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LEGISLATORS WANT GOVERNOR TO EXPAND SPECIAL SESSION

September 6, 2005
By: David Schneider
State Capital Bureau

Two Democratic legislators from Saint Louis want governor Blunt to expand the special legislative session for the sake of abused children. David Schneider has more from Jefferson City.

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Saint Louis Senator Pat Dougherty says he found out there are serious conflicts in child abuse laws passed last spring. He says the three laws are not clear on when and where abused minors and their abusers may live or go to school. Dougherty says the issue must be addressed now.

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"All we want the governor to do is to bring us together, add this to the call, we can get these committees going and we can resolve this.

Dougherty says if the wording of the law isn't fixed, children in state custody won't be able to return to their families.

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Two senior Saint Louis Senators say abused children in state custody may not be able to return home unless the wording of three laws passed last spring is corrected. David Schneider has more in Jefferson City.

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Democratic state senators Pat Dougherty and Maida Coleman want the governor to expand the special legislative session. They want to fix the wording of three child abuse laws the governor signed in the spring. They say the language in the laws isn't clear on when and where abused children and their abusers can live or go to school. Dougherty says the special session is the time to deal with the problem.

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"So we've asked the governor to go ahead and to clean up the mess that quite frankly the legislature caused, and to bring us back into, uh, bring us into the call.

Dougherty says if the wording of the laws isn't fixed now, the General Assembly cannot address it again until next year.