Marshall Griffin

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

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KCUR News
11:28 am
Wed March 31, 2010

Missouri House Passes Abortion Legislation

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri House has passed a wide-ranging bill that would create new requirements surrounding abortions. The new requirements include notifying prosecutors anytime a girl younger than 18 seeks an abortion, whether she goes through with it or not.

GOP House Member Brian Nieves of Franklin County says it would reduce the number of abortions performed in Missouri.

"And hopefully, bringing to justice the sick, disgusting people that would actually rape an underage child," Nieves says.

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KCUR News
5:05 pm
Wed March 24, 2010

Kinder Seeks to Join Health Care Lawsuit

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has announced his intent to join attorneys general in several other states in their suit challenging the federal health care law signed yesterday by President Obama. The lawsuit contends that the federal government cannot require people to have health insurance.

The Republican Lt. Governor told reporters he decided not to wait on Missouri's Democratic Attorney General to file suit.

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KCUR News
5:01 pm
Wed March 24, 2010

Kinder Seeks To Join Health Care Lawsuit

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has announced his intent to join attorneys general in several other states in their suit challenging the federal health care law signed yesterday by President Obama. The lawsuit contends that the federal government cannot require people to have health insurance.

The Republican Lt. Governor told reporters he decided not to wait on Missouri's Democratic Attorney General to file suit.

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Missouri Statehouse
3:54 pm
Thu March 18, 2010

Missouri Senate Passes Autism Bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has passed legislation requiring group insurance plans regulated by the state to cover autism treatment.

The Senate bill would mandate that companies cover up to $55,000 a year for treatment of autism patients younger than 21.

GOP Senator Scott Rupp of St. Charles County sponsored the legislation.

"We're doing our job in the state, the families are doing their job, the schools are doing their job," Rupp told lawmakers. "When, insurance industry, are you going to start doing yours?!?"

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Missouri Statehouse
10:48 am
Thu March 18, 2010

Missouri House Debates Budget Late Into The Night

Jefferson City, Mo. – The House Budget Committee spent nearly four hours Wednesday night amending and voting on bills that make up the state budget.

Committee members only made it through about a third of the budget bills before calling it a night.

House Budget Chair Allen Icet says so far they've identified 65 million dollars that can be trimmed from various departments.

"None of these should affect any services or anything. For the most part, it was either lapse, or funding that would be considered excess," says Icet.

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KCUR News
11:50 am
Wed March 10, 2010

Missouri Schools Looking To Feds For Money

Jefferson City, Mo. – The head of the Missouri School Boards Association is calling on Congress to come through with more federal money, in hopes that the state's public schools can be fully funded next year.

The association's executive director Mike Reid suggests that without help from Washington, Missouri schools will have to reduce staff and increase class sizes.

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KCUR News
12:57 pm
Thu March 4, 2010

MO House Gives First-Round Approval To Opt-Out Health Care Resolution

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment designed to block compulsory participation in any national health care system.

Supporters of the resolution, including GOP House Member Tim Flook of Clay County, said President Obama and the Democratic-led Congress are trying to expand the role of government in everyday life.

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KCUR News
2:57 pm
Tue February 23, 2010

Mo. Senate Hears Arguments For Smoking Ban

Kansas City, Mo. – Legislation that would ban indoor smoking in public buildings throughout Missouri is being considered by a State Senate Committee

Under the bill, smoking would not be allowed in restaurants, bars, sports arenas, businesses, or any other public building. Exceptions would be allowed for homes not used for daycare, tobacco shops and 20% of hotel rooms. Jason Sharp, who works with cancer patients in Rolla, spoke in favor of the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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KCUR News
12:13 pm
Mon February 22, 2010

Senate Eyes Seat Belt Law

Jefferson City, Mo. – A bill in the Missouri Senate would raise the fine for driving without a seat belt from $10 to $50.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Senator Joseph Keaveny of St. Louis. He says since Missouri does not have a primary enforcement law, raising the fine for not buckling up is the next best solution.

"At ten dollars, it's not much of a deterrent not to use a seat belt. If a person is charged 50 dollars for failure to use a seat belt, it get a little more attention," says Keaveny.

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KCUR News
10:19 am
Thu February 18, 2010

Missouri Senate OKs DNA Amendment

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow laws requiring DNA collections from criminals to be applied retrospectively.

The Missouri Constitution forbids retrospective laws that mandate new restrictions or requirements based on past actions.

