Missouri Amphibious Tour Bus Company Order to Pay One Million in Penalties

January 28th, 2017

There are numerous regulations for those who choose to take their work on the road. From semi’s and ice cream trucks to mobile health care facilities and more, it’s crucial that these rules are followed strictly. While we can often look at rules as cumbersome technicalities that just make life more difficult, an accident last year in Seattle reminds us just why these laws are in place.

Ride the Ducks International is a company based in Branson, Missouri, and they developed a duck boat that offered a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy. However, their duck boat suffered with a defect of the front axle, and the company neglected to report this to the proper authorities. The result was a deadly crash on September 24th of last year that sadly claimed the life of five college students. Even more were injured during the event.

Missouri Amphibious Tour Bus Company Order to Pay One Million in Penalties
Due to the severity of the issue and the fact that state lines were crossed, federal laws applied, and a consent order was recently issued which will require Ride the Ducks International to pay up to one million dollars in penalties.

When the company realized the defect existed, it should have recalled all product. However, it failed to act accordingly. The vehicle was unique in that it was able to run both on land and in water, and it was providing a regular tour on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge when the axle went out on the undivided road.

In 2013, a service bulletin pointed out to the company that there was a problem with the axle. The proper protocol that should have been followed by the company required them to report the defect claims, notify the NHTSA of the problem, and issue a recall to product consumers. The consent order details the full extent of the violations of Ride the Ducks International. This is an unfortunate example of just how important legalities of the road are for all to follow.

Missouri Cracking Down on Anti-Bullying Law

October 17th, 2016

Republican state Representative Sue Allen of Town and Country is leading the state to more clearly define bullying and include intimidation, unwanted aggressive behavior, or harassment which interferes with education or school operations.

As a pediatric physical therapist, Allen has had first-hand experience when it comes to the bullying of disabled children in Missouri schools, and she’s pushed relentlessly to pass this new legislation. In fact, before the bill was finally passed, she had tried five times to succeed. She suspects her previous attempts were shot down due to how the proposal was worded. By modifying the language to focus on the behavior of bullying rather than who is being bullied, the law was finally passed.

It’s Allen’s goal the the new law encourages parents and other adults to better understand bullying and it’s impact. Armed with awareness, they can take more proactive measures to fix problems before they have a chance to escalate. Allen said, “And that’s the issue, is the parents, the students have some support in how to respond if they are being bullied, or if they see somebody being bullied.”

Missouri Anti-bullying laws
During the early stages of the development of this legislation, it was geared to include sexual orientation as a protected class. However, this wording was dropped prior to lawmakers giving their final stamp of approval. Another early version put focus on allowing schools more power in the development of their own procedures, but it failed to achieve the intended goal of enactment.

According to Allen, she has already heard from one school that has modified it’s anti-bullying procedures due to the new law. Beginning the school year of 2017, it will be required for teachers to take youth suicide awareness and prevention training, and the anti-bullying policies as well as the definition of cyber-bullying are now clearly stated in student handbooks across the state.

Municipal Courts the Target of New Missouri Law

July 12th, 2016

It has been argued that certain cities in Missouri are capitalizing off of residents who violate local ordinances, and Governor Jay Nixon signed a law last Friday to help get to the bottom of the situation. Some of these ordinances include violations from nuisance pets and noxious weeds on property. The new law is designed to assign reasonable caps on how much to charge for these types of infractions.

Nixon pointed out that the purpose of the court system is to protect the community and not to try to profit off of it. Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt agrees with this sentiment. He said, “It is unconscionable cities would use fine money — whether from traffic tickets or silly violations like the location of one’s barbecue grill or the way their blinds are hanging — to prop up bloated bureaucracies.”

This is not the first attempt for lowered fines. A similar push was made last year to regulate what can be charged for minor traffic tickets. The legislation is largely a response to the recent protests in Ferguson. The public is becoming increasingly concerned that these funds are used to fund city operations.

In addition to lower fines, the new law will also put a limitation on the number of municipalities court judges can serve. This effort is being made for lawyers who serve as both judges and legal counsel in various jurisdictions simultaneously.

While recent efforts are being made with the public in mind, critics have brought up points to consider. Executive director of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis Pat Kelly argues that nuisance ordinances, in fact, do not play a significant role in the operation of municipalities. He also pointed out that, with a limited ability to manage houses in disrepair, these instances would rise and decrease the overall aesthetic appeal of Missouri communities.

Motorcycle Helmet Law Could Be Appealed by Missouri House

May 16th, 2016

After a long fight, Missouri motorcycle enthusiasts are coming even closer to the freedom of deciding whether or not they wear a helmet. First-round approval has been granted to a bill that would lift the previous state law that required motorcyclists to wear protective head gear while on the road. The vote, however, was a narrow one. With just one more House vote, the issue will advance on to the Senate.

