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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Missouri’s transportation funding outlook has become so bleak that the state’s Highways and Transportation Commission has stopped adding new projects to its 5-year construction budget.  That announcement came today  during a transportation conference in Jefferson City.  MoDOT Director Dave Nichols says their main mission will shift to maintenance of current roads and bridges.

Five identical bills that would each revamp Missouri's student transfer law were examined Wednesday by a State Senate committee.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver his annual State of the State address Tuesday night, during which he'll unveil his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

The governor is expected to announce funding increases for both K-12 schools and higher education, along with a warning to House and Senate GOP leaders not to cut taxes.  Nixon vetoed last year's tax cut bill (HB 253) and successfully fought off an attempted veto override last fall.  The Democratic governor is also expected to make another pitch for expanding Medicaid.

The speaker of the Missouri House is pushing lawmakers to restore caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

A 2005 Missouri law created a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.  But that cap was tossed out in 2012 by the Missouri Supreme Court. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, surrounded by a group of medical professionals and lawmakers Thursday in Jefferson City, said restoring the caps will be one of his top priorities this year.

Time is running out for Normandy schools in north St. Louis County to win extra funding from Missouri lawmakers this school year.

Normandy and Riverview Gardens have experienced an exodus this school year due to the student transfer law.  Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told the House Budget Committee Wednesday that she expects the Normandy School District will be bankrupt by the end of the year.

missouri house floor
File Photo / KBIA News

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has unveiled a wide-ranging ethics proposal he wants lawmakers to take up and pass this year.

It includes restoring campaign contribution limits, banning gifts from lobbyists to all state elected officials, and requiring a 3-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers can work as lobbyists. Kander said if adopted, Missouri can go from having the worst ethics system in the country to the best:

Reading of remonstrance on Senate floor, and statement from Sen. Chappelle-Nadal

A Missouri State senator has filed a remonstrance that calls for the immediate resignation of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A bill to turn Missouri into a right-to-work state was the subject of a hearing in Jefferson City Monday.

As written, the so-called "Freedom to Work Act" (House Bill 1099) would bar workers from being required to "engage in or cease engaging in specified labor organization practices" as a condition for employment.  It's sponsored by State Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield.

The Missouri General Assembly's 2014 session is underway, and the first day sounded a lot like last year's session.

In his opening remarks, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, laid out his agenda for this year's regular session: medical malpractice reform, making Missouri a right-to-work state, and cutting taxes.

Hakan Dahlstrom / Flickr

A Missouri House subcommittee is considering whether to approve more money for student assessment tests under the new Common Core State Standards.

The standards are designed to put in place common nationwide achievement goals in math and language arts.  Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told committee members Tuesday that implementing the Common Core in Missouri has not cost the state any additional money, but that measuring student performance under the new standards will.

j.reed / Flickr

In the wake of a massive data breach committed against the Target retail store chain, con artists may be targeting victims in Missouri and elsewhere. 

According to the Missouri Attorney General’s office, scammers are calling and emailing consumers and claiming to be from Target, or from their bank or credit card company. The scammers then attempt to trick customers into giving them their personal and financial information. 

A new audit released Tuesday finds that some welfare recipients in Missouri have used their benefits to buy things besides food and other daily necessities, while others may have moved away but continue to get in-state benefits.

Ryan McKenna
Missouri Senate

Gov. Jay Nixon has filled a cabinet vacancy by appointing fellow Democrat and State Senator Ryan McKenna to head the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.  

Republican legislators in Missouri will try again next year to restore caps on damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

missouri house floor
File Photo / KBIA News

A proposal to circumvent thousands of potential student transfers in the Kansas City area will be considered by the state legislature next year.

If passed, the proposal would allow local school districts to set class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios, and once reached, those districts could not be forced to accept transfer students from unaccredited school districts. The bill has been pre-filed by Democratic Senator Paul LeVota of Independence.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released plans to fund construction of a new state psychiatric hospital in Fulton.

Nixon says his state budget for the next fiscal year (FY 2015) will include a bond issue designed to generate roughly $200 million to help cover the projected $211 million price tag.

The Missouri House has passed the Senate version of the Boeing incentives bill, bringing a quickly-called special session of the legislature to a quick close.

The measure would provide roughly $1.7 billion in tax breaks over a 23-year period to Boeing to expand its St. Louis facility and build its 777X passenger jet there.  Perhaps the most enthusiastic endorsement on the House floor came from State Representative Steve Lynch (R, Waynesville), who also owns a furniture store.

The Boeing incentives bill continues moving forward during Missouri's special legislative session.

Mo. House Communications

Many large retailers were open on Thanksgiving Day. Now, one Missouri lawmaker wants to limit that.

State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart) plans to file legislation that would make it illegal for most retail stores in Missouri to be open for business on Thanksgiving.  He filed the "Thanksgiving Family Protection Act" during the 2013 regular session, but it went nowhere, not even getting a hearing.  Roorda says he's trying again, nevertheless.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A new railroad bridge over the Osage River between St. Louis and Jefferson City is now open for both passenger and freight train use.

The new bridge cost $28 million, with most of the funds coming from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo says the project came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

Image by Evan Townsend

Missouri businesses will have to shell out more money for unemployment taxes next year in order to pay down debt the state owes to the federal government.

Missouri began borrowing federal dollars in 2008 to pay for jobless benefits after an economic downturn drained the state's unemployment benefits trust fund.  Brendan Cossette with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that led to the feds levying a surcharge on Missouri businesses to repay the borrowed money.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has issued an executive order directing the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) to accept jointly filed state income tax returns from same-sex married couples living in the Show-Me State.

The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has unveiled a 20-year plan that's based on more than 12,000 suggestions from the public.

However, the state currently cannot afford to implement it.

An agreement has been reached between the Nixon Administration and Jefferson City on paying for cleanup and renovations at the old Missouri State Penitentiary.

A Missouri House committee tasked with looking at ways to downsize state government has sent a memo containing recommendations to House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka).

Missouri Capitol
File Photo / KBIA

An interim Missouri House committee has resumed examining the state’s Medicaid system this week. 

State Fair
KBIA

 

More than 366,000 people attended the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia this year, an increase of over 3 percent compared to last year.  

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has reversed course on a proposed rule change that would have cut food stamp eligibility for unemployed adults without children.

File Image / KBIA News

Conservation officials in Missouri want deer hunters to take precautions this fall in order to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD cases are so far limited to a containment zone in north central Missouri, with the state’s first documented case occurring three years ago.

Joe Jerek with the state Conservation Department said hunters should wear latex gloves when field-dressing a deer.

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