Marshall Griffin

Statehouse Reporter

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!).  He 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 an 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 Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.

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Jason Kander speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party's annual dinner, the Truman Dinner, at Busch Stadium.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Secretary of State Jason Kander has, for now, decided not to disqualify a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise Missouri's cigarette tax.

The proposal would gradually raise the tax by 60 cents a pack by the year 2020, and by as much as $1.27 on some packs.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

The commission created by Republican lawmakers to review the University of Missouri System is about to hold its first meeting.

The commission was created by GOP leaders following last fall's unrest on the system's main campus in Columbia. Protests centered on accusations that university officials, in particular former UM System president Tim Wolfe, were ignoring a series of racial incidents.

Emanuele Berry|St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation updating Missouri law regarding when police can use deadly force has been signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

House Bill 2332 brings Missouri's use of force statute in line with the U.S. Supreme Court. In Tennessee v. Garner in 1985, the nation's highest court ruled that a law enforcement officer cannot use deadly force against a fleeing suspect unless he or she has "probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

A new law signed by Gov. Jay Nixon last week will make it easier for county law enforcement agencies in Missouri to assist one another in an emergency.

House Bill 1936 removes language in state law that only allowed a county sheriff's office to lend immediate assistance to a bordering county. Cole County Sheriff Greg White says the new law will reduce red tape.

s_falkow | Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a wide-ranging bill into law that contains language limiting the release of video recorded by police cameras.

Senate Bill 732 mandates that video recorded by cameras mounted on police cars or any other device carried by an officer, including body cameras, to be a closed record under Missouri's open records law.  It will also remain a closed record until the investigation becomes inactive.

Voting booths
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Legislation that would have required Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls has been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

"(House Bill 1631) is such an affront to Missourians' fundamental right to vote that it requires that our Constitution be amended for its voter suppression provisions to become effective," Nixon said in his veto letter. "Making voting more difficult for qualified voters and disenfranchising certain classes of people is wrong. I will (also) oppose the constitutional amendment in November."

Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Missouri's new state budget is $115 million lighter, after Gov. Jay Nixon announced temporary cuts to 131 programs and state agencies.

He told reporters Wednesday it was necessary because state revenues are not growing as fast as projected.

Rolanda Robinson (right) and a friend grill hot dogs for protesters on August 20 in Ferguson.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Missourians will spend a bit more money to cook out this Fourth of July holiday than they did last year, but it's still less than the national average, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau.

In general, a cookout in the Show-Me State costs $50.50, which is 61 cents more than it cost a year ago. Diane Olson, director of promotion and education programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, says the national average comes in at $56.06.

This blowup hit Highway 54 in Callaway County during June's heat wave.
Provided by Missouri Department of Transportation

The recent heat wave has damaged several highways across Missouri, especially in the central part of the state.

At least a dozen incidents of buckling concrete, sometimes called "blow-ups," were called in to MoDOT during the recent heat wave. It occurs when the surface of a road expands at a crack or joint where water has seeped in.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

It was a busy day for Gov. Jay Nixon, as his final year in office heads toward the halfway point.

He told reporters Tuesday that he signed seven more bills into law while vetoing eight others. Several of those approved and shot down are composed of tax breaks.

He specifically singled out three bills for criticism Tuesday: SB 641, HB 2030, and SB 1025.

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

Updated 3:14 p.m. with reaction -- Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a wide-ranging bill that would have eased regulations on people seeking to obtain or renew a conceal-carry endorsement or permit.

Nixon cited one of his main concerns with Senate Bill 656 when he told reporters last week that it could rob county sheriffs of the authority to deny conceal-carry privileges when they see fit. He expanded on that concern in his veto message today.

/ Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A handful of agriculture-related bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year have been signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Senate Bill 665 renews the Qualified Beef Tax Credit through December 2021 and caps the incentive at $2 million per calendar year.  The size of the tax break will become larger for cattle weighing 600 pounds or more; it's set to increase to 25 cents per pound. For cattle weighing less than 600 pounds the tax credit will remain at 10 cents a pound.

Rear view of the new Energy Control Center (ECC) and Services Facility at Fulton State Hospital.  Solar panels cover portions of the roof.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to rebuild Fulton State Hospital have reached a "milestone," in the words of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The first new building in the reconstruction project is complete and expected to become fully operational next month. The Energy Control Center and Services Building will house several functions, including the emergency command post, power supply, computer services, maintenance and food preparation for patients.

(via Flickr/cayoup)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a wide-ranging education bill that includes an expansion of the A+ scholarship program.

Senate Bill 638 will allow private schools in Missouri to take part in the program if they meet the same requirements as public high schools. Students from A+ schools are eligible to attend community college in Missouri for two years, free of charge.

