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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Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Verbal fireworks punctuated the latest round of hearings by a Missouri Senate committee investigating Planned Parenthood's operations in the state, which included accusations and denials that Republicans on the committee are conducting a "witch hunt."

Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, began by stating that Tuesday's hearing was reserved for comments from the public, which turned out to be top-heavy with official representatives from several anti-abortion groups and one citizen speaking on behalf of the National Organization for Women.

The Missouri House in session on March 17, 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On an “old school” edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin provide a preview of the Missouri General Assembly’s upcoming veto session.

MoDOT

A top transportation official in Missouri says an ongoing drop in earmarked revenue is jeopardizing the state's system of rural roads and bridges.

Stephen Miller, chair of the Missouri Highways and Transportation commission, told Farm Bureau members in Jefferson City Wednesday that the state is experiencing a transportation crisis, and that a recently scaled-back  road maintenance program is a product of the dropping revenue.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

At least at J. Pfenny’s sports bar, it’ll be business as usual next week when legislators return to the Missouri capital for their annual veto session. They’ll also be gathering for the first time since the furor over sexual misconduct allegations involving interns sent two top state legislators packing.

The alcohol will be flowing as several lawmakers, or hopefuls, hold simultaneous fundraisers at the popular watering hole, situated just a couple blocks from the Capitol building.

Mo. Dept. of Corrections

Updated 9/1/2015, 10:13 p.m. -- Roderick Nunley has become the sixth death row inmate executed in Missouri this year.

He was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre for the 1989 murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison.

A farm pond in southern Illinois
Deb Rednour

Missouri is one of 13 states that won a reprieve from a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that expands the definition of a navigable waterway.

The ruling comes after the states sued, claiming that the new Waters of the U.S. definition went too far, to the point of including ponds, channels that are dry most of the time, and streams that only flow when it’s raining.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

As of today, there are 92 new laws on the books in Missouri.

All of them were passed by the Missouri House and Senate during the 2015 regular session, and all but two were signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 24 by overriding Nixon's veto. That law shortens the lifetime eligibility for welfare recipients in Missouri to three years and nine months from five years. Although most of the provisions in SB24 officially take effect today, the shorter eligibility period won't kick in until Jan. 1, 2016.

Gov. Jay Nixon says legislators blew their chance to have a say on bonding for a stadium in St. Louis.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon is facing explicit warnings from key legislators that they won’t approve payments on bonds for a new football stadium on St. Louis’ riverfront if they aren’t first approved by a legislative or public vote.

But the Democratic governor is dismissing the threats as too little, too late – pointing to inaction during the past legislative session.

Jamilah Nasheed mo senator  dem 5th dist 2014
Provided by Ms. Nasheed's office

A joint House-Senate legislative committee on education got an earful on failing K-12 schools in Missouri's urban areas.

The committee initially met Wednesday to hear a progress report on replacing Common Core State Standards with standards drafted by Missouri-based education work groups. Those work groups were created by the passage last year of a bill scrapping Common Core in Missouri.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The last time the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life met, members threatened to hold a Nixon administration official in contempt unless she produced documents identifying which hospital had a working relationship with Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic.

That became a moot point when Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling sent the committee a letter stating that Colleen McNicholas, M.D., had received admitting privileges from University of Missouri Health Care.

HOK|360 ARCHITECTURE

One of the Missouri House's budget writers is warning Gov. Jay Nixon to change his stance on pursuing funding for a new NFL stadium without a vote of the people.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, is vice chair of the House select committee on the state budget. In a letter to Nixon, a Democrat, he said he won't support any budget bill next year that includes funding for debt service on bonds issued for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson is maintaining that a proposed new dress code for interns is not, and will not, be among the recommendations for improving their working conditions.

House members have been working on several suggestions, which Richardson says will be released at a later date.

Gov. Jay Nixon touts his administration's record on agriculture at his annual Ham Breakfast at the 2015 Missouri State Fair.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon made a return appearance Thursday to the State Fair's annual ham breakfast, after pulling out of last year's event due to the unrest in Ferguson.

He told reporters at the fair that progress has been made in advancing social justice in Ferguson one year after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by former police officer Darren Wilson.

Mo. Dept. of Mental Health

Missouri's only state-run mental hospital has updated its non-discrimination practices to include gender identity.

