Marshall Griffin

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

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KCUR News
8:22 am
Tue December 8, 2009

Missouri Down $1 Billion in 2010

Kansas City, MO – Senate budget writers say that the state of Missouri will likely have one billion dollars less to work with than it did prior to the 2009 legislative session.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is taking testimony this week from various people and agencies who want at least the same amount of funding for the next fiscal year, if not more.

Committee member and GOP Senator David Pearce believes revenues will continue to trend downward.

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KCUR News
8:17 am
Tue December 8, 2009

Former Missouri House Speaker Charged with Assault

Jefferson City, MO – An arrest warrant has been issued for former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton in Scott County, for allegedly assaulting an unidentified female.

According to court documents, on or about November 15th, Jetton is alleged to have caused serious physical injury to the woman by, quote, "hitting her on the head and choking her, resulting in unconsciousness and the loss of the function of a part of her body," end quote.

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KCUR News
10:55 am
Mon December 7, 2009

Missouri Medicaid Eligibility to be Issue in 2010 Session

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he's still determined to boost the number of poor Missourians eligible for Medicaid.

The Democratic governor failed to persuade the GOP-led General Assembly earlier this year to expand Medicaid coverage to 35,000. He says he'll try again when the 2010 session begins next month.

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KCUR News
7:16 pm
Thu December 3, 2009

Mo. Governor, Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Again Mandating Autism Insurance Coverage

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and several lawmakers from both parties are backing legislation next year to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

The legislation would also require state-regulated group insurance plans to cover the costs of "Applied Behavioral Analysis" for up to $72,000 annually for children younger than 21 with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

GOP Senator Eric Schmidt of St. Louis County has a son with autism.

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KCUR News
8:21 am
Thu December 3, 2009

Missouri Supreme Court Takes Up Halloween Sex Offender Law

Jefferson City, MO – An Audrain County prosecutor is asking the Missouri Supreme Court to let him prosecute a convicted sex offender for violating a state law that bars offenders from taking part in Halloween activities.

Charles Raynor of Mexico, Missouri, was arrested in 2008 after a woman at his house handed out candy to trick-or-treaters.

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KCUR News
8:18 am
Thu December 3, 2009

Enviromentalist Wants Missouri Attorney General to Return Hog Farm Money

Jefferson City, MO – An environmental advocate is calling on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to return a campaign contribution made last year from a company that owns eleven hog farms in the northern part of the state.

Premium Standard Farms is under a court order to make improvements to its operations.

Ken Midkiff with the Missouri Clean Water Campaign says Koster accepted a $2500 donation from Smithfield Foods, which owns Premium Standard Farms, just days before the 2008 Democratic Party primary:

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KCUR News
8:10 am
Wed December 2, 2009

Mo. Bills Would Reform Campaign Contributions

Jefferson City, MO – Bills addressing campaign finance reform in Missouri have been pre-filed, just over a month before the start of the 2010 legislative session

One bill would restore campaign contribution limits that were removed in 2007, restored by the Missouri Supreme Court later that same year, and then removed again by GOP lawmakers and former Governor Matt Blunt in 2008. The proposal to again restore limits is sponsored by Democratic Floor Leader Paul LeVota:

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KCUR News
9:42 am
Fri November 20, 2009

Missouri's State Retirement System Looking To Cut Bonuses

Jefferson City, MO – The board that oversees Missouri's State Employees Retirement System, or MOSERS, is crafting a proposal that would bar employees from receiving bonuses during years when the pension fund loses money.

Earlier this year, MOSERS staff members received around $400,000 in performance incentives, even though investments made by the system lost money in 2008. Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sits on the board and voted in favor of ending that practice.

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KCUR News
9:21 am
Tue November 17, 2009

Missourians Warned Against Phone Calls Pitching Investments

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Secretary of State's office is warning the public to beware of phone calls pitching oil and gas investments.

The calls in question are unsolicited, with offers of high returns and very low financial risk. Abe Rakov is with the Secretary of State's office:

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KCUR News
6:27 am
Wed November 11, 2009

Jefferson City Police Investigate False Alarm

Jefferson City, MO – Jefferson City Police are investigating what led to a false alert of a hostage situation at an office building two blocks away from the State Capitol Tuesday.

The Governor Office Building is home to the Public Service Commission and houses other state offices. Someone in the building activated an alarm system that alerted police to a hostage situation. But after a thorough search of the building, police found nothing to indicate that anyone had been taken hostage.

