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.

Ways to Connect

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The start of December is the start of Missouri lawmakers pre-filing legislation for the 2017 legislative session.

One that has been controversial for some time is the effort to limit the power of labor unions by turning Missouri into a so-called right-to-work state. The effort in the House is being led by Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Since mid-March and throughout the summer, access to the Missouri Capitol has been limited because of restoration work on the building's south side, which is where most visitors enter.

But phase one of the $40 million project to restore the nearly century-old building is almost complete.

roast turkey
M.Rehemtulla | Flickr

A slight bit of relief is being touted for grocery shoppers preparing to cook Thanksgiving Day meals.

According to the Missouri Farm Bureau, the overall cost is down slightly this year to $50.46 for a gathering of 10 people, which averages out to about $5.05 a person. The estimated cost from 2015 was $51.92, or $5.19 a person.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing a challenge to a law that has changed rules for municipal courts, in particular banning judges from sending someone to jail for failure to pay a traffic fine.

It also lowered the amount of revenue local governments can get from traffic citations; it capped those revenues at 12.5 percent in St. Louis County and at 20 percent across the rest of Missouri.

uditor Nicole Galloway, D-Missouri, discusses findings of more than 300 Sunshine Law requests made to local governments across the state. )Nov. 15, 2016)
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Nicole Galloway on Tuesday released details of a test her office recently conducted on how cities, counties, water districts, fire protection districts and other governing bodies respond to Sunshine Law requests.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Of the four constitutional amendments passed by Missouri voters on Tuesday, rumblings have started about legal challenges to three of them.

File photo

Missouri’s battle to recoup lost tobacco settlement revenue is now being weighed by the state Supreme Court.

The Show-Me State’s share of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement reached between the tobacco industry and 46 states is roughly $130 million a year. In 2003, an additional partial settlement with 24 states was made, which Missouri was not a part of because it was found not to be diligent in policing smaller tobacco companies that did not sign onto the 1998 agreement. Those companies were found to be undercutting their prices to compete with larger companies that did sign the agreement.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

One year ago this week the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia was in turmoil.

University of Missouri System president Tim Wolfe abruptly announced his resignation Nov. 9 as his leadership and handling of issues of race were strongly criticized. Several hours later, R. Bowen Loftin said he would be leaving his post as chancellor of the system's Columbia campus to coordinate university research.

Hank Foley was then moved from research  work for the system and the Columbia campus to become interim chancellor at Mizzou..

Mun Y. Choi, who comes to Missouri from the University of Connecticut, comes nearly a year after his predecessor, Tim Wolfe stepped down after demands from students who led protests on the Columbia campus.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated Nov. 3 with salary details – Incoming University of Missouri System President Mun Choi will make more money than his two predecessors.

The university system released details of Choi's contract Thursday, which show he'll earn a base salary of $530,000 a year.  The contract period runs from March 1, 2017, through June 30, 2022.

An infrared photograph shows a water main leak in Webster Groves. Water utility companies photograph roads at night to determine which pipes may be in need of repair.
Missouri American Water | Provided

Updated Nov. 1 with court arguments – The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing whether state law still allows Missouri American Water to charge its St. Louis County customers an infrastructure surcharge.

The Public Service Commission agreed to allow Missouri American to charge the $3 a month fee, even though St. Louis County's population dropped below 1 million during the 2010 U.S. census. But the western district court of appeals overturned that decision in March.

The Indiana bat is on the endangered species list.
Provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is preparing to survey the bat population in the northern half of the state.

Tony Elliott is a resource scientist with the conservation department.  He said the survey will focus primarily on two species: the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat.

The candidates for lieutenant governor are Republican Mike Parson, left, and Democrat Russ Carnahan.
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in 12 years, someone besides Peter Kinder will be lieutenant governor of Missouri.

Kinder jumped into the governor's race and lost in a crowded Republican primary, coming in third in a contest won by Eric Greitens. The major party candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot are Democrat Russ Carnahan and Republican Mike Parson.

The major party candidates for secretary of state are Robin Smith, a Drmocrat, and Jay Ashcroft, a Republican.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

Missouri will have a new secretary of state in January, because incumbent Democrat Jason Kander is running for the U.S. Senate. Barring a third-party upset, his successor will be a Republican with a last name very familiar to Missourians, or a Democrat known mainly to St. Louis-area TV viewers. 

Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

Missouri lawmakers continue to follow reports of illegal spraying of crops in the Bootheel region.

So far, 124 complaints have been made of people using an outdated version of the herbicide dicamba. Investigators from the Missouri Department of Agriculture have been looking into the complaints over the past few months.

Mark Christeson
Missouri Department of Corrections

Missouri's execution clock is ticking again.