That's despite the fact that Missouri's legal definition of discrimination does not include or protect sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Stadium task force co-chair Dave Peacock presents revised stadium plan to the Missouri Development Finance Board. The stadium project is asking for $15 million in tax breaks this year and plans to ask for $17.5 million each in 2016 and 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with vote - The Missouri Development Finance Board Tuesday approved tax breaks to help fund a proposed new NFL stadium in St. Louis. This vote was for $15 million out of what's expected to be a total of $50 million in credits.

It's part of a revised stadium proposal that would cost $998 million, including $820 million for sight clearance and construction.

Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

A Missouri Senate committee is threatening legal sanctions against a member of Gov. Jay Nixon's cabinet after the first day of hearings into the operations of Planned Parenthood in Missouri.

Committee chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, on Thursday asked Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling to disclose the name of the hospital that has a working agreement with Planned Parenthood's Columbia clinic.  Vasterling refused.

Steakpinball | Flickr

Court fees – which came under Justice Department criticism after the unrest in Ferguson – are getting attention again.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Gov. Jay Nixon thanked the Missouri Bar for backing his veto of two bills that would have raised some court fees.

Senate Bill 67 and House Bill 799 would have added new fees to court cases to help pay for building and maintaining new and existing county jails around the state.

MoDOT

Apparently it's never too early to prepare for winter.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it's looking for new drivers in the St. Louis area to help plow snow from roads this winter.  The state agency is currently looking for 26 full-time and 55 seasonal drivers.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The latest figures show Missouri revenues are down in some key categories.

The state collected roughly $506.9 million last month, compared to $512.9 million in July 2014, a drop of 1.2 percent.  State Budget Director Linda Luebbering says it's due in part to fraud prevention measures at the federal level.

Ameren Missouri's coal fire power plant at Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

Environmental advocates are praising the new Clean Power Plan announced Monday by President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency. Business groups are critical.

The new rule is designed to cut emissions by 32 percent by the year 2030, based on levels recorded in 2005, and it will use state-by-state targets to implement the emissions cuts, with states having flexibility in how to reach the goals. In a statement that included its outline of the plan's components, the White House said, "The Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants."

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a dozen college students whose parents illegally entered the United States years ago are asking Gov. Jay Nixon for help with suddenly higher tuition rates.

Lawmakers added language to the preamble of a budget bill stating that students who are "unlawfully in the United States" don't qualify for in-state tuition rates and cannot receive scholarships.

Mo. Dept. of Agriculture

The home of the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia is about to get a nearly $4 million upgrade, thanks to legislation passed this year.

The bulk of the renovations will take place at the state fair coliseum and the Womans Building, both of which are more than a hundred years old.

Missouri State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, announced he was resigning from office on Friday evening.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Facing heavy pressure from some of his party's top officials, state Sen. Paul LeVota announced Friday night that he was resigning from his seat.

In an announcement posted to his Facebook page, the Democrat from Independence cited "media attention" as being a "distraction from doing the people's work." The Missouri Senate detailed sexual harassment and retaliation allegations in a report released on Wednesday.

Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 5:26 p.m., July 24 - It appears that the University of Central Missouri is siding with one of its students over allegations that she was sexually harassed by State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, while working for him as an intern earlier this year.

OnMessage Inc.

Another Republican has tossed his hat in the ring for Missouri attorney general.

Josh Hawley is a 35-year-old associate law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Missouri state Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, during the most recent legislative session
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Another Republican is jumping into next year’s race for Missouri governor.

Bob Dixon currently represents Springfield and parts of Green County in the Missouri Senate, having first been elected to the 30th District seat in 2010 and re-elected last year. Before that he served four terms in the Missouri House.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Veterans' homes across Missouri are about to get some much-needed upgrades.

Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to the veterans' home at St. James Friday where he told residents, staff and their families that their facility will soon be getting a $6.9 million upgrade.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Every bill Missouri lawmakers sent to Gov. Jay Nixon this year has now been signed or vetoed, with only one bill becoming law without his signature.

That bill, HB 137, tweaks the bidding process for license fee offices by doing away with rewarding points to bidders based on how much revenue the state would get back in return. It was co-sponsored by state Rep. Dean Dohrman, R-LaMonte.

David Zink
Missouri Department of Corrections

Updated 10:15 p.m. -- David Zink has been executed by lethal injection, becoming the fifth convicted killer put to death in Missouri this year and the 17th since the state resumed lethal injections in November 2013.

Lilly Leyh, left, and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license in November 2014 at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an executive order mandating that state and local agencies comply with the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriages.

That order is aimed at places like Schuyler County, where county Recorder of Deeds Linda Blessing says she’s exploring options on whether she has to comply with the court’s action or Nixon’s order.

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