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.

Ways to Connect

A voter enters Our Lady of Guadalupe School on election day in Ferguson.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Two companion measures that would require Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls have been passed by a House committee.

The first one, HJR 53, is a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for a photo ID requirement, and would need to first be passed by Missouri voters.

Ferguson court
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

The municipal court systems for the cities of Ferguson and Pine Lawn are being audited by the state of Missouri.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway confirmed in a written statement Tuesday that the audits are already underway.  She says they’re part of the Municipal Courts Initiative launched in 2014 under former auditor Tom Schweich.

The Missouri House committee on government oversight and accountability passed four ethics bills on Monday and could be debated on the House floor as early as Wednesday. 1/11/16
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Republicans are keeping their foot on the gas as they steer the first group of ethics bills through their chamber.

Four ethics bills were heard by a House committee, then easily passed after little more than an hour's worth of discussions.

Senate Communications

Members of the news media who regularly cover the Missouri Senate will soon be doing so from another location.

The Senate voted 26-4 Thursday to bar members of the press from the floor of the Senate, including use of a table that has been reserved for reporters for decades.  The new rule takes effect March 29.

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

It appears that Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to ethics changes.

During his opening speech, House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said he'll refer all ethics bills to committee on Thursday, a move that often takes place days, weeks, and sometimes months after the start of a legislative session.

St. Louis Public Radio file art

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ron Richard is about to spend his first full session as president pro-tem of the Missouri Senate.

He was elected to the post by his colleagues in September after Tom Dempsey resigned a year ahead of time, and shepherded the upper chamber through veto session. The Republican from Joplin also served as House Speaker from 2009 to 2010, and is the only elected official in Missouri history to lead both chambers.

Richard sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin and talked about what he hopes to accomplish, and about getting started as president pro-tem:

Nick Varvel / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Conservation would have to pay up if two new legislative proposals become law.

One pre-filed bill would require the department to pay for any property damage caused by "wild otters, elk, or bear."

(via Flickr/kcds)

Legislation being proposed in Missouri would establish a sales tax holiday for new gun purchases.

The pre-filed bill is sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa.  He has not yet responded to requests by St. Louis Public Radio for an interview, but he issued a brief written statement on Monday.

Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated 5:17 p.m., Dec. 18 -- Dueling versions of legislation would each create a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri, the only state that doesn't have one.

Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, announced Thursday that she would again be sponsoring the House version of the bill, which was pre-filed Friday.  It would give doctors and pharmacists easy access to recent drug purchases by patients as a way to combat doctor shopping.

Adam Procter | flickr

A pre-filed bill that would have revoked the scholarships of college athletes who boycott games has been withdrawn.

Mizzou football players last month joined other students in calling for the resignation of university system president Tim Wolfe, saying that they would not play another game until he quit or was fired.

These renderings show what it would look like in National Car Rental Field. The car rental company forged a $158 million deal to name an in-flux riverfront stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Updated 1:31 p.m. Dec. 15 - Backers of a proposed new NFL stadium for St. Louis have an extra $3 million at their disposal, thanks to the state of Missouri.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted 9-1 Tuesday to grant a line of credit to the St. Louis Convention and Sports Complex Authority.

Patrick McKenna
Missouri Department of Transportation

Patrick McKenna is now into his second week as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

He recently served as deputy director of New Hampshire's transportation department and before that worked as chief financial officer for the U.S. Senate.  McKenna sat down last week with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin and talked about some of the challenges he now faces as MoDOT director.

Debris and felled trees were just part of the devastation around the superintendent's home. Johnson's shut ins
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

On Dec. 14, 2005, a section of dam wall along the old Taum Sauk reservoir collapsed, sending 1.3 billion gallons of water rushing down the side of Proffit Mountain in rural southeastern Missouri.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

Several bills on both sides of the gun control debate are being proposed by Missouri lawmakers for next year's legislative session.

First, Senate Bill 589 would lift the current ban on bringing concealed firearms onto college campuses.  It's sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield.

Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Lane Roberts, second from right, discusses upgraded training standards before Tuesday's vote. Ron Johnson on far right
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Police officers in Missouri will be getting more training in how to interact with potential suspects and the public at large.

The Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission voted unanimously Tuesday for the new standards, which expand the number of hours of training a year to 24 from the current 16 that officers must have to remain licensed.

HOK|360 Architecture

Gov. Jay Nixon met with St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke Monday, one day before NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Dallas to discuss the league's potential return to Los Angeles.

