Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

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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Bram Sable-Smith I KBIA

Efforts to get Missouri to comply with the 2005 federal REAL ID law will resume once state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for the final 7 weeks of the session.

Identical bills in the House and Senate, HB 151 and SB 37/224, would allow the state to issue  driver’s licenses that comply with REAL ID standards while continuing to issue ones that don’t. Backers say allowing both types will respect the privacy rights of a Missouri driver who doesn’t want to share any particular personal data with the federal government as a result of having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers wrapped up the first half of the 2017 legislative session having achieved the session's top priority: making Missouri a right-to-work state.

Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, signed Senate Bill 19 into law last month. It bars labor unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues and fees as a condition for employment.

A group of transgender students protest against Senate Bill 98 on Wed., March 15, 2017, in front of a men's room on the third floor of the Missouri Capitol.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A small group of transgender students, along with their supporters, gathered at the Missouri Capitol on Wednesday to lobby against the so-called “bathroom bill” that’s currently awaiting a vote from a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 98 would require K-12 public school students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth. It would also require school districts to provide alternate facilities for students who want to use ones that correspond to the gender they identify with.

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 16, 2017 -- The Missouri House has passed legislation to expand charter schools beyond St. Louis and Kansas City.

The House proposal (HB 634) would allow charter schools to operate in Class 1 counties only. That includes more heavily populated areas such as Springfield and Columbia, in addition to St. Charles and St. Louis counties and Clay and Platte counties.

Eric Greitens via Twitter

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issued an executive order on Monday that gives some state workers a maximum of six weeks of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

The news came in a short video posted on Twitter and Facebook that also featured his wife, Sheena Greitens, and their 9-month-old son, Jacob.

Tim Bommel|Missouri House Communications

Placing more restrictions and limiting access to abortion in Missouri remains a high priority for Republican leaders in the Missouri General Assembly, although the issue has taken a bit of a back seat lately to getting right-to-work passed and other workplace and labor issue.

That may be about to change.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

A scaled-back version of a bill that targets crimes committed by people who are in the U.S. illegally is now in the hands of the Missouri House, after the Senate passed it 27-6 on Thursday.

The new version of Senate Bill 34 makes it a Class C felony for someone who had been deported to illegally re-enter the U.S., come to Missouri and commit “any dangerous felony,” such as manslaughter or rape. But the Senate removed language that required local jailers to turn suspects over to federal immigration authorities as soon as possible.

Missouri House members debate legislation to undo St. Louis' minimum wage law on March 9, 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is OK with St. Louis raising its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Missouri lawmakers are a different story.

The House passed combined House bills 1194/1193 that would block St. Louis, Kansas City and other cities from boosting the minimum wage above the state’s, which is currently $7.70 an hour. That wage is adjusted for inflation every Jan. 1.

Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8 p.m. with Senate giving first approval to immigration bill — Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Missouri have more on their minds than the revised executive order President Donald Trump put out this week suspending the U.S. refugee program indefinitely.

They also have to monitor the Missouri legislature, which is considering at least one bill that advocates say would make life more uncertain for immigrants and refugees. That’s why roughly 60 people traveled from St. Louis and Kansas City to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, of St. Joseph, sponsored the Senate drug monitoring bill.
Courtesy of Harrison Sweazea, Missouri Senate Communications

Technically speaking, Missouri is closer to setting up a statewide prescription drug monitoring program with the state Senate passing a bill Thursday.

Realistically, however, Missouri won't be joining the rest of the United States in setting up such a program this year unless the two chambers agree to allow doctors and other health professionals to access a patient’s prescription records.

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

The Missouri Senate passed a bill along party lines Thursday that would make it harder for employees to prove discrimination when fired from a job.

Under Senate Bill 43, an employee has to prove "race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, or age" was the main reason for dismissal, not just a contributing factor. The measure now goes to the House.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush visits the Missouri Capitol. (March 2, 2017)
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Missouri lawmakers on Thursday that expanding charter schools is a way to help students improve their performance.

His visit comes as Missouri lawmakers will consider allowing charter schools beyond St. Louis and Kansas City this session. Gov. Eric Greitens is a backer of school choice.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters Thursday, March 2, 2017, as part of the annual Missouri Press Association/Associated Press Day at the Capitol.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ relationship with the media has had its ups and downs.

Greitens has willingly answered questions from reporters, provided that those questions directly correspond with the topic of the news conference, and has agreed on a few occasions to exclusive interviews. He generally announces things directly to the public on Facebook and Twitter videos, seldom disseminating it to reporters ahead of time.

Randall Williams appears before the Missouri Senate committee on Gubernatorial Appointments on March 1, 2017.
Marshall Griffin |St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens' nominee to run the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services faced some tough questions Wednesday about his previous job in North Carolina. 

Randall Williams was North Carolina's public health director for about a year and a half. Officials had said that hundreds of wells near Duke Energy power plants were deemed to be contaminated by what's left over when coal is burned. Williams, however, reversed a written warning to the well owners about those toxins. 

 

Senator Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis County, asked Williams why he did that.

A sign shows support of transgender students at the St. Louis LGBT rally. ( Feb. 25, 2017)
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

It appears Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders may be hesitating over whether to allow the so-called “bathroom bill” to move forward in its current form, though the measure’s sponsor says that isn’t the case. 

Senate Bill 98 would require transgender students at K-12 public schools to use restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities that correspond to their gender at birth. Schools could designate alternate facilities for transgender students, but if those students choose to use other facilities, it would have to be for their gender at birth.

