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

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.

Phalinn Ooi | Flickr

A case before the Missouri Supreme Court could decide whether wrongful death should fall under the state's new law capping non-economic damages on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Pat Hagerty represents the family of Shannon Dodson, who died in 2011 during what was described as a routine medical procedure at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.

Gov. Jay Nixon
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A recent court ruling that excuses tobacco companies from making a $50 million payment to Missouri has resulted in the first cuts to the current year's state budget.

Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding approximately $46.1 million from the budget that took effect July 1.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

Drought conditions across portions of Missouri are having both a positive and negative effect on crops grown in the Show-Me State.

The lack of rain over much of Missouri has not harmed the state's corn crop and is enabling farmers to get heavy equipment into the fields for harvest.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee is putting together recommendations that could place further restrictions on abortion providers, namely Planned Parenthood.

Several Republican lawmakers began brainstorming various proposals toward the end of a public hearing Wednesday at the State Capitol.

They included random inspections of any facility that performs abortions, including hospitals.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

A new commission set up by the Missouri Supreme Court will examine ways to ensure that minorities receive fair and just treatment from the state's court systems and legal profession.

Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge announced the formation of the commission at a recent Missouri Bar meeting in St. Louis. She cited findings in two Department of Justice reports, one on Ferguson and the other on St. Louis County's juvenile division, as reasons for forming the commission.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Backers of medical marijuana want Missourians to decide if doctors can be allowed to prescribe the drug to critically ill patients.

Two ballot initiatives that would do just that were filed on Thursday.

Ameren Missouri

Missouri's Department of Economic Development has unveiled 17 recommendations for how Missouri should use and conserve energy.

The recommendations are the end result of an executive order Gov. Jay Nixon issued last year that was intended to "chart a road map toward a more prosperous, secure and sustainable energy future."

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican field for Missouri governor has grown larger. St. Louis businessman John Brunner announced his candidacy this morning in a pre-recorded YouTube video.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A smaller Missouri House could be coming your way in seven years, if a proposed constitutional amendment makes it onto next year's ballot.

Two identical ballot initiatives would each shrink the size of the Missouri House from 163 seats down to 123.

Missouri Department of Corrections

A Missouri death row inmate scheduled for execution next week has been spared, as Gov. Jay Nixon has commuted his sentence to life without parole.

Kimber Edwards was sentenced to death for the 2000 murder of his ex-girlfriend Kimberly Cantrell in St. Louis County.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Five public schools in Missouri will have their cyber security measures reviewed as part of an initiative announced Wednesday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

She told reporters that more than 250 K-12 schools nationwide have suffered data breaches over the past 10 years. One of those was the Park Hill district in Platte County, near Kansas City, which is among the five being audited.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic is complying with Missouri law regarding fetal tissue, so says Attorney General Chris Koster.

In a report released Monday, Koster says the evidence reviewed by his investigators lines up with Planned Parenthood's statements that the organization is properly disposing of fetal tissue, and that there is "no evidence whatsoever" that the St. Louis clinic is selling fetal tissue.

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