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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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.

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

Several high priority bills moved forward as lawmakers work to push their agendas over the last remaining hurdles before Friday the 13th arrives — which this year happens to be the final day of the 2016 legislative session.

Here's a quick rundown of what got accomplished Tuesday.

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

Democrats in the Missouri Senate have ended their filibuster of a proposal to require photo identification at the polls.

House Bill 1631 was changed to allow voters without a photo ID to cast a regular ballot if they sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are. They would also have to present some other form of ID, such as a utility bill.

The battle over cold beer sales in Missouri is heating up again.

On March 3, the state Senate narrowly passed legislation to allow beer companies to lease portable refrigerators to grocers and convenience stores. It would also allow those same stores to sell beer in reusable containers, commonly known as growlers.

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

A follow-up to last year's municipal court reform bill, commonly known as Senate Bill 5, has passed the Missouri House.

This year's measure, Senate Bill 572, would limit fines for minor traffic violations at $300 and limit municipal code violations at $500. Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, carried the bill in the House.

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, speaks against SJR 39 during Wednesday's House Emerging Issues committee meeting.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed constitutional amendment to shield clergy and business owners in Missouri from punishment for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings has failed.

The House Emerging Issues committee voted 6-6 Wednesday on Senate Joint Resolution 39, the tie vote effectively killing the measure.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

A proposal to raise Missouri's fuel tax is getting attention again at the state Capitol.

Senate Bill 623, which would raise the tax by 6 cents a gallon, was considered Tuesday by a State House committee. It was passed earlier this month by the Senate.

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's use of deadly force law would become more in line with federal standards under a bill being weighed by a House committee.

Current state law does not specify that a police officer has to believe a fleeing suspect is dangerous to use deadly force. Senate Bill 661, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would change the standard to more closely align with the national standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Missouri now have only one option this year – the ballot box.

That comes after the state House last week defeated House Bill 2213. In its original form, the measure would have allowed for medical cannabis centers in Missouri, which would have sold medical cannabis to patients with a "debilitating medical condition."

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic has agreed to hand over some documents to the Missouri Senate on how it disposes of fetal tissue.

As part of the negotiated agreement the Senate will suspend contempt proceedings against Planned Parenthood regional director Mary Kogut. The contempt measure was sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The only task the Missouri General Assembly is required by law to accomplish has been accomplished and, for the second year in a row, accomplished two weeks before deadline.

Lawmakers have sent a roughly $27.2 billion state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon that increases spending on higher education as a whole, while specifically cutting funding from the University of Missouri System.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that allows caps on some damages in wrongful death lawsuits.

Shannon Dodson died five years ago at Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis County after an artery was punctured during a heart catheter test. Her family received nearly $11 million in damages, including $9 million in non-economic damages.

Tim Bommel|Missouri House Communications

The first of several ethics proposals to come out of the Missouri legislature this year has been signed into law.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1983 during a brief ceremony in his state Capitol office. It bars lawmakers and other elected officials from hiring each other as paid political consultants.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Business and religious leaders were on opposite sides at a committee hearing on a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would shield some people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 passed the Senate last month, but only after Republican leaders forced a vote and shutdown a nearly 40-hour filibuster by Democrats.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The latest legislation against the 1 percent earnings tax in St. Louis is on hold in the Missouri Senate.

Late Monday, Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, unveiled a revamped bill that would NOT phase out the tax, but instead would exempt St. Louis residents from paying on the first $10,000 earned. Also, anyone at or below the federal poverty level would not have to pay the tax at all.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Bicycle enthusiasts in Missouri are breathing a sigh of relief over the fate of one bill while worrying about another.

First, there's House Bill 2046, which would require bicycles to have reflective orange flags mounted on 15-foot-long poles whenever they're being ridden on state lettered routes. The second, House Bill 2047, would allow limited use of golf carts and so-called utility vehicles on the Katy Trail.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Working to pass Missouri's state budget ahead of schedule seems to be the new normal.

Usually at this point in the legislative year, the 13 bills making up the state budget would have barely been in the Missouri Senate's hands for a week. But on Thursday the upper chamber passed 12 of the 13 bills, sending them back to the House to set the stage for final negotiations.

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