Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Marshall Griffin

Statehouse Reporter

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss.  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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Missouri’s budget problems could be getting worse, just as the state is grappling with phasing in a tax-cut package approved several years ago.

New Gov. Eric Greitens and legislative leaders announced that they’ve reached a consensus on how much more money the state government is expected to collect during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visits students at Mason Elementary School in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Jay Nixon has begun what's in effect his farewell tour across Missouri before stepping down next week as governor.

It began Thursday in Jefferson City at the annual governor's prayer breakfast. The ecumenical event features elected officials and several hundred members of the public who buy tickets. 

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A cold arctic blast greeted lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters who filtered into the state Capitol Wednesday for the start of Missouri's 2017 legislative session.

But it didn't take long for things to heat up, at least on the House side of the building.

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not since Matt Blunt was governor of Missouri nearly a decade ago did the Republican Party control both the executive branch and both houses of the legislature. Even then, there were enough Democrats in both the House and Senate to block any veto override attempts, rare as they were then.

That will differ once Eric Greitens takes the oath of office and has the benefit of veto-proof GOP majorities in both chambers.

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

Republicans lawmakers reacted to the 2015 protests on the Mizzou campus by creating a commission to review the entire university system’s operations and recommend changes. And if the UM System failed to implement those changes, lawmakers would respond by slashing the system’s budget.

Those recommendations were released today.

Jeff Belmonte | Cuiabá, Brazil | Creative Commons, Wikipedia

The age in which teenagers can receive a marriage license would increase to 17 under legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House.

Currently, teens as young as 15 can get married in Missouri with at least one parent's permission.

File photo

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

Mike Parson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Of all the new statewide officeholders elected this year, only one comes from rural Missouri

Mike Parson has represented eight counties in west and central Missouri in the Senate for the past six years, and prior to that served in the House for six years. For 12 years, he was sheriff of Polk County, and he currently owns a cattle operation near Bolivar.

The vast bulk of the 100 or so demonstrators at the Missouri Capitol today called on electoral college voters to reject Trump and send the presidential race to the U.S. House of Representative.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

No surprise: Missouri has officially cast its 10 presidential electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Roughly 100 demonstrators showed up at the Capitol to call on the state's presidential electors to vote against Trump and send the election to the U.S. House of Representatives. But in the end, all voted Trump for president, then Mike Pence for Vice President.

State Rep. Kip Kendrick
Nathan Lawrence | KBIA | File photo

Democrats in the Missouri House are calling on Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to keep his campaign promise to clean up Jefferson City.

They've pre-filed several bills that range from banning gifts from lobbyists to giving the state ethics commission the authority to prosecute violations. Democrat Kip Kendrick of Columbia said they want to see if the incoming Republican governor is serious about ethics reform.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A Republican will hold the office of Missouri attorney general for the first time in 24 years when Josh Hawley is sworn in next month. He defeated Democratic challenger Teresa Hensley in November while styling himself as a constitutional scholar instead of a prosecutor.

As St. Louis Public Radio reported before the election, he stressed his credentials as a constitutional scholar. He served as a law clerk for U.S. Appeals Court Judge Michael McConnell of the 10th circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. More recently, Hawley worked as a law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Courtesy of HOK

The Missouri Development Finance Board is considering whether to award $40 million dollars in tax credits to St. Louis for a potential Major League Soccer stadium.

Otis Williams from the St. Louis development board made the request official Thursday. If approved, the incentives would be spread out over two years.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's budget for the current fiscal year is being cut again.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Wednesday that he's withholding $51 million from the FY2017 budget, which runs through June 30 of next year. The vast bulk of the temporary cut is coming out of Medicaid.

The Missouri House during veto session
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are continuing their push for expanded gun rights by targeting businesses that operate as gun-free zones.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow people authorized to carry firearms to sue businesses that ban firearms on their properties if they're wounded in a robbery or assault while at that business. It's sponsored by Rep.-elect Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon.

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The start of December is the start of Missouri lawmakers pre-filing legislation for the 2017 legislative session.

One that has been controversial for some time is the effort to limit the power of labor unions by turning Missouri into a so-called right-to-work state. The effort in the House is being led by Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Since mid-March and throughout the summer, access to the Missouri Capitol has been limited because of restoration work on the building's south side, which is where most visitors enter.

But phase one of the $40 million project to restore the nearly century-old building is almost complete.

roast turkey
M.Rehemtulla | Flickr

A slight bit of relief is being touted for grocery shoppers preparing to cook Thanksgiving Day meals.