The sponsor, GOP Senator Matt Bartle of Lee's Summit, says an exception needs to be allowed for collecting DNA samples from criminals.

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KCUR News
10:40 am
Mon February 15, 2010

Bill Would Shorten Missouri Legislative Session

Jefferson City, Mo. – There's a proposal in the Missouri Senate to shorten the length of legislative sessions from nearly five months to just under three.

The resolution would require the General Assembly to end regular sessions in late March, instead of mid-May. It's sponsored by GOP Senator Luann Ridgeway from the Kansas City area.

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KCUR News
10:49 am
Wed February 10, 2010

Missouri House Consider Expanding Texting Ban

Kansas City, Mo. – Legislation that would expand Missouri's texting-while-driving ban to all motorists received a hearing before a State House committee.

The current ban on sending, receiving or reading text messages while driving only applies to those age 21 and younger.

Brent Butler with the Missouri Insurance Coalition testified in favor of expanding the ban to all ages.

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KCUR News
10:48 am
Wed February 10, 2010

Missouri Senate Questions Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Jefferson City, Mo. – Two competing resolutions on Don't Ask, Don't Tell received hearings in a Missouri Senate committee. The national policy bars gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.

Among those testifying in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was Paul Curtman, a recently-retired Marine Corps sergeant. He testified that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would disrupt combat readiness.

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KCUR News
10:22 am
Tue February 9, 2010

Missouri Senate Scheduled To Debate Ethics Bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate is scheduled to debate its main ethics bill on Wednesday.

The bill would expand income reporting requirements to legislative staff members, provide the state Ethics Commission with a full-time investigator, and bar campaign contributions when the legislature is in session. It would not, however, reinstate campaign contribution limits. Senate President Pro-Tem Charlie Shields sponsored the bill.

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KCUR News
7:40 am
Fri January 29, 2010

Missouri Senate Rejects Changing Farmland Values

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has overwhelmingly passed a resolution rejecting the State Tax Commission's move to reassess property values for the state's farmlands.

The State Tax Commission last month recommended raising the productive value of the state's best agricultural land by 29% and lowering values on low-producing lots by 25%. GOP Senator Bill Stouffer says in addition to crop growers, the move would hurt cattle ranchers, even though pasture land assessments would go down.

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KCUR News
7:39 am
Fri January 29, 2010

Both Sides Sound Off At Sales Tax Hearing

Jefferson City, Mo. – Supporters and opponents of scrapping the state income tax in favor of an expanded sales tax sounded off on the issue at a Missouri Senate committee.

Among the resolution's supporters was lobbyist and former GOP House Member Ed Robb. He told the Senate committee on fiscal oversight that the measure would transform Missouri into a "mecca for investment and job opportunities."

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KCUR News
10:25 am
Thu January 28, 2010

Missouri House Votes To Bans Texting Behind The Wheel

Jefferson City, Mo. – Legislation that would expand Missouri's ban on texting-while-driving to everyone has drawn lots of support. In a Senate committee meeting, lobbyists for highway workers, law enforcement, senior citizens, and bicyclists spoke in favor of the bill. No one spoke against it. The bill is sponsored by Democratic Senator Ryan McKenna of Jefferson County.

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KCUR News
10:48 am
Tue January 26, 2010

Senators Review Missouri's Bleak Budget

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's budget picture remains bleak, as lawmakers begin to consider Governor Jay Nixon's spending plan and come up with their own.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering reminded the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday that revenue collections will continue to lag. But she also said Missouri is expected to receive $300 million in federal dollars that can be used for state expenses.

GOP Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia expressed concern that the Nixon Administration is depending on money that may not come.

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KCUR News
9:41 am
Fri January 22, 2010

More Money For Schools Might Not Be Enough

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's public schools will be getting more money in Governor Jay Nixon's budget for next year, but they will not be fully funded.

Under Nixon's budget, K-12 funding will increase by $18 million through the state's school funding formula. It's still $87 million short of what schools need to be considered fully funded.

Linda Luebbering, the Missouri State budget director, says given the difficult budget situation, any increase is good

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KCUR News
6:09 pm
Sun January 17, 2010

Hundreds Rally In Opposition To Federal Health Care Overhaul

Jefferson City, Mo. – About 400 people gathered inside the Missouri Capitol last Wednesday to oppose federal health care legislation.

