Jay Nixon

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's time in office ends in a few months, but forthcoming attempts in the Statehouse to override his vetoes of bills proposing tighter voter ID rules, looser concealed carry regulations, and an increased price-tag for a driver's license are keeping him plenty busy.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon won’t be defending anyone.

Michael Barrett, the state’s public defender, earlier this month tried to assign the governor a case, citing an overburdened system and budget cuts from the state. Though Barrett argued he had the authority to do so under Missouri law, a Cole County judge on Thursday disagreed.

Swope Health Services

In a roundtable conversation on Thursday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon heard from police and mental health workers about their collaboration in efforts to provide treatment, not punishment, for the mentally ill.

There are five so-called "community mental health liaisons" in the Kansas City area, thanks to a three-year effort by Nixon's administration. These liaisons assist law enforcement in crisis situations such as a threatened suicide or person suffering from delusions.  

MoBikeFed / Flickr - CC

Any hopes Gov. Jay Nixon may have about patching things up with Missouri’s top public defender will have to be put on hold for a while longer.

Budget tensions came to a head last week when Michael Barrett, director of the state’s public defender’s office, assigned the governor to defend an assault case in Cole County, Missouri.

The head of Missouri's public defender system appointed Gov. Jay Nixon to handle a case in protest of withheld funding. So, just how dire is the situation for Missouri's public defenders?


Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The frustrated director of Missouri’s underfunded public defender’s office has done something most unusual: He’s assigned a case to the governor.

The budget woes in Michael Barrett’s department are ongoing – too many poor people needing public defenders, too few lawyers to represent them. So he’s relying on a state law that appears to let him appoint any lawyer who's a member of the Missouri Bar to defend an indigent criminal defendant.

Enter Gov. Jay Nixon.

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.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation stepping up oversight of the state’s 360 Community Improvement Districts.

“When residents vote to improve their communities through local taxing districts, they expect those districts to be held accountable and follow the law,” Nixon said Wednesday in Kansas City. “They need a watchdog, and that watchdog needs to have teeth.”

The bill Nixon signed makes that watchdog State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Before, Galloway could only audit a CID if a citizen petition requested it.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon came to Kansas City Wednesday to sign legislation strengthening laws against human trafficking.

“We tend to think of human trafficking as something that happens in a distant, undeveloped country,” Nixon said. “But the tragic reality is, right here in the United States, human trafficking is a real and growing problem.”

Anton Novoselov / Flickr--CC

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon returned from a trade mission to Cuba Wednesday with high hopes the state’s farmers will find an export market there.

“This is a country that imports about 50 percent of its food right now,” said Nixon, who spoke to reporters on a conference line from Miami. “They have not yet moved toward modern, productive agriculture at anything near the same level as farmers and ranchers in Missouri.”

Nixon rattled off a long list of products he thinks could be sold in Cuba: soybeans, corn, rice, beef, dairy, poultry, hogs, cotton, wine and biodiesel.

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.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is offering to stop spending state tax incentives to lure Missouri businesses across the state line but only if the Missouri General Assembly amends an offer to stop using tax breaks to poach Kansas jobs. Missouri extended the compromise two years ago, contingent on Kansas reciprocating.

Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation, says what's been called an economic border war has been extremely wasteful.

“We’re using our incentives to move existing jobs, rather than trying to compete for new jobs,” says Hall.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

It’s never been done before.

“And it’s going to work,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told the crowd that gathered in Lee’s Summit Thursday to break ground on the Missouri Innovation Campus.

The campus, located northeast of the intersection of Chipman Road and Ward Road, will be the new permanent home of a 4-year-old collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri and other partners.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Gov. Jay Nixon didn’t mince words when asked about the earnings tax during a stop at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley Wednesday.

“It is wrong for the legislature to say to local communities who’ve voted on how they’re going to fund their services to take away after the people have voted the option for them to fund their services that way,” Nixon said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is asking for an additional $2.5 million for the A+ Scholarship Program, which lets students attend community college for free.

Nixon visited Metropolitan Community College’s Penn Valley campus Wednesday to meet with students who are using the scholarships to pay for school.

“I won’t even have to work a year to pay off my debt,” Marshall Morris, a student in the electric utility lineman program, said.

He told the governor he probably wouldn’t have gone to college without the A+ program.

For his final state budget, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking no risks.

His proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 features no grand gestures of setting up new programs, and calls for limited increases for the state’s current operations.

Missouri lawmakers get back to work this week for a legislative session that’s expected to be dominated by campaign reform and finding a way to fund the state road system. We discuss these and other issues in store for the General Assembly in 2016.