According to the Missouri Farm Bureau, the overall cost is down slightly this year to $50.46 for a gathering of 10 people, which averages out to about $5.05 a person. The estimated cost from 2015 was $51.92, or $5.19 a person.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing a challenge to a law that has changed rules for municipal courts, in particular banning judges from sending someone to jail for failure to pay a traffic fine.

It also lowered the amount of revenue local governments can get from traffic citations; it capped those revenues at 12.5 percent in St. Louis County and at 20 percent across the rest of Missouri.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Nicole Galloway on Tuesday released details of a test her office recently conducted on how cities, counties, water districts, fire protection districts and other governing bodies respond to Sunshine Law requests.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Of the four constitutional amendments passed by Missouri voters on Tuesday, rumblings have started about legal challenges to three of them.

File photo

Missouri’s battle to recoup lost tobacco settlement revenue is now being weighed by the state Supreme Court.

The Show-Me State’s share of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement reached between the tobacco industry and 46 states is roughly $130 million a year. In 2003, an additional partial settlement with 24 states was made, which Missouri was not a part of because it was found not to be diligent in policing smaller tobacco companies that did not sign onto the 1998 agreement. Those companies were found to be undercutting their prices to compete with larger companies that did sign the agreement.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

One year ago this week the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia was in turmoil.

University of Missouri System president Tim Wolfe abruptly announced his resignation Nov. 9 as his leadership and handling of issues of race were strongly criticized. Several hours later, R. Bowen Loftin said he would be leaving his post as chancellor of the system's Columbia campus to coordinate university research.

Hank Foley was then moved from research  work for the system and the Columbia campus to become interim chancellor at Mizzou..

Mun Y. Choi, who comes to Missouri from the University of Connecticut, comes nearly a year after his predecessor, Tim Wolfe stepped down after demands from students who led protests on the Columbia campus.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated Nov. 3 with salary details – Incoming University of Missouri System President Mun Choi will make more money than his two predecessors.

The university system released details of Choi's contract Thursday, which show he'll earn a base salary of $530,000 a year.  The contract period runs from March 1, 2017, through June 30, 2022.

An infrared photograph shows a water main leak in Webster Groves. Water utility companies photograph roads at night to determine which pipes may be in need of repair.
Missouri American Water | Provided

Updated Nov. 1 with court arguments – The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing whether state law still allows Missouri American Water to charge its St. Louis County customers an infrastructure surcharge.

The Public Service Commission agreed to allow Missouri American to charge the $3 a month fee, even though St. Louis County's population dropped below 1 million during the 2010 U.S. census. But the western district court of appeals overturned that decision in March.

The Indiana bat is on the endangered species list.
Provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is preparing to survey the bat population in the northern half of the state.

Tony Elliott is a resource scientist with the conservation department.  He said the survey will focus primarily on two species: the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat.

The candidates for lieutenant governor are Republican Mike Parson, left, and Democrat Russ Carnahan.
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in 12 years, someone besides Peter Kinder will be lieutenant governor of Missouri.

Kinder jumped into the governor's race and lost in a crowded Republican primary, coming in third in a contest won by Eric Greitens. The major party candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot are Democrat Russ Carnahan and Republican Mike Parson.

The major party candidates for secretary of state are Robin Smith, a Drmocrat, and Jay Ashcroft, a Republican.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

Missouri will have a new secretary of state in January, because incumbent Democrat Jason Kander is running for the U.S. Senate. Barring a third-party upset, his successor will be a Republican with a last name very familiar to Missourians, or a Democrat known mainly to St. Louis-area TV viewers. 

Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

Missouri lawmakers continue to follow reports of illegal spraying of crops in the Bootheel region.

So far, 124 complaints have been made of people using an outdated version of the herbicide dicamba. Investigators from the Missouri Department of Agriculture have been looking into the complaints over the past few months.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Nearly 100 people demonstrated outside the Missouri Supreme Court shortly after two cases were argued seeking higher minimum wages in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing two cases, one from St. Louis and the other from Kansas City, seeking to allow higher minimum wages in each place.

At issue is a law enacted during last year's veto session that bars cities from enacting a minimum wage that's higher than that set by the federal or state government. House Bill 722 was passed in response to both cities seeking higher minimum wages, along with Columbia's efforts to ban plastic grocery bags.

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