punished at nearly every turn.

Under current Missouri law, individuals can petition to have certain criminal records expunged, but the list of eligible crimes is extremely limited and a person must wait 10-20 years before they are even able to request an expungement. Despite public support to overhaul this process, the Legislature has been unable to agree on a better system.

For the second year in a row, I have filed legislation to help the men and women who have paid their debts to society take back their lives and livelihoods. Senate Bill 603, which was heard in committee on Tuesday, Jan. 26, expands the crimes eligible for expungement to any infraction, municipal offense, misdemeanor or felony. Exceptions include any violent crimes or offenses requiring registration on the sex offender registry. The bill also allows a person to petition for expungement 10 years after completing their sentence and probation for a felony, and 5 years after completing their sentence and probation for a misdemeanor, infraction or municipal offense.

The legislation in no way guarantees these individuals will be granted expungement. It does, however, modernize the expungement process to deal with new technologies, and allows those who have served their time to more easily move on from their past crimes. It is my sincere hope that Missouri lawmakers do not let these important reforms fall by the wayside for yet another year.

Missouri Senate Continues with Municipal Court Reform Efforts

Last session the Missouri Legislature came together to pass meaningful municipal court reform legislation in the form of Senate Bill 5. The measure aimed to put an end to the abusive traffic ticketing practices that were occurring in some of our municipalities by reducing the amount of revenue municipalities could keep. The provisions of SB 5 have since gone into effect and our judicial system is the better for it.

As part of an effort to expand on last year’s municipal court reforms, legislation has been filed this session that further restricts a municipality’s ability to use fines to generate revenue. In addition to reducing the maximum allowable fine for minor traffic violations and municipal code violations from $300 to $200, Senate Bill 572 seeks to place municipal ordinance violations under the same caps as those passed in SB 5, which specifically apply to traffic violations. The bill also requires municipalities to remit any collected funds that exceed the cap allowance to the Department of Revenue for the county school fund. The Senate voted Thursday, Jan. 28 to pass SB 572. It now goes to the House for further debate.

Another piece of reform legislation under consideration in the Senate is Senate Bill 765, banning traffic ticket quotas. Currently, requiring or encouraging a political subdivision employee to issue a certain number of traffic citations is only illegal in St. Louis County. If signed into law, SB 765 would make traffic ticket quotas illegal in any political subdivision in the state.

Senate Website | Current Media | Sponsored Bills

Subscribe | Unsubscribe