• 28 Nov 2016 9:48 AM | Anonymous

    With a Republican super majority in the legislature and Republican Eric Greitens replacing Democrat Jay Nixon as holder of the veto stamp, there could be a lot of legislation passed and signed into law that has had the legs the past few years.  For those of us in Kansas City area, that means concern or joy (depending on your perspective) over the prospect of another bill to repeal the 1% earnings tax.

    For those of you that view a repeal bill as negative, including the 77% that voted in favor of the 1% tax the last time it was on the ballot, you have good reason to believe that a repeal bill will not be part of the 2017 agenda.  First, Senator Kurt Schaefer, the big proponent of the repeal bill was term limited out of office.  Second, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, who sponsored a repeal bill last session recently said that he does not intend to sponsor a similar bill this session.

    So, what will be at the top of the Republican legislative agenda for 2017?  Let me know what you think should or shouldn't be the legislature's focus?   

  • 15 Sep 2016 5:28 PM | Anonymous

    Missouri's veto session began on Wednesday, September 14.  By the end of the day, 13 of Governor Nixon's 20 vetoes had been overridden.  I'll address the impact of other bills in future posts, but the bill getting all the attention is that which allows concealed carry without a permit and expands the so-called stand your ground law.  This is the bill that lead KC Mayor Sly James to fear that the legislature would "double down on stupid."  As Mayor James said earlier today (Thursday the 15th), this result was not surprising.  The Kansas City Star had made an overly optimistic pitch about how the veto might not be overridden now that some Republicans had begun to express concerns over citizens carrying weapons without a permit and without the benefit of training classes.  That was never a realistic possibility as this was always going to be a party line vote.  The NRA was heavily supportive of this bill that makes Missouri the 10th state where concealed carry is permissible without a permit.  The law takes effect January 1, 2017.

    Tim West
    MO Legislative Monitor
    LAKC Board of Directors

  • 08 Sep 2016 6:51 PM | Anonymous

    The selection committee for the Coburn Award is seeking nominations for Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s Honorable H. Michael Coburn Community Service Award. This award was created in 1995. The Committee will select an award winner whose noble work and honorable efforts in service to the community will serve as an inspiration to others in the legal profession.


    • Current member of the Missouri Bar practicing in the Jackson County area.
    • Demonstrated, in the spirit of Legal Aid, outstanding service to advancing the administration of justice on behalf of low-income people in the Jackson County area.
    • Outstanding service to the community with a particular emphasis on volunteer activity and leadership, other than work directly for bar associations (pro bono case work on behalf of low-income people that is done through a bar association may be considered).

    The Procedure:

    The nomination form, along with appropriate supporting materials. Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 by The Coburn Community Service Award Committee, c/o Legal Aid of Western Missouri, 1125 Grand Avenue, Suite 1900, Kansas City, Missouri, 64106. Applications may also be submitted on-line to Any questions should be directed by e-mail to Gregg Lombardi at

    Deadline for nominations to be received by Legal Aid is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, 2016.

    Download a nomination form.

    Past Coburn Award Recipients Include:

    2015 Pat Stueve
    201 Suzy Block
    2013 Steve Chinn
    2012 Dale Irwin
    2011 Denise Henning
    2010 Janeen deVries
    2009 Charley German
    2008 James Heeter
    2007 Matthew J. O’Connor
    2006 Richard W. Miller
    2005 Lisa Gentleman
    2004 Honorable Jon Gray
    2003 Courtney Koger
    2002 Honorable Justine Del Muro
    2001 C. Patrick McLarney
    2000 John Kurtz
    1999 John Johnston
    1998 Honorable Christine Sill-Rogers
    1997 Elaine Drodge Koch
    1996 Honorable Hal Lowenstein
    1995 Bronwyn Werner

  • 06 Sep 2016 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    Governor Nixon vetoed 22 bills in the 2016 regular session.  The veto session in which the General Assembly will consider only those bills returned by Governor Nixon convenes on September 14.  SB 586, relating to charter schools, has already been overridden.  Here is a short summary of some the bills vetoed by the Governor this last session:

    *         HB1414 [SCS HB 1414] - This bill would have allowed for a voluntary reporting of agricultural information that is now mandatory.  Governor Nixon vetoed the bill arguing the public has the right to know the information.