Eric Burlison, Republican from Springfield, is hopeful that the helmet law indeed is appealed. It’s the opinion of him and many others that the government doesn’t have the power to decide whether or not motorcyclists take protective measures while driving. This is something riders should have the right to decide for themselves.

Missouri is currently one of only 19 states that have a law requiring the use of a helmet for motorcycle riders, and a growing number of citizens argue that it’s time for Missouri to join the majority. Burlison said, “It’s time that Missouri join those states and give our individuals freedom.”

Some feel the bill is being introduced for a more covert purpose. It’s the opinion of St. Louis County Democrat Deb Lavender that it’s a “jobs bill.” He indicates that it would be of the benefit to the medical industry as more jobs will arise for hospitals, physical therapists, surgeons, and others in the field.

The efforts made have been relentless as Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill back in 2009. In more recent years, the bill passed the House but didn’t make it through the Senate. If the latest efforts prove successful, there will be stipulations. The rider has the choice of whether or not to wear a helmet, but they must be at least 21 years old, carry special insurance, and go through additional safety training.


Missouri Lawmakers Prepare for Three-Wheel Cars

January 18th, 2016

State Rep. Bill White, an active proponent of green technology, is taking steps to introduce a new form of transportation to the roads. Elio is a three-wheeled car currently being manufactured and is efficient and cost effective. However, since state law defines a three-wheeled vehicle as a motorcycle, that would require Elio drivers to wear a helmet.

It is White’s concern that wearing a helmet would compromise drivers’ peripheral vision, and he’s working to get the definition of “motor vehicle” changed to accommodate this new mode of transportation.

The Elio is slated to be released at the end of this year, and excited consumers can expect to purchase one for $6,800. The vehicle boasts an impressive 84 miles per gallon and can hold two passengers. It features two front wheels and one on the back. It’s currently being manufactured in Louisiana, and its ownership is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Although its release is still months away, there are already around 49,000 reserved.

White is a strong proponent for energy efficiency, and his home features insulated concrete and solar panels. He even has a system in place that recycles water to be used for toilet flushing. He reports, however, that that’s not his only reason for such a strong push for a change in the law to accommodate future Elio owners. It’s cost-efficiency will offer a great alternative for drivers while maintaining their carbon footprint.

Representative Charlie Davis, R-Webb City agrees. He, too, has made efforts for the allowance of various types of three-wheeled vehicles to be operated without the use of a helmet. It’s his opinion that vehicles like this would be the perfect mode of transportation for college-aged students to get where they need to go on campus with ease. Image courtesy of Wikipedia


3 wheel car missouri






Farmers Insurance Chooses to Settle in No-Call List Suit

November 15th, 2015

After being accused of violating Missouri’s no-call telemarketing laws by continually contacting people who specifically requested not to be called, Farmers Insurance has agreed to a settlement in the amount of $575,000. This is the highest telemarketer payout under Missouri’s laws. Attorney General Chris Koster also said that the company will comply with higher quality standards in agent training and auditing.

The suit came about after more than 275 consumers complained. Koster said representatives of Farmers Insurance were continuing to call people after being specifically instructed not to or to place them on their no-call list. farmers insurance call lawsuit

With the increase in training, Farmers Insurance must ensure their representatives have a clear understanding of the laws encompassing telemarketing in the state of Missouri as defined in Sections 407.1073 and 407.1076. Some of the prohibitions aside from no-call stipulations include:

  • Calling between the hours of 9:00 pm to 8:00 am
  • Using profanity of obscene language
  • Making threats

This case is especially significant, and it features the consumer standing up against big business and its never-ending quest to inundate the general public with its advertising techniques. In an announcement Monday, Koster commented that Farmers Insurance completely ignored the fact that their employees were disregarding the law and disrupting the rights of consumers. However, he remains optimistic that the company’s new training tactics and large settlement amount will promote better practices going forward and set an example for others in the telemarketing industry.

This case has caught the attention of both businesses and consumers around the nation. While it’s important to have many choices when shopping for a product or service, consumers have the right not to have them directly marketed to them in the privacy of their homes. By paying the highest telemarketing fine in the state’s history, Farmers Insurance has set a new quality standard in the telemarketing industry.

St. Louis Minimum Wage Increase Struck Down

November 6th, 2015

St. Louis had proposed an ordinance in an effort to raise the minimum wage in the city. However, on Wednesday, October 14, this ordinance was denied as it was deemed invalid by Judge Steven Ohmer of St. Louis Circuit Court. His ruling came just one day before the minimum wage was set to increase by 60 cents, making the new hourly minimum wage $8.25.

In the state of Missouri, the minimum wage minimum requirement is set at $7.65. Currently, there are no cities in the state that have instituted a higher minimum wage than what the state has standardized. St. Louis would have been the pioneer in such action. Challenging the wage increase was a group of concerned business owners. They said the required increase would violate previously established laws at the state level.