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KCUR News
4:01 pm
Mon November 9, 2009

Skelton Chided For Vote On House Health Bill

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Democratic Congressman Ike Skelton is taking some heat for voting against his own party's health care overhaul bill that passed late Saturday.

About a dozen protesters showed up outside Skelton's Jefferson City office today.

Some of them arrived in a Cadillac, to symbolize what they call the "Cadillac of insurance plans" that Skelton and other members of Congress have.

Robin Acree heads the group Grass Roots Organizing, or GRO.

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KCUR News
8:23 am
Fri November 6, 2009

Missouri Supreme Court Weighs Death Penalty In Triple Murder

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments over whether a convicted killer's death sentence should be commuted to life without parole.

Andrew Lyons was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter for the 1992 shotgun killings of his girlfriend, her mother, and the couple's 11-month-old son. Lyon's attorney, Frederick Duchardt argued before the High Court that his client is, quote, "mentally retarded:"

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KCUR News
9:39 am
Thu November 5, 2009

Missouri Considers Tougher DWI Laws

Jefferson City, MO – Several state and local officials, activists and attorneys met in Jefferson City ) to discuss ways to keep drunk drivers off Missouri's roads.

Dwight Scroggins is a prosecuting attorney from St. Joseph. He told the gathering that one of the biggest problems is that those pulled over for DWI are often treated as first-time offenders who just made a mistake.

Scroggins: "The reality is someone who gets arrested on a first-offense DWI is in all likelihood a multiple-time repeat drunk driver who has just gotten caught for the first time."

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KCUR News
9:48 am
Thu October 29, 2009

Nixon Slashes $204 Million From Missouri Budget

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced more cuts to the state budget, due to the ongoing decline in state revenues.

Nixon is slashing nearly $204 million out the current budget. He's eliminating nearly 700 state jobs, most of them part-time, and shrinking numerous programs within state agencies.

The governor says the cuts don't include reductions to education funding, scholarships, or to crucial public safety needs.

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KCUR News
9:53 am
Thu October 22, 2009

Missouri Commission Wants Power Over Underground Line

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Public Service Commission wants to take over enforcement of the state's laws designed to protect underground utility lines.

Currently, the State Attorney General's office has the authority to go after people or companies that damage underground power or natural gas lines. The PSC's Natelle Dietrich says it makes sense for the commission to have that authority.

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KCUR News
1:45 pm
Wed October 21, 2009

Abortion Opponents' Petitions OK'd

Jefferson City, MO – Two ballot initiatives sponsored by opponents of abortion and human cloning have been approved for signature circulation in Missouri.

The first ballot question would bar state tax dollars from being used to fund abortions or to fund the procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is considered to be human cloning by the sponsoring group Missouri Roundtable for Life. GOP Congressional candidate Ed Martin heads the group:

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KCUR News
7:38 am
Wed October 21, 2009

Missouri Officials Prep For Census

Kansas City, MO – Missouri officials are getting ready for the 2010 U.S. Census. And one of their main concerns is that some residents are afraid or apathetic when it comes to filling out census forms.

The state Office of Administration will chair the public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging Missourians to take part in the census. O.A. Commissioner Kelvin Simmons says no one should be afraid to fill out a census form:

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KCUR News
7:16 am
Tue October 20, 2009

Missouri Cuts State Park Jobs

Jefferson City, MO – More than 100 jobs are being cut from the Missouri Division of State Parks, due to the ongoing decline in tax revenues.

The job cuts will range from administrative positions in Jefferson City to jobs at various state parks, according to Travis Ford with the Department of Natural Resources:

Travis Ford: "There are a lot of details that still have to be worked out on exactly who is affected, how many vacant positions are being eliminated, versus positions that are occupied by full-time and part-time employees."

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KCUR News
8:41 am
Fri October 16, 2009

DNR Director Still Out As Investigation Continues

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – Mark Templeton is still on leave from his job as Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director, even though it's now been two weeks since his two-week suspension was handed down by Governor Jay Nixon.

Templeton was suspended without pay after the governor learned E-coli-contaminated beaches at the Lake of the Ozarks remained open during Memorial Day weekend, despite being told after the fact that they were closed.

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KCUR News
6:29 am
Thu October 15, 2009

Lager Claims Cover Up Over E. Coli Report

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri State Senator leading an inquiry into the delayed release of the Lake of the Ozarks E-coli report says there appears to be an organized cover up in progress.