    *         HB1432 [SS#2 SCS HCB HB 1432] - This bill requires a hearing within 60 days of an employee being placed on administrative leave.  Governor Nixon vetoed the bill arguing that it would make it harder for employers to punish employees and would give procedural rights to employees not currently entitled to such protections.

    *         HB 1631 [SC#2 SCS HCS HB 1631] - This is Missouri's take on a voter ID bill, requiring government-issued photo ID to vote.  This is similar to a bill that Nixon vetoed in 2011.  We'll see if there are votes to override the veto this session.

    *         SB 591 [SCS SB 591] - This bill would modify Missouri's statute regarding expert testimony to essentially put in place the Daubert standard used in federal courts and many other states.  The bill had a fair number of Republicans vote against it on its initial passage so it is doubtful there will be the votes to override the veto.

    *         SB 847 [SS#2 SB 847] - This bill would have ramifications for the collateral source rule and damages evidence in personal injury cases.   If passed, parties could introduce evidence of the actual cost, rather than the value, of the medical care or treatment to the plaintiff.  The bill would also repeal a provision of law which provides that there is a rebuttable presumption that the value of the medical treatment provided is represented by the dollar amount necessary to satisfy the financial obligation to the health care provider. The bill would provide that the actual cost of the medical care or treatment shall not exceed the dollar amounts paid by or on behalf of a patient whose care is at issue plus any remaining amount necessary to satisfy the financial obligation for medical care by a health care provided after adjustment for any contractual discounts, or price reduction.

    Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
    LAKC Board of Directors

  • 19 Jul 2016 12:26 PM | Anonymous

    Let's say an applicant just so happened to be convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime in the past and he'd like to have that removed from his criminal record as it is proving a hindrance to gaining employment.  As of January 1, 2018, it will be much easier.  This legislative session SB588 was passed and recently signed by Governor Nixon.  The bill expands the type of crimes that are eligible for expungement, removes the limitation of one expungement per Circuit Court and shortens the time before expungement can be sought.  Previously one would have to wait 10 years for a misdemeanor and 20 years for a felony.  Now, just 3 years and 7 years respectively.  Keep in mind there are still a lot of crimes that are not eligible to be expunged.

    If a conviction is expunged, the applicant is no longer required to disclose the conviction in most circumstances.  The bill expressly says that after expungement, an application may answer no to the conviction question on an application.  Convictions must still be disclosed when seeking certain licenses (including professional licenses) and for certain jobs where employers are prohibited from hiring individuals with certain convictions.  The bill puts the burden on the employer to inform the applicant of this.

    While Governor Nixon stated that this bill balances the interest of those previously convicted of certain crimes with the interest of employers, this will create new challenges for employers.

    Tim West, LAKC Board of Directors
    MO Legislative Monitor

  • 14 Jul 2016 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    Following up on Senate Bill 5 from last year, which reacted to the DOJ's critical report of the Ferguson Municipal Court system, this year Senate Bill 572 was passed and has been signed by the Governor.

    The Governor's staff prepared the following statement for him to proclaim: "The purpose of municipal courts is to protect our communities, not profit from them," said Gov. Nixon. "This bill builds on the landmark reform legislation I called for and signed last year, and will help ensure all our municipal courts operate with fairness, openness and accountability."

    So, what does SB572 really do?  First, understand that it has a lot of provisions and is not a focused bill.  It requires municipalities in St. Louis County to review their construction codes by 2018, but not to adopt any particular updates.  So, just not sure what that will accomplish or why the Missouri Senate needed to tell municipalities in St. Louis County to do that.

    But the meat of the SB and what Gov. Nixon was talking about is that the act changes the definition of court costs to exclude any certified costs, and to include fines added to the annual real estate tax bill or a special tax bill of a property owner for the cost of nuisance abatement and removal. The definition of minor traffic violation is modified to include traffic ordinance violations for which no points are assessed to a driver's driving record and amended charges for any minor traffic violation and adds a definition for municipal ordinance violations.

