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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(via Flickr/Robert S. Donovan)

The amount of money education in Missouri receives from casino gaming and the lottery is down significantly, according to Gov. Jay Nixon's budget office.

Veronique Lacapra/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering the case surrounding Ameren Missouri's efforts to build a coal ash landfill next door to its coal-fired power plant in Franklin County.

The suit deals with whether citizens were allowed to fully voice their concerns at various public hearings in which zoning amendments were to be discussed, but not allowing comments on Ameren or the coal ash landfill. Attorney Maxine Lipeles argued that their concerns were not fully heard.

(Steve Patterson).

  Governor Jay Nixon is lending his support for efforts by St. Louis and St. Louis County to land a federal Promise Zone designation.

Nixon has directed his Community Engagement office to coordinate any assistance state agencies may provide towards the effort.  Communities that receive a Promise Zone designation get preferential access and assistance in their revitalization efforts.  St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says he hopes the governor's involvement will give their efforts some momentum.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As senate Republicans did Thursday, so have House Democrats and African-American lawmakers – sticking with the same top leaders.

First, the Legislative Black Caucus has formally elected state Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, as caucus chair. He succeeds Rep. Tommie Pierson, D-North County, who was elected as chair in January after state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, resigned from the chairmanship.

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

Tim Jones is done … at least for now.

The soon-to-be departing speaker of the Missouri House announced Thursday that he won't be seeking election to any statewide office in 2016. 

It was widely speculated that the long-time Republican lawmaker would run for attorney general, or possibly secretary of state, as he had expressed interest in both jobs at various times. But in a letter to his supporters, he says that he wants to spend more time with his family.  Here's an excerpt:

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The November elections were very good for Republicans in the state Senate. Come January, when the new legislative session opens, Republicans will hold 25 seats in the 34-member body. So it shouldn't be too surprising that Senate Republicans are sticking with the leaders they have.

On Thursday, senators met at the capitol and re-elected Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, as president pro-tem, and re-elected Ron Richard, R-Joplin, as majority floor leader. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are celebrating their increased supermajorities in the State House and Senate, especially with the passage of a constitutional amendment to limit Gov. Jay Nixon's authority over the budget.

Nixon, a Democrat, has temporarily withheld money each year from various state agencies. He has said the withholds are necessary because the GOP-controlled legislature keeps sending him unbalanced budgets. 

Incoming House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, disagrees. He says they write their budgets based on the amount of money actually coming in.

via Wikimedia Commons

As St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke considers whether to stay put or move his team to another city, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has unveiled a plan he says is designed to keep the NFL in St. Louis.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Nixon announced that former Anheuser-Busch President David Peacock and Clayton attorney Bob Blitz will spend the next 60 days studying the situation:

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

(Updated 2:02 a.m., Wed., Nov. 5 to include latest vote totals.)

Missouri voters have defeated half of the proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot, while passing the other half.

First, the amendments that failed.

Amendment 3

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The long-delayed NorthSide Redevelopment project in St. Louis took a step forward Monday.

The Missouri Department of Health's Facilities Review Committee granted a certificate of need for a three-bed urgent care hospital that's part of developer Paul McKee's master plan for the overall project.  No one spoke in opposition to granting McKee a certificate of need during the committee's meeting, and the vote in favor was 7-0.

The facility is to be built at 25th Street and Maiden Lane.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

  

Who should have the power over the Missouri budget? The legislature, which writes the budget? Or the governor who is constitutionally required to balance it?

The latest salvo in the ongoing battle between Missouri's Democratic governor and the Republican-led legislature over the state budget is Amendment 10 on the November ballot. 

Constitutional Amendment 10 would limit the governor's budgetary authority. Specifically, it would limit his ability to withhold money temporarily from the budget each year.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters have four constitutional amendments on the November ballot. The amendments cover a wide array of issues, ranging from early voting to the admissibility of prior sex crimes, teacher tenure and the governor's power over the state budget.

Amendment 2

Friends of Tom Schweich

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

Libertarian nominee Sean O'Toole brought it up during a sit-down interview in September, saying that Tom Schweich is actually running for governor.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday that he's releasing $3.3 million previously withheld from the state budget, which will go toward local-level public health agencies around the state. St. Louis Public Radio reported this week that local health officials were concerned that withholding the funds would affect their ability to prepare for the Ebola threat. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Members of eight work groups tasked with crafting new education standards to replace Common Core in Missouri appear to be still divided over the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's involvement in the process.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle refused to comment Wednesday on the drowning of an Iowa man who had been taken into custody by state troopers on the Lake of the Ozarks on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Replogle was appearing at the first of two hearings by a state house committee that is looking into the merger of the Highway Patrol with the Water Patrol. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka,  created the interim committee.

City of St. Louis

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered state Auditor Tom Schweich to conduct an audit of the office of the St. Louis recorder of deeds.

In a brief written statement issued Monday, Nixon gave no explanation or reason for the audit. Schweich also issued a short statement Monday, saying that he and his office "plan to move forward with the audit as requested."  On Tuesday, a spokesman for Schweich added that the audit "will not be completed or released by Election Day."

The contest for recorder of deeds may be the most contentious race in the city of St. Louis this November.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a Missouri prison inmate serving life without parole for a marijuana conviction are stepping up their efforts to persuade Gov. Jay Nixon to grant clemency.

Jeff Mizanskey, 61, of Sedalia, had two prior nonviolent convictions for possessing and selling marijuana when he was convicted a third time and sentenced in 1996 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He had been arrested in 1993 in a drug sting involving five pounds of marijuana. His brother, Mike Mizanskey, says all of Jeff's appeals have been exhausted.

Corn stalks Kaskaskia Island
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | 2010

The results of a recount of the votes for the so-called 'right-to-farm' constitutional amendment show that it did pass, though by a slightly slimmer margin than originally announced.

The recount results, announced Monday by the secretary of state's office shows that Constitutional Amendment 1 passed by 2,375 votes out of almost a million votes cast.  The difference between "yes" and "no" votes before the recount was 2,490.

State Auditor's office

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says an audit released Monday shows that Gov. Jay Nixon violated Missouri's constitution when he withheld money from two recent state budgets.

Schweich says the governor had no legal right to withhold $172 million from several state programs to help cover costs from the Joplin tornado and other recent natural disasters during fiscal year 2012.

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