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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MO Statehouse: Rainy day fund
12:02 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

Silvey pushes to expand special session call

A GOP state lawmaker wants colleagues to consider tapping the rainy day fund to pay for disaster relief, including from the May 22 tornado in Joplin. Damage from that tornado is pictured here on May 24.
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Two bills have been filed in the Missouri House regarding the use of the state’s so-called Rainy Day fund.

The first would authorize $150 million to be used to match FEMA expenditures on tornado and flood damage across the state.  The second bill would set up a joint House-Senate committee to oversee the use of Rainy Day funds for natural disasters.

They’re sponsored by House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City).  He wants Governor Jay Nixon (D) to expand the call of the special session to include both bills.

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Teacher/student online contact
11:56 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Showdown looming between Mo. Senate, Nixon, over social media language

The Mo. Capitol at dusk
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri State Senator who sponsored the measure strictly limiting teacher-student contact via Facebook and other social media has filed legislation she says will clear up any confusion over the new law.

The issue was added Tuesday to the call of the special session by Governor Jay Nixon (D), but in his call the governor only stipulated that the language in question be removed, not replaced with new language.

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Special session opposition
4:47 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Crowell slows down Mo. special session

State Sen. Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) criticizes Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon's "micromanaging" of the special session, which began today.
(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

A State Senator from Cape Girardeau today delayed the start of the special session by three hours, then continued to slow the process down after bills were allowed to be introduced.

Republican Jason Crowell is objecting to what he calls a “micromanaged" list of priorities by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.

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Missouri special session
4:55 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Mo. special session could last up to 2 months, UMSL prof. says

Mo. Capitol at dusk
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri lawmakers are set to return to the State Capitol next week for a special legislative session.

Both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and Republican legislative leaders estimate it’ll take no more than two weeks to debate and pass bills dealing with a dozen issues, including air cargo tax credits, social media communications between teachers and students, and local control of the St. Louis Police Department.

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Health / Medicaid / SynCare
11:36 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Mo. Dept. of Health and Senior Services to take over SynCare role

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Updated 4:25 p.m. with comments from Mo. House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City), who also oversees an interim committee looking into complaints against SynCare.

The State of Missouri is taking over the duties of SynCare, an Indianapolis-based company which won a contract in February worth as much as $5.5 million a year to determine whether thousands of Missouri Medicaid recipients qualify for home-based medical services or help with daily chores. 

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Missouri special session
4:29 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Nixon touts economic incentives, may expand Mo. special session again

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (D)
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is traveling around the state this week, urging Missouri lawmakers to pass numerous tax credit proposals during the upcoming special session.

Before leaving today for Kansas City, Marceline and St. Louis, he met with reporters in his State Capitol office.  He told them passing the incentives are crucial for job creation, but that the overall number of tax breaks also needs to be reined in.

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New state laws
5:00 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Late-term abortion ban, other new laws, go into effect in Mo.

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Most of the new laws passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year officially took effect over the weekend, on August 28.

They include the controversial ban on late-term abortions that Governor Jay Nixon (D) allowed to become law without his signature.

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MO Statehouse/Withholds lawsuit
2:53 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

Schweich sues Nixon over withholdings

State auditor Tom Schweich has filed suit over $170 million that Gov. Jay Nixon withheld from the 2012 state budget.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri auditor Tom Schweich has sued Gov. Jay Nixon over $170 million in funds the governor withheld from the 2012 budget to pay for disaster relief.

An audit released by Schweich's office last week was sharply critical of the withholds. The suit filed today is based on many of the audit's findings, including:

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Missouri "Facebook" law
11:24 am
Fri August 26, 2011

Missouri judge blocks Facebook limits for teachers

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Updated 4:19 p.m. with comment from the Missouri State Teachers Association and Missouri State Sen. Jane Cunningham, the sponsor of the original bill which became law

From Todd Fuller of the Missouri State Teachers Association:

“It’s a sigh of relief for all teachers throughout the state who use social media, and it allows them to continue to use it in the positive way that they’re already using it and continue to interact with their students the way they have been.”

From Missouri State Sen.  Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, who sponsored the bill.  She acknowledges that there’s been confusion over what the restrictions will and won’t do, and says she has a solution:

“We have come up with some language that we feel like is ready to go…we don’t need to punt for more input, (I’m) not opposed to it, but we’ve got some agreed upon language with the stakeholders and we’re ready to clarify that language.”

Updated 1:11 p.m. with Gov. Nixon's action

Gov. Jay Nixon says he will add the teacher Internet issue to the agenda for a special legislative session that begins Sept. 6. Nixon says he wants lawmakers to repeal the new law.

His Friday announcement came shortly after a Missouri judge issued a preliminary injunction (see below) blocking the law from taking effect as scheduled on Sunday.

Updated 11:32 a.m. with link to full ruling

A Missouri judge has blocked a law restricting Internet communications between teachers and students from taking effect Sunday.

(You can read the full ruling here).

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a preliminary injunction against the law Friday, calling it a staggering prohibition of free speech rights.

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Performance-based funding
9:39 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Nixon wants performance-based funding for Mo. universities

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (D).
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants to move Missouri’s universities and community colleges back to a performance-based funding model.

It would mark a return to the way business was once conducted.  Graduation rates and similar markers were used as a basis for funding public colleges in Missouri, but the system was dumped a decade ago during an economic recession.

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