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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File photo / KBIA

It’s still not against the law in Missouri for an employer to fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Senator Joseph Keaveny of St. Louis is sponsoring the latest effort to change that, and his bill is currently being considered by a Senate committee. 


(Updated 5:51 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 19 )

The Missouri House has passed two pieces of legislation to require voters to show government-approved photo identification at the polls.

(Updated 1 p.m., Wed., Feb. 11)

By a voice vote, the Missouri House gave first round-approval Wednesday to a bill to bar construction unions and employers from requiring all employees to join a union and pay dues if a majority votes to organize. The bill, HB 582, is sponsored by Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Berkeley.

----- Our earlier story

After a few years of going nowhere, ethics reform may finally be gaining traction within the Republican-dominated Missouri legislature.

Senate endorses ethics bill

On Wednesday, the Missouri Senate gave first-round approval to Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin.  It touches on several issues, which include:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made it official Thursday when he announced that he'll be leading an agricultural trade mission to Cuba in March.

File photo / KBIA

A pay raise for state elected officials in Missouri that would have automatically taken effect Saturday has been blocked.  The Missouri Senate voted overwhelmingly to kill the raises, which would have increased lawmakers’ salaries by 11 percent.  The governor and other state elected officials would have gotten an 8 percent raise. 

Republican Senator Mike Cunningham from rural southern Missouri argued that state workers should be the ones getting a raise.

Legislation to cap the amount of revenue from traffic fines cities and towns in Missouri can include in their budgets is getting early attention in this year's regular session.

Under the current law, known as the Macks Creek law, local municipalities can receive up to 30 percent of their income from speeding tickets and other traffic citations.  That would drop to 10 percent if the proposed measure becomes law. 

The 2011 merger of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the water patrol is getting mixed reviews from state lawmakers in a report released Thursday.

The 2015 Missouri legislative session is underway, and here are some of the highlights of the day.

Nixon gets first say on start of session

The day began with the annual Governor's Prayer Breakfast, after which he answered questions from reporters on a few topics, including whether Medicaid expansion was already a lost cause for 2015.  Nixon, of course, said it wasn't at all.

Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the Missouri Department of Agriculture to explore business opportunities in Cuba.

The move follows President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with the communist island nation. 

In a written statement released Tuesday, Nixon said that Missouri's agricultural exports are already up by 14 percent this year.

Missouri's recently formed Charter Public School Commission is preparing to begin operations next year.

A joint Missouri House and Senate committee is preparing to investigate Gov. Jay Nixon's actions in Ferguson in the aftermath of a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage also prevents gay couples in Missouri from getting divorced in Missouri courts.

A man identified only as M.S. married his male partner, identified as D.S., in Iowa in December 2012. The couple separated in August 2013, and in January of this year M.S. filed for divorce in St. Louis County. But Associate Circuit Judge John Borbonus ruled that Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages barred him from granting the couple a divorce.

The Missouri Supreme Court is mulling over three cases that could decide whether cities and towns can continue to use traffic cameras to catch speeders and red-light runners.

Two of the cases involve the use of red-light cameras, one in St. Louis and the other in St. Peters. The third case involves the use of speeding cameras in Moline Acres in St. Charles County.

Attorney Bevis Schock represents plaintiffs in the St. Louis and St. Peters cases. He told the high court Tuesday that their use creates a situation where the motorist is guilty until proven innocent.

Two St. Louis County lawmakers are proposing numerous reforms for law enforcement officers in Missouri in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, says changes are needed to "protect Missouri citizens from being abused by overzealous law enforcement." She's planning to file a bill that would:

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are celebrating their increased supermajorities in the State House and Senate, especially with the passage of a constitutional amendment to limit Gov. Jay Nixon's authority over the budget.

Nixon, a Democrat, has temporarily withheld money each year from various state agencies. He has said the withholds are necessary because the GOP-controlled legislature keeps sending him unbalanced budgets. 

As St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke considers whether to stay put or move his team to another city, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has unveiled a plan he says is designed to keep the NFL in St. Louis.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Nixon announced that former Anheuser-Busch President David Peacock and Clayton attorney Bob Blitz will spend the next 60 days studying the situation:


Who should have the power over the Missouri budget? The legislature, which writes the budget? Or the governor who is constitutionally required to balance it?

The latest salvo in the ongoing battle between Missouri's Democratic governor and the Republican-led legislature over the state budget is Amendment 10 on the November ballot. 

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle refused to comment Wednesday on the drowning of an Iowa man who had been taken into custody by state troopers on the Lake of the Ozarks on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Replogle was appearing at the first of two hearings by a state house committee that is looking into the merger of the Highway Patrol with the Water Patrol. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka,  created the interim committee.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered state Auditor Tom Schweich to conduct an audit of the office of the St. Louis recorder of deeds.

Supporters of a Missouri prison inmate serving life without parole for a marijuana conviction are stepping up their efforts to persuade Gov. Jay Nixon to grant clemency.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says an audit released Monday shows that Gov. Jay Nixon violated Missouri's constitution when he withheld money from two recent state budgets.

Schweich says the governor had no legal right to withhold $172 million from several state programs to help cover costs from the Joplin tornado and other recent natural disasters during fiscal year 2012.

The former CEO of a company that announced it would open an artificial sweetener plant in a small north Missouri town, but never did, has pleaded guilty to three felony counts connected to the scandal.

In 2010, Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole persuaded city leaders in Moberly to issue $39 million in bonds to build the plant, which was to employ 600 people. Shortly afterward, the state's Economic Development Department kicked in $17 million in tax credits for the project -- however, those credits were never used.

A group of Missouri law enforcement officials have officially endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment designed to make it easier to prosecute sex crimes against children.

While Ferguson remains under a state of emergency, Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered a gradual withdrawal of approximately 200 Missouri National Guard troops that have been assisting the state Highway Patrol this week.

He said Thursday that he based his decision on an improved situation following more than a week of looting and riots triggered by the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Nixon spoke by phone with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin on his order to begin withdrawing the National Guard and on the overall situation in Ferguson:

Gov. Jay Nixon is defending his decision to deploy Missouri National Guard troops to Ferguson.

Nixon issued a statement earlier this morning, announcing his decision to send in the Guard after what may have been the worst night of rioting since the protests began a week ago. Nixon explained his decision by citing "violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk."

Missouri transportation leaders are looking to regroup following voters' overwhelming rejection of a proposed  sales tax to fund road and bridge improvements on Tuesday.

Despite supporters spending millions, the measure lost by roughly 58 percent to 41 percent. And it lost across the state -- in St. Louis, St. Louis County, the Kansas City area and even in rural parts of the state. In St. Louis and St. Louis County, the measure went down by a 2-to-1 margin.

Of the five proposed constitutional amendments Missourians will get to vote on in August, two of them have generated little attention and virtually no controversy.  One would expand the right against unreasonable search and seizures to include electronic communications and data, while the other would create a new Missouri lottery ticket to fund the needs of veterans.

Electronic data and communications

Do Missouri’s farmers and ranchers need a constitutional amendment to continue their way of life, or does current law offer enough protection? That’s the debate surrounding one of the five ballot measures Missouri voters will decide next month. Supporters and opponents are campaigning and spending money on efforts to both pass and kill the proposal that could limit regulations on farming and ranching.

Origins and journey of 'Right to Farm'