Associated Press

The Missouri Department of Corrections will ban smoking in prisons this year.

The News Tribune reports that all of the department's facilities will be tobacco-free starting April 1. Staff, offenders, visitors and contractors won't be allowed to possess or use tobacco products inside the facilities. Staff and visitors will be able to smoke in a designated area outside the prisons.

bloomsberries / flickr


  A Missouri man acquitted of murder after eight years behind bars has filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Michael Amick and his wife, Sara, a teacher, filed the federal lawsuit Dec. 8 in the Western District of Missouri, one year after winning his freedom. It accused southern Missouri officials of making false reports, fabricating evidence and failing to interview witnesses.

Brett Levin / flickr

  These were not grandma's Christmas cookies.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says it arrested two men from Florida with more than 20 pounds of cookies in their vehicle. The problem was the cookies contained THC, the chemical found in marijuana.

The patrol says they pulled over a U-Haul truck Tuesday on Interstate 70 in Layfette County. They found 23.2 pounds of THC-infused cookies, along with more than 4 pounds of marijuana and a gun.

Between Dec. 10 and 15, over 110,000 Missourians enrolled for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, putting the final number over last year’s.

Previous Missourian reporting found that the state was falling behind last year’s numbers, with initial numbers suggesting that enrollment had decreased by almost half.

Crime scene
Null_Value / Flickr

  A state representative and the family of a man shot by St. Louis police are calling for a new investigation into the shooting.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. and the family of 25-year-old Cary Ball called on St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Wednesday to lead a new investigation into the shooting.

University of Missouri

A longtime Missouri professor will be the new interim provost at the University of Missouri.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced Thursday that Jim Spain will take over the job Feb. 1.

Spain has taught at the Columbia university since 1990 in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

One of the suspects in the slaying of a transgender teenager in southwest Missouri has pleaded guilty.

The Springfield News-Leader reports 18-year-old Isis Schauer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld. She was was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

Missouri's attorney general says he'll review fellow Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff's use of a secretive app that deletes messages after they're read.

The Kansas City Star previously reported that Greitens and some of his staff have accounts with Confide, an app that deletes messages and prevents users from taking screenshots.

The Confide accounts sparked concern among some open-government advocates that they could be used to undermine open records laws. A Democratic lawmaker asked Attorney General Josh Hawley for an investigation.

Missouri's unemployment rate has dropped slightly.

Department of Economic Development data released Tuesday show the state's unemployment rate went down from 3.5 percent in October to 3.4 percent in November. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dropped 1.1 percent since the same time last year.

Wikimedia Commons

The St. Louis Cardinals have received federal certification giving the organization legal protections in the event of a terrorist attack at Busch Stadium.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded the Cardinals certification under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, known as the Safety Act. Certification was approved Dec. 11.

401K / Flickr

Missouri's revenue director says a federal tax overhaul should have a relatively minor effect on the state's bottom line.

Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters said Tuesday that budget officials are still working on projections, but he thinks that the federal tax changes could result in "a relatively narrow plus or minus" of around $100 million to the state's tax revenues.

There's a new date for an ethics hearing on a Republican lawmaker who called for the vandal of a Confederate monument to be hanged. 

Missouri's Department of Corrections continues to struggle with a staffing shortage across the state's more than 20 prisons. 

A Missouri state trooper convicted of a misdemeanor for the drowning death of a handcuffed Iowa man has been fired.

The Kansas City Star reports that that a Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman confirmed Anthony Piercy was fired Friday, more than 3 1/2 years after 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson, of Clive, Iowa, drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is facing criticism for his role in a leadership shake-up at the state's education agency, but he's not the first governor to use appointments to enact change.

At issue are Greitens' recent appointments to the State Board of Education, who in turn voted to fire former Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

Some HIV-positive patients in nearly half the counties in Missouri will lose health insurance coverage next year.

The Department of Health and Senior Services announced that nearly 100 HIV patients in Missouri will no longer have access to a comprehensive health insurance plan effective Jan. 1 as a result of high costs.