  • State Sen. Ryan Silvey is a Kansas City Republican and a member of the Appropriations Committee.
  • Jason Hancock covers the statehouse for The Kansas City Star.
Cody Newill / KCUR

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order in Kansas City Friday promoting best practices to help end Missouri's gender pay gap.

Nixon signed the order at the Women's Foundation's annual luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel. The event drew nearly 1,600 people who came to see Nixon, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington speak, among others.

A Look At How Refugees Are Resettled In Kansas City

Nov 30, 2015
Julie Denesha / KCUR

After the attacks in Paris, many governors across the nation took a stance on opening their borders to refugees, particularly refugees from Syria. In the Kansas City area, Governors Sam Brownback and Jay Nixon weighed in on both sides of the issue.


“It is imperative that we take action where the White House has not. KS agencies will not assist in relocating Syrian refugees,” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wrote on Twitter .


Bernard Pollack / Flickr--CC

As the debate on whether to accept Syrian refugees rages, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says now is not the time for a new national identity.

“As Americans, we have always been a country of immigrants,” Nixon says. “We have always a place that welcomed people who had horrific things happen to them, whether it has been in Africa or Bosnia or now in Syria.”

He says he understands the concerns of Missourians who are reticent to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

It was the first time since Gov. Jay Nixon took office that all of Missouri’s living governors were at the same place at the same time.

On Friday, Kit Bond, John Ashcroft, Roger Wilson, Bob Holden and Matt Blunt joined Nixon in Kansas City for a panel discussion of the state’s economic victories.

Bond, who created the Hawthorn Foundation in 1982 to raise private funds for trade missions, says Missouri wasn’t open for business back when he was governor.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Gov. Jay Nixon announced more than $1 million in Missouri Technology Corporation grants for three metro-area businesses Thursday at Kansas City’s first Techweek conference.

“We’re glad that Techweek’s here. It’s just blown the doors off,” Nixon said. “About twice as many as they thought came into town.”

The national technology conference will stop in Kansas City for the next five years, drawn here in part because of Google Fiber and the Cisco Smart City initiative.

“This is the kind of thing to help brand the Kansas City region as a tech startup hub,” Nixon said.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says having a skilled workforce is key to the state’s future as a global leader in auto manufacturing.

Nixon toured a newly completed facility Monday in Liberty built by auto parts maker LMV Automotive Systems to provide needed skills like welding to its growing workforce.

“Companies like LMV understand that in a fiercely competitive worldwide economy, highly-skilled workers are vital to their success,” Nixon said.

With the expansion of its $90 million facility, the LMV space has doubled in size since last year.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 500 union members and politicians rallied in Kansas City on Saturday to show their support for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a so-called "right-to-work" bill.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa spoke passionately to the crowd of people packed into the Teamsters Local 41 hall.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri’s law enforcement training program will get an overhaul later this year, Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday at Kansas City Police Headquarters.

“The training requirements have not been upped or refreshed in any substantive way since 1996, and the actions of last summer – not only in Ferguson, but around the country over the last year – have told us in a very clear way that we have an opportunity to lead, and we’re going to do just that,” Nixon said.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Low-income college students got some good news Wednesday from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon announced additional money will be directed toward the need-based Access Missouri scholarship program.

At a news conference on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, the governor said Access Missouri serves about 50,000 students at both two- year and four-year institutions.

Dozens of bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year remain unsigned as the deadline for taking action approaches.

They include the sole Ferguson-related bill passed during the 2015 legislative session.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

As Mosby, Missouri, Police Sgt. Jason Lininger helped residents evacuate their Clay County homes Sunday morning, he asked Fishing River Fire how fast the water was rising.

"At one point, it actually rose four foot in one hour," Lininger told Gov. Jay Nixon during a briefing Monday afternoon.

Severe weather this weekend spawned 10 confirmed in Bates, Henry, Caldwell, Jackson, Ray, Newton, Lawrence and Polk counties. An unconfirmed tornado near Bethany leveled several grain elevators.

But the real problem was flash flooding.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A state match of $7.4 million dollars will help build the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center at the the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Volker campus.

"Just last week the state budget office announced we have a revenue increase of 7.7 percent compared to last year," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said at a press conference announcing the match. "That's an increase that's well above revised projections. Hence, I am here to spend some."

Cody Newill / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stopped by the recently closed Missouri River bridge on Highway 291 in Sugar Creek, Missouri Thursday to call on state lawmakers to pass a fuel tax hike for transportation funding.

The northbound bridge was closed Wedensday when a Missouri Department of Transportation inspection found a rusted hole through a support strut. 

Nixon said the bridge is indicative of a larger problem with state transportation funding.