This is not the first time the issue of an increase in the minimum wage has appeared in Missouri. In September, legislators overrode a veto that would have allowed new laws against minimum wages at the local level. It was their intention that no cities could raise the minimum wage. However, the fight is still on. With other cities in the nation successfully passing minimum wage increase laws, workers are more motivated to continue their efforts in seeing similar change in St. Louis. Although the most recent ordinance was struck down, there remains strong groups of minimum wage workers who continue to rally for support as well as push for a change in the local laws in order to succeed in achieving an increase.

University of Kansas School of Law Grads Dominate Bar Exam Scores

October 16th, 2015

When it comes to attending law school, it’s important to get to know some background and find an institute with credentials. University of Kansas School of Law has certainly proven itself. Many of the graduates from the spring 2015 semester have taken the bar exam, and their scores are incredibly higher than those of their peers in both Kansas and Missouri.

What is the Bar Exam?

In order to practice law following graduation from law school, students must demonstrate that they have acquired the skills necessary to practice in their chosen jurisdiction. Students have two opportunities per year to take the exam as it’s administered in both February and July. While it’s an exam most grads face with nervous anticipation, 2015 KU graduates made it look easy.

Over 90 Percent Pass Rate

The July 2015 test was passed by most KU graduates as nearly 92 percent were successful on their very first try. This is noteworthy considering the average state pass rate is 81 percent. Even more impressive, those who chose to take the bar exam in Missouri passed at an even higher rate of 94.7 percent, surpassing the average by eight percent.

Consistent Performance

These scores were no surprise to dean Stephen Mazza. He said that their students have consistently passed the bar exam. It can therefore be implied that the curriculum at KU is exemplary and properly preparing students for the world outside the classroom once they graduate and move on to put their knowledge into practice.

Missouri governor calls for more law enforcement officer training

August 12th, 2015

Giving state public safety agencies a deadline of fewer than four months, Missouri Governor JayNixon called for a significant overhaul of the state’s law enforcement training program. The governor charged the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission and the Missouri Department of Public Safety with updating and upgrading the state’s standards by December 1, 2015.

Along with law enforcement agencies across the country, Missouri has struggled with effective community policing. The twin goals of keeping communities safe while safeguarding the rights of those suspected of breaking the law have been hard to balance and have frequently come into conflict.

Last year, on August 9, Ferguson teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer. Brown had stolen a package of cigarillos from a convenience store and shoved the store clerk. Brown and a friend fled from Wilson, and the officer expended 12 rounds of ammunition, killing Brown.

The incident pointed up the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community, not only in Ferguson but around the country. Citizens groups and demonstrators loudly objected to police overreaction in cases of minor offenses, particularly when suspects do not threaten an officer’s safety but instead run away.

The resulting demonstrations gathered international coverage and were marked by the phrases “Hands up, don’t shoot” or “Don’t shoot.” Wilson was eventually declared not guilty by a Ferguson jury, and the U.S. Justice Department declined to prosecute for civil rights abuse.

Governor Nixon gave law enforcement the goals of fair and impartial police procedures, improved tactical training and focus on officer well-being. Missouri’s law enforcement training has not had a major overhaul since 1996. Since then, studies have demonstrated new techniques to help police better assess threats, handle mental health crises and domestic violence and de-escalate volatile situations.

Lane Roberts, a Missouri Department of Public Safety official, recalled that when he joined law enforcement 40 years ago, police officers had little training. He stated that although the state has newer and better rules and standards, they aren’t enough.

“It’s insufficient just to be procedurally correct. The end result, if it’s not justice, misses the mark,” Roberts said.

Car crash in McDonald county

August 17th, 2014

At 8:30 AM on May 9, 2014, a one car crash was reported in McDonald County, four miles north of Southwest City. The incident was investigated promptly by Troop D under the supervision of TPR Antonio Sandoval Jr.

The driver was a 17 year old female named Leanne E. Harr, and she was behind the wheel of a 1998 Buick Lasabre. Harr was headed southbound, and she was from the city of Anderson, MO. In the report received, it was indicated that the vehicle in question began to travel off of the right side of the roadway. It then struck a road sign before traveling back onto the roadway. At this point, the vehicle then traveled off of the left side of the roadway where it struck a tree and a fence before coming to a stop.

The driver did have insurance through Geico, and their was extensive damage reported to the Buick Lasabre. Harr was reported to have been wearing her seat belt during the time of the crash, and she sustained minor injuries. Medical assistance was not declined, and the 17 year old was taken to the Freeman West Hospital in Joplin, MO. She was transported there by a private vehicle.

There were no reports of any other vehicle involved in this crash, and no further updates are currently available regarding the status of Harr. Troop D and TPR Antonio Sandoval Jr. are still investigating the cause of the crash and will make future reports as necessary.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, please contact us as soon as possible.