The director of the Missouri Veterans Commission has resigned amid complaints about care at the St. Louis Veterans Home.

New commission chairman Tim Noonan after a closed meeting Wednesday announced Executive Director Larry Kay's immediate resignation. Kay didn't immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment after the meeting.

The commission picked Missouri Air National Guard Col. Grace Link to be interim director.

SULLIVAN, Mo. (AP) — State officials say they found no evidence of Bourbon virus in ticks collected last summer at Meramec State Park after a park worker died from the virus.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced Wednesday that 7,000 ticks were collected after Tamela Wilson, an assistant park superintendent, died June 23 from the rare disease.

Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens says the state is enrolled in a new study on foster parent recruitment and retention.

Greitens said Monday that the study is focused on finding out why people decide to become foster parents, what makes them continue and what influences their decision to stop.

Greitens says national statistics show most foster parents quit within a year. She says she wants to address problems that drive foster parents out of the program.

An audit has found that the Missouri Department of Social Services mistakenly paid more than $19 million to child care facilities to subsidize low-income families and should refund the federal government.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the funds distributed through federal grants didn't meet the government's requirements for record-keeping.

The Callaway County prosecuting attorney says no charges will be filed in a fatal Columbia police shooting.

Prosecutor Chris Wilson announced Friday that his review of the May shooting death of Clarence Coats Jr. found that a Columbia police officer acted lawfully when Coats was shot.

Wilson said Coats was using methamphetamine when he began shooting indiscriminately at a Columbia home. He apparently was upset about ending a relationship and had argued with his family.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Several senior members of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' office have accounts with a secretive app that erases messages after they're read.

The Kansas City Star reports that it determined the governor and some of his staff have Confide accounts connected to their personal cellphones. The app deletes messages and prevents recipients from saving, forwarding, printing or taking screenshots of messages.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed three new members with ties to Missouri agriculture to a board that oversees water pollution.

The governor announced the appointments Wednesday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that farm friendly members now have a majority on the Clean Water Commission. The board is responsible for granting permits to large factory farms.

Greitens picked farmers Stan Coday and John Kleiboeker, as well as Pat Thomas. Thomas is chief of staff to a lawmaker who is a leader in agriculture policy.

A small airplane has crashed near a gas station in an area near Spirit of St. Louis Airport near St. Louis, but apparently missed hitting anyone on the ground.

The crash happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday in Chesterfield, Missouri. TV footage showed that the plane crashed on the parking lot of a BP service station and may have clipped a roof over the gas pumps. The station is less than a mile from the airport.

Missouri's recently ousted education commissioner, Margie Vandeven, says Gov. Eric Greitens never met with her to discuss his expectations of her or his goals for education.

Vandeven said she wasn't surprised when the state Board of Education voted to fire her last week because Greitens had been maneuvering for weeks to name board members who would agree to remove her.

A temporary jail in southwest Missouri has finished construction but sits empty due to a staff shortage.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that a series of semi-trailers have been outfitted with sleeping bunks and other features to house up to 108 inmates at Greene County.

Torie Ross / KBIA

A new state audit shows that school administrators' salaries are growing at a faster rate than teachers'.

Dan Verbeck / KBIA

An investigation ordered by Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has found that his predecessor's office withheld DNA evidence in a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a black man by a white St. Louis officer.

Private attorney Hal Goldsmith's investigation released Tuesday found that the office of former Attorney General Chris Koster "was aware of and failed to turn over" DNA evidence taken from Jason Stockley's revolver.

A Missouri lawmaker says he'll to try to block state education board appointees who voted to fire the state's top education official.

The Springfield News Leader reported Monday that Sen. Gary Romine says he's prepared to filibuster the confirmations of fellow Republican Gov. Eric Greitens' appointees.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson wants the head of the St. Louis Veterans Home removed in response to claims that patients are being mistreated.

Parson on Monday called for Administrator Rolando Carter's ouster. He alleged that there have been issues with medications, turnover and transparency. The lieutenant governor also wants the assistant administrator out.

Neither Carter nor his second-in-command immediately responded to Associated Press requests for comment Monday.