Marshall Griffin

Statehouse Reporter

Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.

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Updated 5:49 p.m. Jan. 14 - In Missouri, it usually takes a few weeks or even a month for the first bills to be completely passed out of one chamber and sent to the other, but not this year.

The Missouri House fast-tracked four ethics bills and on Thursday passed them on to the Senate, during the first full week of the legislative session.

A Missouri Senate committee is weighing legislation that would eliminate the 1 percent earnings tax in both St. Louis and Kansas City, effective Dec. 31, 2017.

Republican Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who's also running for attorney general, brought his bill before the Senate committee on ways and means Thursday.  He said that a similar tax in Maryland was ruled unconstitutional, and it could cost Missouri millions of dollars if the same thing happens here.

Two companion measures that would require Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls have been passed by a House committee.

The first one, HJR 53, is a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for a photo ID requirement, and would need to first be passed by Missouri voters.

Members of the news media who regularly cover the Missouri Senate will soon be doing so from another location.

The Senate voted 26-4 Thursday to bar members of the press from the floor of the Senate, including use of a table that has been reserved for reporters for decades.  The new rule takes effect March 29.

It appears that Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to ethics changes.

During his opening speech, House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said he'll refer all ethics bills to committee on Thursday, a move that often takes place days, weeks, and sometimes months after the start of a legislative session.

File Photo / KBIA

A pre-filed bill that would recreate the Missouri Water Patrol already has a vocal opponent:  Governor Jay Nixon. 

He called the proposal a mistake and told reporters Tuesday that the decision to fold the old Water Patrol into the State Highway Patrol was the right move:

“When Colonel Johnston could bring anywhere in the state water rescue resources and get them there in a timely fashion, that unified command structure brings us all the assets of public safety from the Highway Patrol section in a unified way, and I think (it) is important," Nixon said. 

Ron Richard is about to spend his first full session as president pro-tem of the Missouri Senate.

He was elected to the post by his colleagues in September after Tom Dempsey resigned a year ahead of time, and shepherded the upper chamber through veto session. The Republican from Joplin also served as House Speaker from 2009 to 2010, and is the only elected official in Missouri history to lead both chambers.

Richard sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin and talked about what he hopes to accomplish, and about getting started as president pro-tem:

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

New legislation is being proposed that would force the Missouri Department of Conservation to pay for any property damage caused by wild otters and elk.

GOP House member Rocky Miller of Osage Beach says the Missouri conservation department’s efforts to reintroduce certain species to the wild have caused lots of damage to rural property owners, especially otters.

Updated 5:17 p.m., Dec. 18 -- Dueling versions of legislation would each create a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri, the only state that doesn't have one.

Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, announced Thursday that she would again be sponsoring the House version of the bill, which was pre-filed Friday.  It would give doctors and pharmacists easy access to recent drug purchases by patients as a way to combat doctor shopping.

Patrick McKenna is now into his second week as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

He recently served as deputy director of New Hampshire's transportation department and before that worked as chief financial officer for the U.S. Senate.  McKenna sat down last week with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin and talked about some of the challenges he now faces as MoDOT director.

On Dec. 14, 2005, a section of dam wall along the old Taum Sauk reservoir collapsed, sending 1.3 billion gallons of water rushing down the side of Proffit Mountain in rural southeastern Missouri.

Several bills on both sides of the gun control debate are being proposed by Missouri lawmakers for next year's legislative session.

First, Senate Bill 589 would lift the current ban on bringing concealed firearms onto college campuses.  It's sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield.

Missouri lawmakers are questioning state agencies and charities that have any interaction with refugees and immigrants who settle in the Show-Me State.

Monday's joint meeting of the House Budget Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee is the first in a series called by Republican legislative leaders in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13.

Gov. Jay Nixon met with St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke Monday, one day before NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Dallas to discuss the league's potential return to Los Angeles.

Nixon spokesperson Channing Ansley told the Associated Press that Nixon and Kroenke met, but she did not disclose any details.

The Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have all submitted plans to relocate to the Los Angeles area, which has been without an NFL franchise for more than 20 years.  Kroenke wants to build a new stadium in Inglewood, about 12 miles southwest of downtown LA. The Raiders and Chargers are planning to jointly build and share a stadium in Carson, 14 miles south of downtown.

Missouri's corn and soybean harvests continue to look good, especially corn.

November estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture shows that corn growers are averaging 145 bushels an acre, which so far is the fourth-highest return in state history.

Reginald Clemons may get a new trial.

In a 4-to-3 decision Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court tossed out both his conviction and death sentence in the 1991 rape and murders of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis. The sisters, who were 20 and 19, had brought a visiting cousin to the bridge to show him a poem they had written. The cousin was the only one who survived being pushed from the bridge into the Mississippi River.

A Missouri death row inmate who came within hours of being executed earlier this month will have his appeal heard by a three-judge panel.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on Nov. 3 to Ernest Lee Johnson, based on whether a lower court properly handled his complaint about the state's execution drug. The order from the high court arrived around 40 minutes into the 24-hour execution window.

File Photo / KBIA

Missouri is receiving 1.2 million dollars from Washington that’s designed to help communities respond to disasters.  

Updated 8:05 p.m. Nov. 3 with court action - The U.S. Supreme Court has hit pause on Tuesday night's scheduled execution of Ernest Lee Johnson.

The high court issued a stay, pending the outcome of one of his appeals. It centers on claims that the state's execution drug pentobarbital could cause Johnson to experience violent seizures, due to part of his brain being removed in 2008 during surgery to remove a tumor.

A Kansas City-area man cannot sue his former employer for discrimination because Missouri's legal definition of discrimination does not include sexual orientation; so says the state's western district appeals court.

James Pittman's lawsuit claimed that, because he is gay, he was fired from Cook Paper Recycling and was subjected to a hostile work environment.  His case was dismissed by a lower court nearly two years ago, in part because sexual orientation is not included in Missouri's definition of discrimination.

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether a gun rights constitutional amendment passed last year cancels out an older state law that bars convicted felons from owning firearms.

The high court heard three cases Tuesday in which lower courts dismissed felony gun possession charges based on the new amendment, which makes gun ownership an "unalienable right" that the state is obligated to defend.

No fraternization, investigations conducted by "outside counsel," and sexual harassment training every year: These are just a few of the recommendations being made to improve the culture and work environment of the Missouri Capitol. 

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, announced the proposed changes Friday in a lengthy press release, but also spoke to St. Louis Public Radio by phone.

A case before the Missouri Supreme Court could decide whether wrongful death should fall under the state's new law capping non-economic damages on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Pat Hagerty represents the family of Shannon Dodson, who died in 2011 during what was described as a routine medical procedure at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.

A recent court ruling that excuses tobacco companies from making a $50 million payment to Missouri has resulted in the first cuts to the current year's state budget.

Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding approximately $46.1 million from the budget that took effect July 1.

Drought conditions across portions of Missouri are having both a positive and negative effect on crops grown in the Show-Me State.

The lack of rain over much of Missouri has not harmed the state's corn crop and is enabling farmers to get heavy equipment into the fields for harvest.

A Missouri House committee is putting together recommendations that could place further restrictions on abortion providers, namely Planned Parenthood.

Several Republican lawmakers began brainstorming various proposals toward the end of a public hearing Wednesday at the State Capitol.

They included random inspections of any facility that performs abortions, including hospitals.

Missouri's Department of Economic Development has unveiled 17 recommendations for how Missouri should use and conserve energy.

The recommendations are the end result of an executive order Gov. Jay Nixon issued last year that was intended to "chart a road map toward a more prosperous, secure and sustainable energy future."

A smaller Missouri House could be coming your way in seven years, if a proposed constitutional amendment makes it onto next year's ballot.

Two identical ballot initiatives would each shrink the size of the Missouri House from 163 seats down to 123.

Five public schools in Missouri will have their cyber security measures reviewed as part of an initiative announced Wednesday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

She told reporters that more than 250 K-12 schools nationwide have suffered data breaches over the past 10 years. One of those was the Park Hill district in Platte County, near Kansas City, which is among the five being audited.

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