About three dozen Republican lawmakers joined the rally in support of a constitutional amendment allowing Missouri residents to opt out of the overhaul.

St. Louis County Republican Jane Cunningham is sponsoring the measure, which would prohibit individuals from being penalized if they don't buy health insurance.

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KCUR News
5:52 pm
Sun January 17, 2010

MO Supreme Court Hears Medical Malpractice Case

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments last Thursday regarding how much money people can be awarded in medical malpractice cases.

In 2005, James and Mary Klotz won a lawsuit against a St. Louis area hospital, after James contracted a staph infection while receiving a pacemaker. But the damages they won were limited due to a state law passed the same year they won their case that allows caps to be place retroactively on non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits.

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KCUR News
10:01 am
Thu January 14, 2010

Republican Leaders Say No New Taxes

Jefferson City, Mo. – Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate returned to their party's traditional themes, after talking up ethics and the economy on the legislature's
opening day last week.

Led by Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, GOP leaders pledged first and foremost not to raise taxes this year.

"Taking more money from Missouri families is not a sensible solution to fix whatever budget problems we face today," said Kinder.

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KCUR News
9:59 am
Thu January 14, 2010

Audit Recommends Tracking Sales Tax Exemptions

Jefferson City, Mo. – An audit finds Missouri needs to do a better job of tracking how much revenue is lost through sales tax exemptions.

State Auditor Susan Montee said the state has 131 tax exemptions, ranging from food and medicine to construction materials.

"It is a number of $150 billion that is being subtracted off of gross sales revenue. Five years ago in our report it was 120 billion," said Montee.

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KCUR News
11:59 am
Wed January 6, 2010

Former Official Says Public Not in Danger from High E. coli Levels

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – The former state Department of Natural Resources official who took the blame for delaying the release last year of E. coli test results from the Lake of the Ozarks defended his actions before a Missouri Senate committee.

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KCUR News
9:45 am
Thu December 31, 2009

Redevelopment Planned for Site of Jefferson City Prison

Jefferson City, MO – State and local officials have unveiled redevelopment plans for the old Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City.

Plans for the 140-acre site include government buildings, privately-owned residential and retail space, and preserving much of the historical prison facility. Kelvin Simmons heads Governor Nixon's Office of Administration:

"We'll continue to try to do the environmental, do the clean-up, get the infrastructure in place, and then the next thing is try to entice private developers."

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KCUR News
10:13 am
Wed December 30, 2009

Nixon Calls for More Regulation at Lake of the Ozarks

E. coli bacteria

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon wants increased regulatory authority as a means of protecting water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks. And that proposal comes on the same day the latest test results are released.

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KCUR News
7:43 am
Thu December 24, 2009

Scammers Target Grandparents

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Attorney General's office is warning the elderly to beware of phone calls from people claiming to be their grandchildren.

The scam works like this: A caller posing as the grandchild will phone the victim, claim that he or she's in Canada and has been arrested or injured in an accident, and ask for money to be wired there via Western Union.

Attorney General Chris Koster says 20 elderly people have fallen victim to the scam.

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KCUR News
10:15 am
Fri December 11, 2009

Carnahan and Montee Sued over Ballot Measures

Jefferson City, MO – A group opposing abortion and a type of stem cell research they consider to be human cloning has filed a federal lawsuit against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and State Auditor Susan Montee.

Missouri Roundtable for Life accuses Carnahan of using language in their ballot questions designed to prejudice voters against their initiatives, and accuses Montee of drafting financial impact statements that are also designed to have a negative impact.

Laura Egerdal is a spokesperson for Carnahan.

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KCUR News
9:40 am
Thu December 10, 2009

Businesses Ask for Lawmakers Support

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri lawmakers are being urged to provide moral support, as well as funding, to the state's small business interests during the upcoming legislative session.

Mary Davis is president and CEO of Missouri Enterprise, a non-profit group that advocates for small business interests. She asked a House committee Wednesday to publicly commit to supporting the state's small and mid-level manufacturers:

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KCUR News
7:43 am
Wed December 9, 2009

Missouri Supreme Court Says Public Defenders Can't Turn Down Cases

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that public defenders cannot use heavy caseloads as an excuse to turn down entire categories of cases.

The decision strikes down rules that allowed overworked offices to turn away cases that involved probation violations and turn away defendants who had once hired private lawyers.

Attorney Antwaun Smith represented the Public Defender Commission before the High Court:

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