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Missouri

Richardson
Tim Bommel / Missouri House Communications

As the 2018 legislative session careened to an end, we took stock of what legislation passed, what didn't pass, and what was allowed to quietly pass away. It turns out that with all eyes on the accusations against Gov. Eric Greitens, his fellow Republicans were fairly successful at advancing a legislative agenda.

Host Brian Ellison calls on KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger to help recap the session, and Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat, talks about what went wrong for his party.

File photo

Already facing highly restrictive abortion laws in Missouri and Kansas, Planned Parenthood Great Plains now confronts the prospect of losing its federal family planning funds if a proposed Trump administration rule goes into effect.

The administration unveiled a proposal Friday that would make clinics that provide abortion services or referrals ineligible to participate in Title X, which helps fund birth control, cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

Jo Mannies / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri’s 2018 General Assembly session will likely be remembered most for the legal and ethical travails of Gov. Eric Greitens. But the Republican-dominated legislature managed to approve numerous policy initiatives — the impact of which may last longer than Greitens’ tenure.

Standing in a light rain in the shadow of the state Capitol, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens blamed “rip-off artists” in the state’s low-income housing program “who thought they ran Missouri” for many of his legal troubles and the threat of his impeachment.

But recalling his past as a Navy SEAL, Greitens declared Thursday that they won’t succeed because he was taught to never quit.

Arthur and Corlew
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Reps. Lauren Arthur and Kevin Corlew are fighting over an exceedingly rare prize in Missouri politics: an open Senate seat in a district that doesn't have a clear partisan leaning. Whether voters choose the Democratic Arthur or the Republican Corlew in a June 5 special election could speak volumes about the mood of the electorate at a turbulent time.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Beef cattle ranchers have always known that making the best steak starts long before consumers pick out the right cut, or where an animal grazes or what it eats.

The key is in the genetic makeup — or DNA — of the herd. And over the last year, those genetics have taken a historic leap thanks to new, predictive DNA technology.

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall, along with ballot issues that seek to increase the state’s minimum wage and change Missouri’s process for crafting legislative districts.

Backers turned in signatures for six initiative-petition proposals by Sunday’s deadline. Four of them deal with marijuana.

Two of the proposals would legalize marijuana for medical use, while two others would legalize it for recreational use as well.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens allegedly directed a staffer to obtain a donor list from the veterans charity he founded and lied about it to the state ethics commission, according to a special House committee report released Wednesday.

Immediately, Democrats and some Republicans again called for Greitens, who faces two felony charges, to step down. Greitens' camp dug in with legal counsel Catherine Hanaway's statement that said the report "does a tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions." 

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Missouri passed the state House on Tuesday.

The bill originally would have only allowed medical marijuana use for terminally ill patients, but the House added amendments last week to expand access to those with chronic and debilitating, but not necessarily fatal, illnesses.

Missouri Department of Social Services screenshot

People who work with federal food-aid recipients in Missouri and recipients themselves have said the state’s hotline is slow to answer phone calls. State data shows that at times, callers have had to wait up to an hour to talk to someone and that in May 2017, almost a quarter of callers abandoned getting through.

Missouri’s Family Services Division started addressing those concerns in April and said it expects to have new software in place by July to make the call center more efficient and start the food-stamp interview process more quickly.

McCaskill-Hawley
File Photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley seems headed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill this fall. But Hawley's path has been made rougher by his complicated relationship with Gov. Eric Greitens—fellow Republican, fellow first-time-officeholder—and subject of his investigations. In this episode, host Brian Ellison takes an early look at the 2018 race. He talks with KCUR's Erica Hunzinger about Hawley's history and present entanglement with the governor.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

With the help of a rented plane, Jerry Eisterhold found the perfect place to start a vineyard with grapes native to the Midwest, grapes that no one had cultivated for more than 150 years.

Statehouse Blend Missouri crowd
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

As students rally nationwide for more gun regulation, Missouri legislators are considering — and advancing — several bills to make firearms more legal, for more people, in more places. What underlies the enduring, and seemingly intractable, divide on gun laws in Missouri?

Host Brian Ellison welcomed Rep. T.J. Berry, a Kearney Republican, and Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Gladstone Democrat, and an audience of 75 for a live taping of the podcast April 19 in Kansas City.

Erica Hunzinger / Harvest Public Media

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the biggest federal program aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that millions of Americans find themselves in — sometimes for a few months, sometimes for several years.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

In the cold of a Kansas City winter, Fran Marion and her two teenage children wrapped themselves in coats and blankets in their frigid rental home. Marion had repeatedly asked her landlord to fix their broken furnace. When he didn’t respond, Marion deployed the only option she could think of.