Republican Brad Lager chairs the senate committee that oversees environmental issues. He says there's been a clear effort by Department of Natural Resources staff to mislead senate investigators:

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KCUR News
6:17 am
Thu October 15, 2009

Veterans Seek Clean Energy

Jefferson City, MO – A group of military veterans is taking a cross-country bus tour to tout climate change as a national security issue. They met with reporters Wdnesday in Jefferson City, across the street from the State Capitol Building. Matt Victoriano ( served in the Marine Corps in Iraq. He says clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are better alternatives than both domestic and foreign oil production.

Victoriano: "Oil is still an unclean energy source, and directly contributes to climate devastation, so that wouldn't solve our problems."

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KCUR News
8:21 am
Wed October 14, 2009

AT&T Settles Lawsuit Over Internet Access At Schools

Jefferson City, MO – AT&T Missouri has agreed to settle a lawsuit that accuses the company of violating the False Claims Act in connection with an internet access program for schools.

The E-Rate program enables schools and libraries in low-income neighborhoods to gain access to the Internet. Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller says the suit accused AT&T Missouri of colluding with school officials in Kansas City to engage in non-competitive bidding practices:

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KCUR News
9:01 am
Mon October 12, 2009

Missouri Faces Further Budget Woes

Jefferson City, MO – The state of Missouri has borrowed $150 million from its budget reserve fund, as state revenue collections continue to decline.

The latest dip into the fund brings the total borrowed this fiscal year to $350 million. State Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the $150 million borrowed this week will cover several current expenses.

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KCUR News
9:43 am
Fri October 9, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Arrives In Kansas

Kansas City, MO – The first batches of swine flu vaccine have begun arriving in Kansas.

Health departments in Saline and Franklin counties reported Thursday that they had received their first allocations of the vaccine.

Midge Ransom, director of the Franklin County Health Department, said her department received 100 doses of the aerosol mist vaccine. The mist is appropriate for healthy people ages 2 to 49.

The Salina/Saline County Health Department received 300 doses of the vaccine, also in the aerosol mist form.

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KCUR News
8:36 am
Fri October 9, 2009

Senate Appropriations Chair Urges More Money For Teachers

Jefferson City, MO – The chair of the state Senate Appropriations committee is calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to consider providing more money for the Career Ladder program this year when new revenue estimates come in.

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KCUR News
9:08 am
Thu October 8, 2009

Lt. Governor Kinder Sounds Off On Lake Test Results

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is sounding off on the controversy over the delaying of an E-coli report from the Lake of the Ozarks.

Kinder calls the uproar over the delayed report a crisis of confidence. And he says if the State Senate committee investigating the matter decides to issue subpoenas, he'll sign them.

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KCUR News
7:31 am
Wed October 7, 2009

DNR Director Says Delayed Report Did Not Cause Health Risk

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – A transcript released Tuesday (October 6, 2009) quotes Missouri's Natural Resources chief as saying there was no health risk over the delay in releasing an E-coli report from the Lake of the Ozarks earlier this year.

According to the transcript, DNR Director Mark Templeton said that delaying the release of the report for a month did not pose a public health risk because bacteria die in lake water after about four days. Templeton added that he didn't learn about the results until eight days after the E-coli samples were taken.

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KCUR News
6:31 am
Tue October 6, 2009

Long Term Care Residents' Rights Recognized

Kansas City, MO – About 50 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities gathered in Jefferson City Monday to kick off a statewide tour designed to recognize their rights and needs.

The tour will highlight rights possessed by long-term care residents, which include having a say in their treatment and filing complaints without fear of retaliation. State Health and Senior Services Director Margaret Donnelly says these rights are already embedded into state law.

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KCUR News
10:15 am
Wed September 16, 2009

Mo. House Committee Explores Autism Insurance

Jefferson City, MO – A State House committee studying the impact of autism in Missouri took testimony yesterday in preparation for crafting legislation next year.

Lorri Unumb of Lexington, South Carolina, is the mother of an autistic child, and helped get an autism insurance bill passed in her home state.

She told Missouri lawmakers that passing similar legislation here would be cheaper than letting taxpayers foot the bill.

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KCUR News
10:23 am
Fri August 28, 2009

McCaskill Continues Town Hall Series, Faces Tough Crowd In Jefferson City

Jefferson City, MO – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill continued her series of health care town hall meetings Tuesday in Jefferson City.

The Missouri Democrat once again faced a crowd that was for the most part less than friendly.

Nearly 400 people crowded into Lewis and Clark Middle School to hear and sometimes jeer McCaskill.

She told the audience that doing nothing to America's current health care system is not an option.

"Should it be constitutional for us to deny health care to people?" McCaskill asked.

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