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 chair of a Missouri House committee looking at ways to downsize state government says they've handed off their findings to the Speaker's office.

A state-run nonprofit corporation needs to improve its transparency, according to an audit released Thursday.

Marshall Griffin- / St. Louis Public Radio

Two days of hearings are underway by an interim House committee looking into how well state agencies in Missouri are delivering services to their clients.

The hearings began with a critique of the Missouri Department of Social Services.  Dan Amsden with the group Spending Oversight Council testified that DSS officials are doing a poor job of preventing non-eligible people from receiving welfare benefits, and of tracking those who no longer need them.

Two days of hearings are underway by an interim House committee looking into how well state agencies in Missouri are delivering services to their clients.

The Missouri Public Service Commission has given the go-ahead for St. Louis-based Laclede Gas to purchase Missouri Gas Energy.

Commission members placed a major condition on the purchase – Laclede Gas is barred from seeking a rate increase in its current service area until October of 2015.  Laclede spokeswoman Jessica Willingham says, though, they would be allowed to seek an increase in the areas currently served by Missouri Gas once the purchase becomes official.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's record number of vetoes this year is expected to set up a very busy and hard-fought veto session this September.

According to the Associated Press, the Democratic Governor struck down 29 of the 145 non-budgetary bills sent to him by the Republican-dominated House and Senate.  Dave Robertson is a political science professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

  Missouri’s state budget for the fiscal year that begins Monday has been signed into law, but Gov. Jay Nixon also announced that he will withhold more than 400 million dollars in funding for several state needs.  He told reporters Friday that the tentative cuts would become permanent if Republican lawmakers override his veto of their tax cut bill.  Budget Director Linda Luebbering says Nixon's cuts includes cancelling pay raises for state workers as well as eliminating state jobs.

Judge Mary Russell is set to become Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court next week.

The Hannibal native has sat on the state's highest court since 2004, and previously served on the Appeals court for Missouri's Eastern District.  Russell lists the expansion of specialty courts as one of her top priorities for her two-year term.

One day after a Missouri House committee issued subpoenas to several members of Governor Jay Nixon's (D) administration, a Cole County judge has issued a preliminary order blocking the subpoenas.

Updated 4:38 p.m.

A Missouri House committee formed to investigate the Department of Revenue’s scanning of driver’s license applicants’ documents has begun two days of hearings into the controversy.

Photo courtesy of the Missouri Auditor's Office

 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is getting mixed reviews in an audit released Tuesday.  The law enforcement agency is being criticized for spending 5-point-6 million dollars on a new airplane.

Lawsuits filed by the Missouri Attorney General's office against three companies that provide phone services have been settled, and their customers in Missouri will receive nearly $300,000 in refunds.

The companies were accused of engaging in a practice called "cramming."  Joe Bindbeutel, chief of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, says cramming occurs when a phone company levies unauthorized charges onto its customers' monthly bills.

File / KBIA

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones formally announced the creation yesterday of two interim committees that will look at ways to reform the state’s Medicaid system. 

One committee will have House members and selected citizens team up to research ways to improve Medicaid.  They will then hand off their findings to the other committee, which will make recommendations for next year’s legislative session.  Jones said they’re taking a thorough approach to fixing a broken system.

Members of Missouri and Illinois' Congressional delegations are weighing in on the U.S. House version of the Farm Bill, which could be voted on before week's end.

Illinois Republican Rodney Davis told reporters today via conference call that the bill is a big improvement over the version passed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says Boeing will expand its operations in St. Louis County.

The Governor made the announcement during a trade mission in Western Europe.  He told reporters via conference call that Boeing will add a new technology information center to its campus in St. Louis County.  Both Nixon and Boeing officials were in attendance this week at the International Paris Air Show in France.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has created another interim committee, this time to examine how well state agencies respond to citizens who use their services.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) Wednesday signed eight bills into law that were passed this year by Missouri lawmakers.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon continues to speak out against the tax cut bill he vetoed last week, in the hopes that any override attempt this fall will fail.  

The management of an early childhood fund by the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) has received a "poor" rating in a state audit released Monday.

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) said the Early Childhood Development, Education and Care Fund provided more than $170,000 to three child care facilities that failed to open or expand their facilities as planned.

File Photo / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers will continue working on several issues after last month’s end of the 2013 regular session.  House Speaker Tim Jones has announced the formation of an interim committee to examine the state’s election laws.  It’s being chaired by fellow Republican Sue Entlicher, who formerly served as Clerk of Polk County:

“We’re looking for anything to keep the statutes up to date and not repeat anything…then also we’re going to comprise, hopefully, a plan to take care of any of the voting machines that need to be updated or need to be replaced,” Entlicher said. 

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Some Republican lawmakers are vowing to try to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill that reduced income taxes. Shortly after the Democratic governor rejected the bill today, the leading sponsors of the legislation said they would attempt to get the two-thirds vote needed to override his veto when the Legislature convenes in September.

Republicans hold enough seats in the House in Senate to override Nixon’s veto without any Democratic support. They would have to hold all of the GOP members together in the House and could afford to have only one Republican defect in the Senate.

Revenue collections in Missouri slowed a bit last month, but continued their overall upward trend.

From July of 2012 through the end of May, the state took in $7.3 billion in revenues, an increase of 10.4 percent from May of 2012.  The year-to-date increase from April of this year, though, was 11.2 percent.  Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering blames it on a drop in sales tax collections.

"People are still a little bit concerned about spending a lot of money, given the economy and the uncertainty at the national level," Luebbering said.

A Missouri lawmaker who threatened to resign unless one or both of his key bills survived the last day of the 2013 legislative session is staying put, even though both bills failed to make it out by Friday's deadline.

Alan Freeman is stepping down as Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services, after only five months on the job.

Last December, Freeman left his job as President and CEO of Grace Hill Health Centers in St. Louis to take over the state's Social Services department.  A press release from Governor Nixon's office states that Freeman is leaving to return to his former position at Grace Hill.  No reason was given for the decision.

Missouri's legislative session has ended, with several issues resolved and several more that came up just short.  St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at the final day, and at what happens now:

2013 Mo. legislative session ends

A few that didn't make it, and a few that did

Legislation that would revive Missouri's ailing Second Injury Fund and seek to reduce the number of occupational disease lawsuits was passed Thursday by the Missouri House.  It had already passed the Missouri Senate during pre-dawn hours on Wednesday.

One of two bills that would limit punitive damages in lead contamination cases is on its way to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Legislation to redefine the relationship between liquor distributors, wholesalers and retailers has stalled in the Missouri Senate.

A group of Republicans in the Missouri Senate has blocked a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a one-cent sales tax to help fund the state’s transportation needs.

Early this morning, the Missouri Senate passed legislation that would fix the state's ailing Second Injury Fund.

The fund is designed to help disabled workers who suffer a second work-related injury.  It began running out of money after lawmakers eight years ago capped the surcharge businesses have to pay into it.  Senate Bill 1, sponsored by State Senator Scott Rupp (R, Wentzville), would temporarily increase the surcharge.

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