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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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.

Gov. Jay Nixon addresses the crowd at the annual Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair on Aug. 18.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Jay Nixon made the most of his final appearance as governor at the Missouri State Fair.

During his annual Governor's Ham Breakfast Thursday, he bragged on Missouri's corn production, telling the 1,000-plus crowd that it led the nation in 2014.

Protesters disrupt the Missouri Senate on May 6, 2016.
Courtesy, Missouri Senate

It's a split decision in the trial of the so-called "Medicaid 23," a group of religious leaders who staged a protest in the Missouri Senate more than two years ago over lawmakers' refusal to expand Medicaid.

Twenty-two members of the group were found guilty of trespassing for not leaving the Senate gallery when ordered to do so by Capitol police. But they were found not guilty of obstructing the operations of the Senate. The case of one other member will be decided later.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway found the online records system used by Missouri courts gives those with administrative privileges the ability to see users' passwords.
Angus Kingston | Flickr

A state audit released Wednesday finds that court records in Missouri are not being thoroughly shielded from hackers and other unauthorized users.

The audit identifies potential weaknesses in the Judicial Information System, which is operated by the Office of State Courts Administrator.  The system is used to store case files, information on convictions and sentencing and financial records.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson speaks at a news conference on Tuesday in favor of a tobacco tax increase for early childhood education and health care.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians could weigh in this fall on four ballot initiatives that Secretary of State Jason Kander certified on Tuesday. But the tally of items could potentially constrict, depending on what courts decide in the coming weeks.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

An audit of the Missouri Department of Higher Education takes issue with a now-defunct loan program it still oversees.

The Advantage Missouri program paid out a total of $8 million in student loans from 1998 to 2005. The audit finds that $5.2 million of those $8 million have still not been repaid.

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster became the first Democrat endorsed by the Missouri Farm Bureau for a statewide office.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time ever, Missouri Farm Bureau members have endorsed a Democrat for statewide office.

Gathered at Farm Bureau headquarters in Jefferson City, they chose Chris Koster for governor over Republican nominee Eric Greitens. The endorsement was based largely on Koster's record on agriculture during both his time as attorney general and as state senator.

Mo. Dept. of Corrections

Ernest Lee Johnson came within minutes of being executed last November when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay.

He challenged Missouri's use of pentobarbital, saying it could cause severe pain because he still has a brain tumor, even though most of it was removed during surgery eight years ago.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A group that advocates for low-income Missourians is warning that a drop in revenues two months ago could get worse unless lawmakers take action next year.

Amy Blouin is executive director of the Missouri Budget Project.  She says revenue is currently projected to grow at only 4.1 percent, meaning that the state is facing a budget shortfall of $216 million.

Echo Bluff State Park
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Echo Bluff State Park is officially open.

Gov. Jay Nixon cut the ribbon Saturday on Missouri's newest park, which is being promoted as a hub from which visitors can explore the state's Ozark region.

The primary election is Tuesday.
File photos

(Updated with Greitens' rally and new Koster donation) Missouri’s four-way Republican battle for governor is getting roiled with last-minute attacks ads and fliers by outside groups – including one with Democratic ties.

According to the online news site Politico, a group called “Jobs and Opportunity" is launching a barrage of TV ads over the weekend that attack Eric Greitens, an author and former Navy SEAL who is the best-funded of the four GOP candidates. 

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Gaming Commission is preparing to oversee daily fantasy sports websites under a new law passed this year.  

House Bill 1941, signed last month by Gov. Jay Nixon, takes effect Aug. 28, but its provisions still have to go through a public comment period before they become permanent next spring. 

File photo

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

The United Soybean Board | Flickr

Missouri agriculture officials are looking into widespread misuse of pesticides in in the Bootheel region.

Judy Grundler is division director for plant industries within the state's Department of Agriculture. She told a state House committee on Thursday that there have been 115 complaints in four counties of pollution caused by pesticides in the past month alone.

(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.

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