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 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.
File Photo | 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.

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.

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