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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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.

St. Louis fire chief, Dennis Jenkerson, is all smiles on April 6, 2016 after city voters overwhelmingly approved the earnings tax and a bond issue.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The overwhelming votes in St. Louis and Kansas City to keep the earnings tax may short-circuit efforts at the state level to eliminate it in St. Louis.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is spearheading the measure, which would phase out the 1 percent tax over 10 years. On Thursday, Senate Republican leader Ron Richard said he will not push to bring his colleague's bill up for a vote.

Christopher Buchanan / Insignia Films

Updated April 8, 1:04 a.m. -- A proposed exemption to Missouri's motorcycle helmet law continues moving forward.

The state House passed HB 1464 Thursday by a vote of 103-43.  It's not enough to survive a potential veto from Governor Jay Nixon, who vetoed an outright repeal of the helmet requirement in 2009.

Quadrangle at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

A review commission designed to implement changes to the University of Missouri System is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 would create an eight-member commission to recommend changes in the wake of last year's campus unrest. And refusal to implement any changes from the commission would result in future budget cuts.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

A revised version of a proposed fuel tax hike has received first-round approval in the Missouri Senate.

A substitute version of Senate Bill 623 was adopted Wednesday evening, which would raise the tax on both gasoline and diesel fuel to 23 cents per gallon from 17.

(Jerry W. Lewis' Flickr page)

Missouri has the highest growth rate in the Midwest when it comes to creating clean energy jobs – so says a new survey released Tuesday by a group of clean energy advocates.

And a coalition of advocates, consisting of the Missouri Energy Initiative (MEI), Clean Energy Trust (CET), and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), is pushing for the Show-Me State to adopt President Barack Obama's Clean Energy Plan.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Peace and quiet have descended on the Missouri Capitol as lawmakers are on spring break.

House Republicans are touting quick action on such things as ethics reform, a stricter abortion requirement for parental notification, and getting the state budget through the chamber. But Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, laments the Medicaid spending hike they passed for the current fiscal year.

Eric Greitens found himself fending off questions about a controversial donor at Thursday's Missouri Republican gubernatorial debate in Columbia, the first one this year to be televised.

Both Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder called on Greitens to return a $1 million campaign contribution from Michael Goguen. The California venture capitalist is being sued by a woman who accuses him of holding her as a sex slave for 13 years.

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

The Missouri House has voted to restore $925,000 to the current year's state budget.

Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, withheld more than $46.1 million from the fiscal year 2016 state budget last fall after a court ruling allowed the tobacco industry to skip out on a $50 million settlement payment.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 15, 12:15 p.m. -- The slow-down in the Missouri Senate has entered its third day and forced Republicans to adjourn Tuesday after less than an hour in session.

Democrats began by forcing another full reading of the prior day's journal, which only took about 14 minutes.  Monday's journal reading was much longer, taking nearly an hour.

House budget chair Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, at right, directs debate on budget bills Tuesday.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Missouri's $27 billion state budget is on its way to the Senate.

The House Thursday passed all 13 budget bills, which includes a nearly $9 million cut to higher education.

For that reason, several state representatives voted against the higher ed bill, HB 2003.

Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in the Missouri Senate have given first-round approval to legislation that would shield clergy and business owners from state penalties for refusing to work on same-sex weddings.

Democrats had filibustered Senate Joint Resolution 39 nonstop since Monday afternoon, but early Wednesday morning GOP leaders used a procedural move, known as "moving the previous question," to cut off debate and force a vote.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's proposed $27 billion budget for next year is up for debate this week in the Missouri House.

Last week, House budget writers cut $7.6 million from the University of Missouri System's proposed budget over the way it handled last fall's racial protests and over a perceived cozy relationship with Planned Parenthood. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, was unable to persuade House budget writers to restore the funding, but he plans to try again this week.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

The Missouri Senate has expanded one of the proposed ethics bills passed by the House in January.

Originally, House Bill 2203 required that any money held by former lawmakers be held in bank accounts that could make that money readily available.  It was part of the House Republican leadership's approach to reforming Missouri's ethics system.

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