    The maximum allowable fine for minor traffic violations has been lowered from three hundred dollars to two hundred twenty-five dollars. For municipal ordinance violations committed within a twelve month period beginning with the first violation: the maximum allowable fine is two hundred dollars for the first offense, two hundred seventy-five dollars for the second offense, three hundred fifty dollars for the third offense, and four hundred fifty dollars for the fourth and subsequent offenses. No court costs shall be charged to defendants found to be indigent. Municipal courts are also required to not charge defendants for costs associated with community service alternatives.

    Municipal ordinance violations and amended charges for municipal ordinance violations are added to the calculation limiting the percentage of annual general operating revenue that can come from fines and court costs for minor violations and to provisions regarding fines, imprisonment, and court costs in municipal court cases. Municipal ordinance violations are also added to municipal disincorporation provisions if a municipality fails to remit excess annual general operating revenue to the Department of Revenue for the county school fund and the disincorporation threshold has been lowered from sixty percent to a majority of participating voters.
    This act also specifies that the state is not liable for the debts of a municipality that is financially insolvent.  So, Missouri has effectively limited the amount of proceeds that municipalities can generate through policing  and the Courts, which will put many municipalities into financial jeopardy so the State needed to clarify they weren't going to be responsible for those messes.

    While SB572 does impose a limit on the number of municipalities one can be a judge in - 5 (remember we are talking about a lot of small communities here where muni court is once or twice a month at night), it does nothing to address the requirement for being a municipal court judge.  That's right, if you are between the ages of 21-75 and live in the State of Missouri, you can be a municipal judge.  A law degree is not needed - maybe that would be a good place to start on reforming our municipal court system.

    Tim West, LAKC Board of Directors
    MO Legislative Monitor

  • 22 Jun 2016 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    The LAKC-YLS will hold elections for the 2016-17 YLS Board of Directors on Thursday, June 23rd at Char Bar.

    Members may vote by ballot (link below) by 5pm on June 23rd. Please return this ballot to Molly Keppler by e-mail to, or by U.S. mail to Molly Keppler, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, 1201 Walnut St., Suite 2900, Kansas City, MO 64106. Ballots, whether sent by e-mail or U.S. mail, must be received prior to 5 p.m. on June 23, 2016, to be counted.

    If you prefer to vote in person, you may do so at the LAKC-YLS Elections on June 23, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Char Bar, 4050 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri. There is no cost to attend and reservations are not required. Link to event listing: LAKC-YLS Annual Elections 

    LAKC-YLS 2016-17 YLS BOD Ballot.pdf

  • 24 May 2016 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    LAKC's Annual Meeting will be held Wednesday, May 25th from 5:30-7pm at Amigoni Urban Winery. The meeting portion of this happy hour event will begin at 6pm; all members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

    There is no cost to attend; registration is not required.

    LAKC 2016-17 Slate of Officers and Directors.pdf

  • 29 Apr 2016 10:50 AM | Anonymous

    Circuit Court of Jackson County Job Posting # 043 - Coordinator/Attorney

    043_CoordAttorney job posting 4.16.pdf

  • 17 Apr 2016 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    Missouri Senate Bill 661 has been perfected and is on the Senate's formal calendar for third reading today.  This bill is proposed by Senator Bob Dixon (R) of Greene County.  The bill would create a private cause of action for those persons injured by "[any] person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of the state of Missouri or any political subdivision thereof, subjects, or causes to be subjected, ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Missouri Constitution and laws of this state...."  The bill also adds significant language to the existing law concerning an officer's use of force.  Specifically, it adds language stating that the use of physical force in making an arrest is not justified unless "the amount of physical force used was objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the particular facts and circumstances confronting the officer on the scene, without regard to the officer's underlying intent or motivation."  The bill also proposes important limitations on deadly force.  For instance, the where the statute currently permits deadly force when effecting arrest if the suspect has "committed or attempted to commit a felony" the words "offense involving the infliction of threatened infliction of serious physical injury" has been added.

    Tim West, LAKC Board of Directors
    MO Legislative Monitor

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