Nixon spokesperson Channing Ansley told the Associated Press that Nixon and Kroenke met, but she did not disclose any details.

The Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have all submitted plans to relocate to the Los Angeles area, which has been without an NFL franchise for more than 20 years.  Kroenke wants to build a new stadium in Inglewood, about 12 miles southwest of downtown LA. The Raiders and Chargers are planning to jointly build and share a stadium in Carson, 14 miles south of downtown.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers are questioning state agencies and charities that have any interaction with refugees and immigrants who settle in the Show-Me State.

Monday's joint meeting of the House Budget Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee is the first in a series called by Republican legislative leaders in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13.

snebtor | Flickr

Missouri's corn and soybean harvests continue to look good, especially corn.

November estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture shows that corn growers are averaging 145 bushels an acre, which so far is the fourth-highest return in state history.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Reginald Clemons may get a new trial.

In a 4-to-3 decision Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court tossed out both his conviction and death sentence in the 1991 rape and murders of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis. The sisters, who were 20 and 19, had brought a visiting cousin to the bridge to show him a poem they had written. The cousin was the only one who survived being pushed from the bridge into the Mississippi River.

Richardson enters the House Lounge for an end-of-session press conference on Friday.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Although a special session is highly unlikely, Missouri lawmakers will meet at least once to discuss the possibility of Syrian refugees entering the Show-Me State and may try to look for ways to block that from happening.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and Senate President Pro-tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, have scheduled a joint hearing of the House and Senate committees that oversee the annual state budget for Nov. 30, the Monday after Thanksgiving.

roast turkey
M.Rehemtulla | Flickr

The average Thanksgiving Day meal in Missouri will cost $51.92 this year, or $5.19 a person, which is $1.40 more than last year's estimated price tag of $50.52.

Those figures come from the Missouri Farm Bureau, which had volunteers shop for ingredients at grocery stores across the state.

Ernest Johnson
Missouri Department of Corrections

A Missouri death row inmate who came within hours of being executed earlier this month will have his appeal heard by a three-judge panel.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on Nov. 3 to Ernest Lee Johnson, based on whether a lower court properly handled his complaint about the state's execution drug. The order from the high court arrived around 40 minutes into the 24-hour execution window.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A transportation official from New Hampshire is taking over as head of transportation in the Show-Me State.

Patrick McKenna has been hired to be the new director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. He recently served as deputy commissioner for the Granite State's transportation department and formerly worked as chief financial officer for the U.S. Senate.

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

Missouri House members will have to undergo training to prevent sexual harassment every year and are barred from engaging in romantic fraternization with staff and interns.

The House committee on administration and accounts voted 6-1 to adopt the policies, which take effect immediately.

Ernest Johnson
Missouri Department of Corrections

Updated 8:05 p.m. Nov. 3 with court action - The U.S. Supreme Court has hit pause on Tuesday night's scheduled execution of Ernest Lee Johnson.

The high court issued a stay, pending the outcome of one of his appeals. It centers on claims that the state's execution drug pentobarbital could cause Johnson to experience violent seizures, due to part of his brain being removed in 2008 during surgery to remove a tumor.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

A Kansas City-area man cannot sue his former employer for discrimination because Missouri's legal definition of discrimination does not include sexual orientation; so says the state's western district appeals court.

James Pittman's lawsuit claimed that, because he is gay, he was fired from Cook Paper Recycling and was subjected to a hostile work environment.  His case was dismissed by a lower court nearly two years ago, in part because sexual orientation is not included in Missouri's definition of discrimination.

(via Flickr/kcds)

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether a gun rights constitutional amendment passed last year cancels out an older state law that bars convicted felons from owning firearms.

The high court heard three cases Tuesday in which lower courts dismissed felony gun possession charges based on the new amendment, which makes gun ownership an "unalienable right" that the state is obligated to defend.

File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

No fraternization, investigations conducted by "outside counsel," and sexual harassment training every year: These are just a few of the recommendations being made to improve the culture and work environment of the Missouri Capitol. 

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, announced the proposed changes Friday in a lengthy press release, but also spoke to St. Louis Public Radio by phone.

Missouri Department of Corrections

A Missouri death row inmate is seeking to have one of his murder convictions tossed out.

Richard Davis was sentenced to death after being found guilty of the 2006 murder, kidnapping and rape of Marsha Spicer of Independence, which he committed along with his then-girlfriend Dena Riley. Riley was sentenced to life without parole in exchange for pleading guilty.

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