She withheld her rent check.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

Cannabinoid Creations founder Scott Leshman pours samples of his signature soda flavor, Cartoon Cereal Crunch, at his booth for the annual NoCo Hemp Exposition in Loveland, Colorado. It’s an ode to the breakfast cereal, Cap'n Crunch CrunchBerries, with a twist: It contains cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil.  

YouTube Screenshot

On Wednesday, a Missouri House committee released an explosive report about an affair Gov. Eric Greitens has admitted having with his former hairdresser in 2015. Many lawmakers have called the details of that report "disturbing" and Greitens’ future as governor may be in jeopardy.  

In this episode, host Brian Ellison and KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger unpack the report's details. We also hear from two lawmakers, Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew and House Democratic Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, who both think it's time for Greitens to go.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The same lab billing arrangement put in place at a small, rural hospital in Unionville, Missouri, is the subject of a federal lawsuit in Georgia that calls it a fraudulent scheme designed to enrich its architects.

The lawsuit, filed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, alleges that since August 2016, a 49-bed hospital in rural north Georgia has billed it more than $174 million for lab tests Blue Cross did not agree to pay for.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

In some states, abortion is on the agenda just about every year. Missouri is one of those states, and it is one where efforts to regulate or restrict abortion are often successful. Last week, the House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Host Brian Ellison talks with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, and KCUR's health editor, Dan Margolies, to put the legislation in the broader context of Missouri abortion law and the numerous court challenges it continues to face.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House has approved its budget for the 2018 fiscal year, and the ball is now in the Senate's court. It's no small thing getting all the numbers to add up to pay for transportation, K-12 and higher education, social services ... and everything else. But how does that work, especially when lawmakers don't share the vision of the governor, whose proposal is their starting place and who ultimately has to implement whatever priorities they set? Host Brian Ellison talks about the process and the results so far with Traci Gleason of the Missouri Budget Project and Rep.

Jannis Evans and Devin Hursey both work in the HIV treatment and prevention field and have served on committees advocating for people with HIV in Missouri and across the country.

They sat down at this month’s Legislative Advocacy Day sponsored by the Missouri HIV Justice Coalition where they both were advocating for changes to Missouri’s HIV criminal laws, and they spoke about some of the reasons HIV impacts communities of color at a higher rate.  

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

McCaskill
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Before a small but energetic crowd in Kansas City Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill walked a narrow path between opposition to President Trump’s views and caution not to offend his supporters — many of whose votes she will need to be re-elected this November.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

As the Missouri General Assembly takes a spring break, we take a look at the term so far and what's left to be done. But like everyone else, we have a hard time talking about anything but the indictment and investigations of Governor Eric Greitens. Joining host Brian Ellison with analysis and predictions are KCUR's Erica Hunzinger, the Kansas City Star's Bryan Lowry and Missourinet's Alisa Nelson.

Updated March 21 at 5:45 p.m. with comments from Wednesday's hearing — Gov. Eric Greitens will go on trial in May in St. Louis for felony invasion of privacy.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Wednesday denied an attempt by Greitens' defense team to start the trial in April, in order to get it done before a special state House committee investigating the governor finishes its work.

Reggie and the Full Effect / Facebook

The clown prince of pop-punk and emo-rock, and the pride of Liberty, Missouri, James Dewees is the founder and primary artistic force in Reggie and the Full Effect.

Dewees began drumming for the seminal Kansas City punk band Coalesce in the 1990s; at the end of that decade, he joined the beloved Kansas City emo-rock band the Get Up Kids. He's also been hired as a ringer by prominent bands including My Chemical Romance.

Updated March 21, 5:55 p.m. – Russell Bucklew's scheduled execution has been called off.

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay Tuesday evening, based on Bucklew's assertion that Missouri's lethal injection protocol would cause bleeding and suffocation due to a medical condition he suffers.

Veterans Health

This story was updated at 1:47 p.m. to include the response of a spokesman for the VA region in question.  

Almost 1,000 veterans in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois were denied care at non-VA facilities because their wait times were incorrectly reported, an audit released last week concludes. 

Henry County Sheriff's Office

Tammy Widger, the 37-year-old Clinton, Missouri, woman who was in the house when police responded to a 911 call resulting in the shooting death of officer Christopher Ryan Morton on March 6, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields announced the new charge on Wednesday.

Last week, Widger was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and keeping a public nuisance, both felonies.

This story was updated at 2:43 p.m. to include the comments of ACLU of Missouri legal director Tony Rothert.  

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt has lost his bid to unseal documents over Missouri’s execution protocol.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the safety of members of Missouri’s execution team, as well as the state’s interest in carrying out its executions, overcame the general presumption that the public should have access to judicial records.

Elijah Haahr
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since Congress passed major changes to U.S. tax policy, Missouri leaders have been mulling their own changes to the state tax code that might leave your tax bill looking very different next year. We talk with House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, a Republican representative from Springfield, about how his 429-page plan can call itself "revenue-neutral."

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