Missouri's chief public defender, Michael Barrett (right), appears before the House Budget Committee on Monday, Feb. 27, 2071.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of Missouri's Office of the State Public Defender has been seeking more money for years, to no avail. Now, he says it's crucial: Outposts around the state may have to close, including the division that handles death penalty cases.

For the coming fiscal year, Michael Barrett asked for $67 million — a $27 million increase over the current state allocation of $41 million. But Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed budget only allots $40 million for next year, a million less.

Missouri Soybean Association via Facebook

Updated March 13, 2017 – Legislators have strengthened a bill designed to curb misuse of herbicides in Missouri.

House Bill 662 easily passed the Missouri House last month. Originally, the bill would have allowed the state Department of Agriculture to issue fines of up to $1,000 an acre for first-time offenses and up to $2,000 an acre for repeat offenders. But on Monday, a Senate committee boosted the fines to $10,000 per violation before passing it unanimously.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers his first State of the State address last week in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

While Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is still seeking to cut funding to a Medicaid program and K-12 school transportation, the size of those proposed cuts are smaller, thanks to an extra $52 million.

A Missouri House subcommittee is investigating claims of harassment and retaliation at the state Department of Corrections. Photo taken in mid-February 2017.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A longtime Missouri Department of Corrections employee says the agency is rampant with nepotism and fraternization.

Travis Case, who works at the northeast Missouri correctional facility at Bowling Green, testified Thursday in front of the Missouri House subcommittee on Corrections, Workforce Environment and Conduct. That panel is investigating allegations of harassment and retaliation against department employees by supervisors and coworkers.

Project 404 / Creative Commons

Updated at 2:15 p.m. Feb. 23 — The debate over which bathrooms transgender students can use has come to Missouri.

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on Senate Bill 98, which would require students at K-12 public schools throughout the state to use restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities that correspond to their "biological sex."

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri facing slower income growth, Gov. Eric Greitens isn’t sparing the state’s Department of Agriculture from proposed budget cuts. 

The agency will receive about $14 million dollars less in the coming fiscal year, which new agriculture director Chris Chinn says is more like "belt tightening." But she made it clear that farmers and ranchers will receive the same level of services they currently see.

Greitens' Cabinet appointees shown clockwise from top left: Sarah Steelman, Chris Chinn, Anne Precythe, Carol Comer, Joel Walters, Chlora Lindley-Myers, Randall Williams, Charles "Drew" Juden
Credits listed clockwise from top left / Jason Rosenbaum; Dept. of Agriculture; Tim Bommel, House Communications; Office of Gov. Eric Greitens; Linkedin; City of Sikeston

With new administrations come new agency directors, and it’s up to the governor to choose those people. Nearly half of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ Cabinet positions have been approved by the Missouri Senate, while three still must be vetted.

Plus, appointees of former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, still run three state agencies, meaning Greitens still has some work to do. Here’s a who’s who behind the major state agencies:

Planned Parenthood supporters march silently past the organization's Central West End clinic as anti-abortion activists pray the Rosary Feb. 11, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Charles County lawmaker seeks to reverse a new ordinance in neighboring St. Louis that bars employers and landlords from discriminating against women who are pregnant, use contraception or have had an abortion. 

House Bill 989 was filed late Tuesday by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters. He said in a written statement that it's a direct response to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signing of the so-called "sanctuary city" measure into law, which took effect last week.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Jay Nixon received a nice parting gift from the Department of Natural Resources a few days before stepping down as governor: a new state park that bears his name.

But Jay Nixon State Park may soon have a new name if Republican lawmakers have their way.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House is considering a bill that would make it harder to prove discrimination when someone is fired from work.

Under the measure, an employee would have to prove his or her race or gender was the main factor for dismissal. That’s a shift from the current law, which says an employee only has to prove race or gender contributed to his or her dismissal.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The new director of the Missouri Department of Corrections is promising "a new day," "a new direction" and "a new culture" for an agency that’s been plagued by allegations of harassment and retaliation.

Anne Precythe is the former Corrections director for North Carolina, and was tabbed by Governor Eric Greitens to replace George Lombardi. Precythe's appointment was confirmed Thursday by the State Senate.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers his first State of the State address last week in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has reversed about 60 interim appointments that ex-Gov. Jay Nixon made to numerous state boards and commissions.

Officials say the about-face is pretty much business as usual and not terribly disruptive.

Gov. Eric Greitens signs legislation making Missouri the 28th right-to-work state at a ceremony Monday in Springfield. (Feb. 6, 2016)
Scott Harvey | KSMU

Gov. Eric Greitens took a road trip Monday in celebration of making Missouri the nation's 28th right-to-work state.

The Republican signed Senate Bill 19, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues, at three ceremonies. The first one was in Springfield at an abandoned warehouse before a small crowd of supporters.

Mo. Dept. of Corrections

Updated Jan. 31, 9:34 p.m. - The state of Missouri has carried out its first execution since May of 2016.

According to a statement from the Department of Corrections, Mark Christeson's lethal injection began at 6:57 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't that long ago that Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate were deeply divided and nearly at each other's throats over tax credits.

In 2011, an entire special legislative session was devoted to approving a wide-ranging tax credit bill that centered around incentives designed to transform Lambert-St. Louis International Airport into an international cargo hub. But differing opinions over the role of tax breaks and concerns that they were getting out of hand sabotaged the special session, and there have been no major attempts since then to give the system a makeover.

Enter Gov. Eric Greitens in 2017.

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