Marshall Griffin

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

Ways to Connect

A cold arctic blast greeted lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters who filtered into the state Capitol Wednesday for the start of Missouri's 2017 legislative session.

But it didn't take long for things to heat up, at least on the House side of the building.

Republicans lawmakers reacted to the 2015 protests on the Mizzou campus by creating a commission to review the entire university system’s operations and recommend changes. And if the UM System failed to implement those changes, lawmakers would respond by slashing the system’s budget.

Those recommendations were released today.

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are continuing their push for expanded gun rights by targeting businesses that operate as gun-free zones.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow people authorized to carry firearms to sue businesses that ban firearms on their properties if they're wounded in a robbery or assault while at that business. It's sponsored by Rep.-elect Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio/File Photos

Missouri will have a new secretary of state in January, because incumbent Democrat Jason Kander is running for the U.S. Senate. Barring a third-party upset, his successor will be a Republican with a last name very familiar to Missourians, or a Democrat known mainly to St. Louis-area TV viewers. 

For the first time in 12 years, someone besides Peter Kinder will be lieutenant governor of Missouri.

Kinder jumped into the governor's race and lost in a crowded Republican primary, coming in third in a contest won by Eric Greitens. The major party candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot are Democrat Russ Carnahan and Republican Mike Parson.

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Missouri's current state budget is taking another hit.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that he's withholding $57.2 million from several state agencies and programs after lawmakers on Wednesday overrode vetoes he made on two tax breaks.

It's a split decision in the trial of the so-called "Medicaid 23," a group of religious leaders who staged a protest in the Missouri Senate more than two years ago over lawmakers' refusal to expand Medicaid.

Twenty-two members of the group were found guilty of trespassing for not leaving the Senate gallery when ordered to do so by Capitol police. But they were found not guilty of obstructing the operations of the Senate. The case of one other member will be decided later.

Echo Bluff State Park is officially open.

Gov. Jay Nixon cut the ribbon Saturday on Missouri's newest park, which is being promoted as a hub from which visitors can explore the state's Ozark region.

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

Missouri's new state budget is $115 million lighter, after Gov. Jay Nixon announced temporary cuts to 131 programs and state agencies.

He told reporters Wednesday it was necessary because state revenues are not growing as fast as projected.

Missouri's use of deadly force law would become more in line with federal standards under a bill being weighed by a House committee.

Current state law does not specify that a police officer has to believe a fleeing suspect is dangerous to use deadly force. Senate Bill 661, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would change the standard to more closely align with the national standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The first of several ethics proposals to come out of the Missouri legislature this year has been signed into law.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1983 during a brief ceremony in his state Capitol office. It bars lawmakers and other elected officials from hiring each other as paid political consultants.

Eric Greitens found himself fending off questions about a controversial donor at Thursday's Missouri Republican gubernatorial debate in Columbia, the first one this year to be televised.

Both Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder called on Greitens to return a $1 million campaign contribution from Michael Goguen. The California venture capitalist is being sued by a woman who accuses him of holding her as a sex slave for 13 years.

Missouri's $27 billion state budget is on its way to the Senate.

The House Thursday passed all 13 budget bills, which includes a nearly $9 million cut to higher education.

For that reason, several state representatives voted against the higher ed bill, HB 2003.

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

Updated 3:27 p.m. March 3 with final passage. - A bill that prohibits labor unions from automatically withholding fees from the paychecks of public employees is on its way to the governor's desk. The Missouri House passed the Senate version of the bill today 109 - 49. The House support is the exact number needed to override a veto. Opponents say the bill will weaken workers' rights, but supporters say it's necessary to check the power of union lobbying.

Updated 3/3/2016 - Legislation designed to expand the sales of cold beer in the Show-Me State is now on tap in the Missouri House.

The Senate on Thursday voted 18-14 to pass Senate Bill 919, with support and opposition coming from both sides of the political aisle.

The bill would allow beer companies to lease portable refrigeration units to grocers and convenience stores, and allow those same stores to sell beer in reusable containers known as growlers.

Missouri House Republicans are keeping their foot on the gas as they steer the first group of ethics bills through their chamber.

Four ethics bills were heard by a House committee, then easily passed after little more than an hour's worth of discussions.

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

At least 10 people were confirmed dead after a winter storm moved across Missouri Monday. Most of them drowned after driving along submerged roads.

Flood waters continued to submerge roads and lowlands across Missouri late Monday, including major highways. Portions of Interstate 44 were closed near Rolla and Fort Leonard Wood. I-70 eastbound was also closed in St. Charles County. 

Despite declaring a state of emergency on Sunday, Gov. Jay Nixon has no plans so far to activate the Missouri National Guard.

Updated 8:05 p.m. Nov. 3 with court action - The U.S. Supreme Court has hit pause on Tuesday night's scheduled execution of Ernest Lee Johnson.

The high court issued a stay, pending the outcome of one of his appeals. It centers on claims that the state's execution drug pentobarbital could cause Johnson to experience violent seizures, due to part of his brain being removed in 2008 during surgery to remove a tumor.

Backers of medical marijuana want Missourians to decide if doctors can be allowed to prescribe the drug to critically ill patients.

Two ballot initiatives that would do just that were filed on Thursday.

The Republican field for Missouri governor has grown larger. St. Louis businessman John Brunner announced his candidacy this morning in a pre-recorded YouTube video.

Updated 9/1/2015, 10:13 p.m. -- Roderick Nunley has become the sixth death row inmate executed in Missouri this year.

He was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre for the 1989 murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison.

The last time the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life met, members threatened to hold a Nixon administration official in contempt unless she produced documents identifying which hospital had a working relationship with Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic.

That became a moot point when Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling sent the committee a letter stating that Colleen McNicholas, M.D., had received admitting privileges from University of Missouri Health Care.

Updated 5:26 p.m., July 24 - It appears that the University of Central Missouri is siding with one of its students over allegations that she was sexually harassed by State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, while working for him as an intern earlier this year.

Another Republican is jumping into next year’s race for Missouri governor.

Bob Dixon currently represents Springfield and parts of Green County in the Missouri Senate, having first been elected to the 30th District seat in 2010 and re-elected last year. Before that he served four terms in the Missouri House.

Pages