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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The contents of a time capsule sealed inside the Missouri Capitol are seeing the light of day for the first time in 100 years. The copper box was removed last week from the southeast cornerstone of the Capitol building, where it had sat since June 24, 1915.

Updated 6/10/2015, 12:58 a.m. -- Richard Strong has been executed, less than an hour after Gov. Jay Nixon denied a clemency request and the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay.

Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O'Connell says that Strong's execution via lethal injection began at 6:49 p.m. and that he was pronounced dead at 6:58 p.m.  The execution took place at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre.

Missouri's minimum wage could rise to $9 an hour, and rise by an additional dollar an hour per year, under a proposed constitutional amendment.

Three different versions of the proposal have been approved for circulation as petition initiatives, one of which would gradually raise Missouri's minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2023.  The second version would gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, while the third version would raise it to $11 by the year 2019.

An investigation by the Missouri Senate and the University of Central Missouri appears to be underway into whether there was inappropriate treatment of another Missouri legislative intern, although there has been no official confirmation.

Approximately 80 home health care workers demonstrated outside Gov. Jay Nixon's office Wednesday, demanding that he sign off on an agreement that could lead to their getting higher wages.

Missouri Senate leaders are hoping to find a way to pass a critical medical funding bill, despite the chamber being all but shut down.

Updated 6:14 p.m. May 7 with comments from Gov. Jay Nixon and House Speaker John Diehl - Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon the first bill of the 2015 legislative session that deals with the fallout from last year’s unrest in Ferguson.  The House passed Senate Bill 5 today, 134-25, after the Senate overwhelmingly approved it Wednesday night.

stephenconn / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers sent Governor Jay Nixon the first bill of the 2015 session that deals with the fallout from last year’s unrest in Ferguson. 

Updated 5 p.m., Wed., May 6 -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had harsh words for the General Assembly’s action to override his veto of a bill that shortens the period for low-income families to receive welfare benefits. The bill also imposes new work requirements.

During a stop in St. Louis, the governor said he didn't object to changing the work requirements. But he did object to the way it was done, which his administration says will result in about 6,500 children getting knocked off the state's welfare rolls.

"You don't move the state forward by taking benefits away from 6,500 kids,'' Nixon said. He explained that there were ways, such as a "protected payee program" that would have penalized the parents, but not the children.

"What did a 5-year-old do wrong?" he asked. "There were a lot of ways where kids didn't have to suffer here."

(Updated 4/28/2015, 11:58 a.m.)

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway has named her new senior staff.

In a press release issued Tuesday, she named John Luetkemeyer as Deputy State Auditor and Michael Moorefield as Chief of Staff.

Luetkemeyer has been with the Missouri Auditor's office since 1981.  He was promoted to executive staff in 2008 under former Auditor Susan Montee, a Democrat, and also served as Director of State Audits under Tom Schweich, a Republican.

With three weeks left in the 2015 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers have passed all 13 bills that make up the state's $26 billion spending plan for Fiscal 2016, which begins July 1.

A Missouri House committee has passed a revised version of a bill to further limit how much revenue from traffic fines cities and towns can use in their budgets.

With less than a month left in the 2015 session, Missouri lawmakers could debate and pass some of the year's top priorities this week.

Legislation that would reduce lifetime eligibility for most welfare recipients in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

An earlier version of the bill would have cut lifetime eligibility for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, in half, from 5 years to two and 1/2.  But a compromise between the House and Senate reduces that period to 3 years and 9 months.

Legislation designed to aid some delinquent taxpayers in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed HB 384, the "tax amnesty" bill, which would allow people behind on their state income taxes to pay them off without additional penalties or interest.

The Missouri House on Tuesday passed the same ethics reform bill passed two months ago by the Senate, but not before making a few changes.

An audit released Thursday takes issue with some spending decisions made by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

An audit released Tuesday finds that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office has not instituted a policy to guard against conflicts of interest. In response, Koster noted that his campaign organization had instituted changes following earlier news reports about possible conflicts.

Missouri lawmakers are heading home as their annual spring break has arrived, but they took time before leaving to tout their mid-term accomplishments.

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Republican house members are calling the first half of Missouri’s 2015 legislative session a success as they leave the Capitol for their annual spring break. House Speaker John Diehl praised the House for passing the state budget three weeks earlier than usual, and listed the passage of right-to-work, a student transfer fix, medical malpractice, and photo voter ID as the house’s main accomplishments.   Jake Hummel, the top Democrat in the House, however slammed GOP leaders for not expanding Medicaid.

The length of time a Missourian could receive welfare benefits would be cut in half, if legislation passed by the Missouri House becomes law.

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Some Republican state lawmakers are demanding that John Hancock resign as GOP party chairman, even as Hancock continues to deny that he was behind an alleged anti-Semitic whispering campaign targeted at state auditor Tom Schweich. Senator David Pearce of Warrensburg says the problem is part of a, quote, “systemic issue” in the state’s GOP.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon has sketched out what he calls "clear areas for improvement" in Missouri’s municipal court system in the wake of the U.S. Justice Department’s blistering report on the police and city courts in Ferguson. So far Nixon is focusing primarily on beefing up the 1995 Mack’s Creek law.

In an address to the Missouri Bar on Friday, March 6, Nixon described the court systems of Ferguson and other towns that use police and courts to generate revenue as having gone awry.

Missouri Capitol
David Shane / Flickr

The Missouri House or Senate will not consider any new bills to address concerns by the U.S. Justice Department over the operations of the Ferguson Police Department.  That’s because it’s now too late to file any new legislation this year.  Senate President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey says a few already-filed Ferguson-related bills are being worked on.

“You’ll see some debate on the floor and some other issues associated with the aftermath of Ferguson,” Dempsey said.

Within minutes of the news of Auditor Tom Schweich's death, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered all flags on Missouri property lowered to half-staff.

But the governor will soon have a much bigger decision to make: who to appoint as Schweich's successor.

Missouri law seems to suggest that a decision must be made rapidly:

missouri house floor
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.

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