Marshall Griffin

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

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Government
8:30 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Missouri Legislators Look At Tenured Teachers

A joint Missouri House/Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on whether the state's teacher tenure system is working.

Among those testifying was Mark Van Zandt, General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He says tenured teachers can be held accountable under the current system.

"There are procedures in place, if a teacher is not meeting the standards that are expected of them, in terms of instruction," Van Zandt said. "There can be consequences."

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Government
7:30 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Audit Finds Mo. Document Scanning Policy Broke State Law

An audit released Monday finds that the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) broke state law with its now-defunct policy of scanning documents of driver's license and conceal-carry applicants.

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Government
7:29 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Missouri's 2013 Veto Session Begins Wednesday

The showdown between Missouri's Democratic Governor and the Republican-led General Assembly finally arrives this week, as lawmakers return to Jefferson City for their annual veto session.  Governor Jay Nixon struck down 29 bills this year, with most of the post-veto attention falling on two bills in particular, a controversial tax cut proposal and an even more controversial attempt to nullify federal gun control laws. 

Campaign to prevent House Bill 253 override attempt

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Government
7:09 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Police Departments Oppose '2nd Amendment Preservation Act'

Several police departments and organizations around Missouri are speaking out against a bill that would bar enforcement of federal gun laws if they interfere with a Missourian's Second Amendment rights.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says House Bill 436 would in effect end cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies.  He cites a recent traffic stop where his officers apprehended two armed men wanted for different crimes.

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Economy
5:40 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Number Of Missouri Households Going Hungry On The Rise

Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 4:14 pm

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows the number of Missouri households threatened by hunger has grown over the past three years.

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Government
7:17 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Koster Opposing Bill That Could Nullify Federal Gun Laws In Mo.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is siding with fellow Democrat, Gov. Jay Nixon, in opposition to legislation that would challenge the federal government's ability to enforce federal gun laws in Show-Me State.

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Weather
8:11 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Drought Hits Northern Missouri, Again

Drought conditions are again plaguing the northern half of Missouri, according to the latest U.S. drought monitor report.

Right now, a large portion of north central Missouri is experiencing severe drought, with most of the rest of northern Missouri is in moderate drought. 

Anthony Artusa is with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center at the University of Maryland.

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NPR Story
8:04 am
Fri August 30, 2013

ACLU Seeks To Block Mo. Executions By Disqualifying Anesthesiologist

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 11:54 am

The American Civil Liberties Union hopes to block two executions in Missouri this fall by seeking to disqualify the anesthesiologist used by the Department of Corrections.

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NPR Story
7:18 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Ceremony At Mo. Capitol Marks 50th Anniversary of MLK's 'I Have A Dream' Speech

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 5:30 pm

An estimated 200 people braved the heat and humidity to gather outside the Missouri Capitol and commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered during the March on Washington on August 28th, 1963.

Several speakers took turns reading portions of King's famous speech, including the Reverend James Howard Jr. of Jefferson City.

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Government
1:47 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Most Of Missouri's New Laws For 2013 Take Effect Wednesday

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:46 pm

August 28 arrives on Wednesday, meaning dozens of new state laws will take effect in Missouri.

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Government
7:19 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Mo. Lawmakers Criticize Social Worker Voter Registration Efforts

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) has again come under the microscope of an interim legislative committee looking into whether state agencies are operating efficiently.

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Government
6:08 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Public Input Sought For Nominees To Hall Of Famous Missourians

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's induction last year generated lots of controversy and protests.
Marshall Griffin St. Louis Public Radio

After a controversial inductee last year, Missouri residents are being given the chance this year to nominate two of the next three inductees for the Hall of Famous Missourians.

House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, says he made the decision to seek citizens' input, in part, to see if someone who's worthy of induction has been forgotten over time or overlooked.

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Environment
8:00 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Callaway Nuclear Plant Back Online

Ameren Missouri

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 4:53 pm

Missouri's sole nuclear power plant is back online after being shut down for more than three weeks.

Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center was taken off line July 26 after an electrical arc caused a small fire.  The plant resumed operations Sunday morning.  Spokesman Cleve Reasoner says the arc was triggered when a ventilation louver came loose and got too close to the power cables.

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NPR Story
9:22 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Mo. Senate Panel Hears From Backers And Opponents Of Medicaid Expansion

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 1:27 pm

A Missouri Senate interim committee looking into the state's Medicaid system heard from several doctors and other health care providers Wednesday at a hearing in Jefferson City.  

Among those testifying was Thomas Hale, M.D., a St. Louis-based physician working with Sisters of Mercy.  He told the panel that Medicaid needs to be expanded to make up for the pending loss of federal reimbursements to hospitals, known as DSH payments ("dish").

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Government
7:17 am
Mon July 29, 2013

House Committee On Downsizing Missouri Government Submits Findings

The chair of an interim Missouri House committee looking at ways to downsize state government says they've handed off their findings to the Speaker's office.

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NPR Story
7:13 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Drought Still A Threat To Missouri This Year

Nat. Drought Mitigation Ctr., Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 5:06 pm

Missouri's overall drought picture is vastly improved this summer over what it was during last year's extreme heat and dry conditions.

Still, drought remains an immediate threat to portions of the Show-Me State. Mark Fuchs is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in St. Louis.

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Government
11:49 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Former Missouri DOR Director: No Steps Taken On Real ID

The final day of hearings into the Department of Revenue's now-defunct policy of scanning and storing documents of driver's license applicants featured the agency's former director answering questions under oath.