A $40 million restoration project is underway at the Missouri Capitol. Phase One, on the south side of the building, is scheduled to be finished by mid-December.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's state Capitol is open for business and tourists, though it may not look like it right now.

Major renovations have been going on for months and will continue through the rest of this year. 

Michael Velardo | Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed into law legislation to expand access to medication to combat some drug overdoses. 

Naloxone hydrochloride, also known by the brand name Narcan, has been approved by the FDA for use to block overdoses from opioids, which include heroin and prescription drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation requiring high school students in Missouri to receive basic CPR training before graduating.

Senate Bill 711 doesn't require students to become CPR certified, but it does require them to attend a 30-minute presentation on how to perform hands-only CPR, along with the Heimlich maneuver "or other first aid for choking."

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

The final audit has begun in a series of cyber security checks of five of Missouri's K-12 school districts.

Orchard Farm in St. Charles County is the fifth school district getting this type of review.It began this week, so there is no information yet on any findings or issues.

Gov. Jay Nixon's criticism of the legislature was relatively low key. 5.15.15
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday signed several bills into law, including one designed to prevent identity theft.

Senate Bill 624 makes it a class A misdemeanor to possess stolen credit card information or devises, even if the info or devise has not been used after being stolen.

Dan Mehan of the Missouri Chamber testifies against the proposed constitutional amendment, saying it would have a negative economic impact on Missouri.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Legislation designed to expand the number of employee-owned businesses in Missouri is awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon's signature.

House Bill 2030 would give business owners a 50 percent tax deduction if their companies are at least 30 percent employee owned. It was sponsored by House Speaker Pro-tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

Missouri Department of Transportation | Flickr

Missouri's transportation system appears to have taken one step forward and one step back in the aftermath of this year's legislative session. It didn't get any increase in the fuel tax, but a cost-sharing program was revived.

Rachel Johns, a Democrat from St. Louis, is a candidate for the 76th Missouri House District.
Friends of Rachel Johns for Missouri|Facebook

Updated 4:10 p.m. May 20 with verdict - The day after it heard arguments, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck a candidate for a Missouri House seat from the ballot.

Rachel Johns had alleged that the requirement that a candidate be a registered for two years before the election violated equal protection rights, and she said she was exercising her First Amendment right to protest by not registering earlier. A split court decided against her. Her attorney says he will ask for a rehearing and, barring that, will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Updated at 2:20 a.m. with override failure - A photo ID proposal will definitely be on the ballot, and it will be up to Gov. Jay Nixon to decide if more cold beer is on the way.

But the surprising news actually came early Friday morning: The Senate failed to override Nixon's veto of the paycheck protection or — depending on your position on the measure — the deception bill.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri voters will likely decide later this year whether to amend the state’s Constitution so that the General Assembly can require that all voters show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The state House is expected to take final action today on the ballot proposal, called SJR53, after the Senate passed it late Wednesday by a vote of 24-8.  House approval is expected.

Gov. Jay Nixon has no voice in the proposed constitutional amendment, other than deciding whether it goes on the August or November statewide ballot.

Missouri Dept. of Corrections

Updated 11:15 p.m. - Missouri has carried out its first execution of the year.

Earl Forrest was put to death by lethal injection at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. The execution began at 7:10 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m., according to a brief statement from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

With only three days to go, a few bigger issues have been moving in the Missouri General Assembly, while everyone waits to see whether the Senate will soon come to a screeching halt.

First, the so-called "sequel" to last year's municipal reform bill is one vote away from being sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Barring another sex scandal, the Missouri General Assembly could be facing a low-key final week.

The thinner-than-usual final schedule reflects, in part, legislators' success this year — and last — in passing the state's bloc of budget bills early. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was required to approve or veto by last Friday the state's planned spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. He only used his line-item veto on two items on Friday; lawmakers overrode last week his earlier veto of their new school-funding formula.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The rest of Missouri's budget for the next fiscal year has been signed into law.

Last week, Gov. Jay Nixon signed the budget bill for the Department of Higher Education into law, and on Thursday he signed into law the budget bill for the departments of Mental Health and Health and Senior Services. On Friday, he sign the remaining budget bills into law.

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant so-called "personhood" status to unborn fetuses at every stage of development.

House Joint Resolution 98, if added to the state constitution, would extend the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to the unborn.  It's sponsored by representative Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove.

The Missouri House in session on March 17, 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

House members, on Wednesday, overturned Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of House Bill 1891, the so-called paycheck protection bill, which would bar public employee labor unions from withholding dues from workers’ checks without their written permission.

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