Marshall Griffin

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.

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Legislation designed to aid some delinquent taxpayers in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed HB 384, the "tax amnesty" bill, which would allow people behind on their state income taxes to pay them off without additional penalties or interest.

The length of time a Missourian could receive welfare benefits would be cut in half, if legislation passed by the Missouri House becomes law.

The Missouri House has passed the 13 bills that make up the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget about three weeks earlier than usual.

Republicans want to send the budget to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, early enough to require him to make any line-item vetoes while lawmakers are still in session.  That, in turn, would allow them to override any vetoes right away instead of waiting until September's veto session.

Within minutes of the news of Auditor Tom Schweich's death, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered all flags on Missouri property lowered to half-staff.

But the governor will soon have a much bigger decision to make: who to appoint as Schweich's successor.

Missouri law seems to suggest that a decision must be made rapidly:

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has banned all committee hearings and legislative meetings held at country clubs and restaurants, effective immediately.

The 2015 Missouri legislative session is underway, and here are some of the highlights of the day.

Nixon gets first say on start of session

The day began with the annual Governor's Prayer Breakfast, after which he answered questions from reporters on a few topics, including whether Medicaid expansion was already a lost cause for 2015.  Nixon, of course, said it wasn't at all.

Gov. Jay Nixon and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are touting plans to pass a bond issue to fund repairs to the state Capitol in Jefferson City.

Along with legislators and reporters, Nixon toured areas of the under-section of the nearly century-old building Monday, observing mud, mold, and stalactites from dripping water that have formed underneath the old carriage passage-turned-driveway.

A joint Missouri House and Senate committee is preparing to investigate Gov. Jay Nixon's actions in Ferguson in the aftermath of a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says an audit released Monday shows that Gov. Jay Nixon violated Missouri's constitution when he withheld money from two recent state budgets.

Schweich says the governor had no legal right to withhold $172 million from several state programs to help cover costs from the Joplin tornado and other recent natural disasters during fiscal year 2012.

A group of Missouri law enforcement officials have officially endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment designed to make it easier to prosecute sex crimes against children.

Gov. Jay Nixon is defending his decision to deploy Missouri National Guard troops to Ferguson.

Nixon issued a statement earlier this morning, announcing his decision to send in the Guard after what may have been the worst night of rioting since the protests began a week ago. Nixon explained his decision by citing "violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk."

Updated at 3:57 p.m. with reaction from House Budget Chair Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.

Updated at 3:21 p.m. with reaction from House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

Updated with reactions at 2:25 p.m., Tues., June 24. 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced $1.1 billion in cuts from the Fiscal Year 2015 state budget that goes into effect July 1.

Those cuts include nearly $276 million in line-item vetoes and $846 million in temporary withholds, which could be released by the governor at a later date.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed several bills passed during the 2014 regular session into law Friday.

Tweak to funeral protest law

First, Nixon signed  House Bill 1372, which fixes a legal issue with Missouri's ban on protests at funerals.

Missouri's Conservation Commission voted unanimously Friday to adopt a list of recommendations designed to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, from captive white tail deer to the wild population.

The recommendations primarily target privately owned fields, pens and reserves where trophy deer are raised to be hunted.  Mike Hubbard, chief of the Department of Conservation's (MDC) Resource Science Division, says the recommendations include banning the import of white tail deer, mule deer and their hybrids into Missouri.

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to limit regulations on farmers and ranchers in Missouri continue to tour the state this week.

Supporters of the proposed "right to farm" amendment to the Missouri constitution will begin stumping for the proposal around the state this week.

(Updated 10 a.m. Friday, May 16)

The Missouri House has passed the so-called student transfer fix, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon one day before the end of the 2014 legislative session.

Senate Bill 493 would allow for individual school buildings to be accredited instead of the district as a whole, and it would create regional authorities to oversee student transfers.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, praised the bill late Thursday as "the most far-reaching education reform measure in decades."

The Missouri Senate has passed the final version of legislation designed to ease the burden of the state's school transfer law. It includes a provision that would end free transportation for transfer students -- a provision that would make it harder for students from failing schools to actually attend other districts.

(Updated at 6:12 p.m.)

House and Senate negotiators have wrapped up work on a final version of a bill to ease the burden of Missouri’s student transfer law.

Senate Bill 493 would allow for individual school buildings to be accredited, instead of the school district as a whole, and it would create regional authorities to oversee transfers.

Republicans in the Missouri Senate succeeded in passing two of their top priorities early Tuesday morning.

House and Senate members have sent the remainder of the bills that make up Missouri's state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon.

The roughly $26.4 billion spending plan increases higher education spending by 5 percent and adds $114.8 million for K-12 schools, which House Republicans called "historic."

House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.

Twenty-three people were arrested at the Missouri Capitol Tuesday following a protest supporting Medicaid expansion. The protesters began shouting slogans and singing songs from the public gallery above the State Senate floor during debate on an unrelated bill.  

The Missouri House acted quickly Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a tax-cut bill that is estimated to cut the state's revenue by about $620 million a year when fully implemented.

The House obtained the exact number of votes needed — 109 — with the help of one Democrat, Rep. Keith English of Florissant.  He joined all of the chamber's 108 Republicans.

The House joined the Senate, which voted 23-8 on Monday to override the governor's veto, which he issued last week.

The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday, after taking care of the first five bills on Monday. Those debates were routine for the most part, with the Senate approving the budgets for K-12 schools and Higher Education.

The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment to create a temporary sales tax to fund transportation needs around the state, but not before scaling it back.

The Missouri Senate has so far passed five of the 13 bills that make up the state budget for next year.

It'll be a busy week for Missouri lawmakers as they enter the homestretch of the 2014 regular session.

First, the Missouri Senate is scheduled this evening to begin debates on the 13 bills making up the state budget, and they may actually try to pass them all tonight, according to Appropriations chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to rewrite the state's criminal code for the first time in more than 30 years. The wide-ranging proposal took several years and two legislative sessions to hammer out, but it's unclear whether Nixon intends to sign it.

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