Alana Barragan-Scott told the House Bipartisan Investigative Committee on Privacy Protection that during her tenure, the department sought to safeguard driver's licenses from fraud and were not trying to skirt a 2009 state law barring compliance with the federal Real ID Act.

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NPR Story
9:37 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Vetoes By Nixon Set Table For Hectic Mo. Veto Session In September

Tim Bommel, Mo. House Communications

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 7:05 pm

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's record number of vetoes this year is expected to set up a very busy and hard-fought veto session this September.

According to the Associated Press, the Democratic Governor struck down 29 of the 145 non-budgetary bills sent to him by the Republican-dominated House and Senate.  Dave Robertson is a political science professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

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Government
8:42 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Judge Quashes Subpoenas Served To Nixon Administration Over Document Scanning

One day after a Missouri House committee issued subpoenas to several members of Democratic Governor Jay Nixon's administration, a Cole County judge has issued a preliminary order blocking the subpoenas.

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NPR Story
8:23 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Missouri Settles Lawsuits With 3 Companies For 'Cramming' Phone Customers

via Flickr/papalars

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 5:47 pm

Lawsuits filed by the Missouri Attorney General's office against three companies that provide phone services have been settled, and their customers in Missouri will receive nearly $300,000 in refunds.

The companies were accused of engaging in a practice called "cramming."  Joe Bindbeutel, chief of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, says cramming occurs when a phone company levies unauthorized charges onto its customers' monthly bills.

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Government
9:27 am
Mon June 24, 2013

KanCare Quarterly Report Submitted

The state of Kansas has submitted its first quarterly update on KanCare to the federal government. 

The federal waiver that gives Kansas the authority to experiment with its Medicaid program by privatizing the entire system requires a progress report four times a year. 

The first report covers the period from January first through March 31st.  It shows that a total of more than 344,000 Kansans enrolled in KanCare during the first three months.  At the end of March, however, there were fewer than 324,000 still enrolled—a drop of more than 20,000 people. 

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Education
8:30 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Guidelines Issued For Transfers To Accredited MO School Districts

The Missouri Department Of Elementary and Secondary Education has issued its own guidelines for the transfer process of students from unaccredited districts to those which are accredited.

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Government
8:36 am
Wed June 19, 2013

MO Congressmen Speak Out On Farm Bill

Members of Missouri's Congressional delegation are weighing in on the U.S. House version of the Farm Bill, which could be voted on before week's end.

Democrats, including St. Louis Congressman William Lacy Clay, say the GOP-backed bill goes too far.

Clay calls the cuts "outrageous."

"The savings achieved are small when compared to the great human suffering this change would cause," Clay says. "This is targeting the least among us."

Clay says ending subsidies on sugar, corn and other crops would be a better way to save money on agriculture costs.

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Government
8:36 am
Fri June 14, 2013

New Missouri House Committee Will Look At Department Of Social Services

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, has created another interim committee, this time to examine how well state agencies respond to citizens who use their services.

The Interim Committee on Improving Government Responsiveness and Efficiency's first priority will be looking into the Department of Social Services.  The committee will be chaired by State Representative Sue Allen, a Republican from Town and County.  Allen also chairs the subcommittee that writes the budgets for DSS and for the departments of Health and Senior Services and Mental Health. 

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Government
7:40 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Missouri Governor Nixon Signs Home Brewers Bill

(via Flickr/Mooganic)

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 12:54 pm

Governor Jay Nixon (D) Wednesday signed eight bills into law that were passed this year by Missouri lawmakers.

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Government
9:55 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Missouri Governor Campaigns Against Vetoed Tax Credit Bill

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, addresses higher education officials in Jefferson City on June 11th, 2013.
Marshall Griffin St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon has launched a major public effort to support his veto last week of a bill that would have cut Missouri's individual and corporate income taxes.

The Democratic Governor appeared before college and university officials Tuesday morning in Jefferson City, telling them that the GOP-backed proposal is the single greatest threat to public education he's seen in his career.

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NPR Story
10:31 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Mo. Lawmakers Form Interim Committees To Work On Issues For 2014

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 3:29 pm

Lawmakers in Missouri will continue working on several issues this summer and fall in preparation for next year's legislative session.

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Government
10:21 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Missouri Revenue Growth Slows A Bit, But Still Trending Upwards

Revenue collections in Missouri slowed a bit last month, but continued their overall upward trend.

From July of 2012 through the end of May, the state took in $7.3 billion in revenues, an increase of 10.4 percent from May of 2012.  The year-to-date increase from April of this year, though, was 11.2 percent.  Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering blames it on a drop in sales tax collections.

"People are still a little bit concerned about spending a lot of money, given the economy and the uncertainty at the national level," Luebbering said.

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Government
8:29 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Lee's Summit Lawmaker Who Threatened Resignation Changes His Mind

State Representative Jeff Grisamore, a Republican from Lee's Summit.
Missouri House Communications

A Missouri lawmaker who threatened to resign unless one or both of his key bills survived the last day of the 2013 legislative session is staying put, even though both bills failed to make it out by Friday's deadline.

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Government
8:14 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Missouri Legislative Session Wraps Up Today

The floor of the MIssouri House during the legislative session.
Marshall Griffin St. Louis Public Radio

The last day of this year's Missouri legislative session has arrived.  Lawmakers will be pushing to get several more pieces of legislation across the finish line.

The House passed a package of tax credits on Thursday that's still awaiting action in the Senate.  The two chambers still differ on where to cap the state's most widely used incentives - for historic preservation and low-income Housing.  Ron Richard, the Senate's Republican Floor Leader, says he hopes to get some sort of economic development bill passed.

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