The state Supreme Court has set Jan. 31, 2017, as the new execution date for death row inmate Mark Christeson. The 24-hour execution window on that date will begin at 6 p.m.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Nearly 100 people demonstrated outside the Missouri Supreme Court shortly after two cases were argued seeking higher minimum wages in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing two cases, one from St. Louis and the other from Kansas City, seeking to allow higher minimum wages in each place.

At issue is a law enacted during last year's veto session that bars cities from enacting a minimum wage that's higher than that set by the federal or state government. House Bill 722 was passed in response to both cities seeking higher minimum wages, along with Columbia's efforts to ban plastic grocery bags.

The Missouri Capitol building.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10/28 – Public accusations of sexual assault made by one Missouri House nominee against another are now the subject of a lawsuit.

Steve Roberts Jr., who won the Democratic primary for the House's 77th District seat, filed suit Thursday against Cora Faith Walker, who won the House 74th District Democratic primary.  Walker has accused Roberts of drugging and sexually assaulting her during a visit to his apartment in August to discuss political matters.

Sara Parker Pauley
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

The Missouri Department of Conservation has found its new director, and didn't have to look far.

Sara Parker Pauley is moving to Conservation from the Department of Natural Resources. She was appointed to that position by Gov. Jay Nixon in December 2010.

File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 20 with high court ruling – Within the past 24 hours, the Missouri Supreme Court has taken actions guaranteeing that two disputed ballot initiatives will go before voters in November.

The most recent action came Tuesday afternoon, when the High Court unanimously ruled in favor of Amendment 3, which would raise Missouri's cigarette tax by as much as $1.27 a pack.  It would use the proceeds to fund early childhood education programs, and would bring in an estimated $300 million a year.

Cattle head to a barn.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

Owners of animals in Missouri that cause property damage are no longer liable unless negligence can be proven in court.

The new law took effect Wednesday when the House and Senate overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.  Senate Bill 844 was sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, who's also running for lieutenant governor.

Gov. Jay Nixon announces $57 million in temporary budget cuts one day after the legislature overrode vetoes of two tax break bills.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's current state budget is taking another hit.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that he's withholding $57.2 million from several state agencies and programs after lawmakers on Wednesday overrode vetoes he made on two tax breaks.

open carry walk photo and vote here sign
Camille Phillips and Rachel Heidenry | File Photos

Updated 11:30 p.m. -  The Missouri General Assembly has acted to ease restrictions on guns and add more requirements for voters.

That’s the upshot of Wednesday’s veto session, where lawmakers overrode most of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of various bills.

L-r: UM System Board of Curators chair Pam Hendrickson, UM System interim president Mike Middleton, Mizzou interim chancellor Hank Foley, and chief diversity officer Kevin McDonald.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The four current leaders of the University of Missouri System have announced new efforts to boost diversity on the system's flagship campus in Columbia.

They've set a goal to increase the percentage of minority faculty members at Mizzou to 13.4 percent in four years' time.

Demonstrators march to Missouri Capitol to call for a $15 and hour minimum wage
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Around 200 demonstrators were in Jefferson City Monday calling for Missouri to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage and other reforms to help the state's low income and minority communities.

Most of them traveled by bus on Monday from Kansas City, and once they arrived marched into the State Capitol and staged a rally. One of the leaders was Rodney Williams, a Kansas City pastor who's also one of the so-called Medicaid 23 who was arrested two years ago for demonstrating in the Missouri Senate visitors gallery.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon's preparation for the annual veto session included telling reporters Wednesday why several of the vetoed bills should remain dead.

He spent time discussing bills that have gotten less publicity, which includes HB 1870. It contains language that would allow some businesses to ignore the federal E-Verify program if using it would "result in a substantial difficulty or expense.

Erin Williams | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Anyone in St. Louis, Kansas City, or any other urban area in Missouri who wants to plant rooftop gardens or fruit trees can get financial help from the state.

The Department of Agriculture is providing matching grants of up to $7,500 for urban and non-traditional agriculture projects. A total of $100,000 is available for the current fiscal year, and higher priority will be given to projects that create jobs and "demonstrate an economic benefit and potential for sustainable revenue generation."

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

So far, Missouri voters will decide six ballot questions this fall. The deadline for issues to be certified for the Nov. 8 ballot was Aug. 30.

That number could rise to seven if a judge rules to validate about 2,200 more signatures gathered for a proposal to allow the medical use of marijuana.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Aug. 28 means  that most of Missouri's new laws passed earlier this year are now in effect.

They include House Bill 1568, which allows anyone to buy naloxone without a prescription, which can then be administered to someone suffering an overdose from heroin or a prescription opioid.  It was sponsored by Rep. Steve Lynch of Pulaski County.

Gov. Jay Nixon defends several vetoes in anticipation of the legislature's attempts to override them. at state fair, aug 18 2016
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon is speaking out against plans by lawmakers to override several vetoes he made earlier this year.

He told reporters Thursday at the Missouri State Fair that tax breaks sought by GOP leaders could deprive the state of much-needed revenue.

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