Rachel Lippmann

Reporter

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

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The Missouri Supreme Court is soliciting comments and suggestions from residents on how to improve municipal courts statewide.
Steakpinball | Flickr

Eighty municipal courts in St. Louis County have agreed to levy identical fines and court fees for charges like speeding or driving without insurance.

Jane Dueker at the Missouri Supreme Court April 8, 2015
Pool photo by Karen Elshout | Missouri Lawyers Media

In a case that could have implications for efforts to reform the state's municipal court system, the Missouri Supreme Court is weighing whether a 2013 version of the so-called "Macks Creek" law violates the state Constitution.

The suit filed by the Missouri Municipal League does not challenge the 30 percent cap the current version of the law places on revenue generated by traffic fines and fees. Instead, the League challenged an enforcement mechanism inserted in the law in 2013 -- municipal courts are blocked from hearing traffic cases if the city doesn't comply with the law, including filing financial reports with the state auditor's office, and sending any excess traffic fines revenue to the state.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com)

Updated April 7, 2015 with court ruling allowing Flynt to intervene.

A federal appeals court has given Hustler publisher Larry Flynt the right to ask that certain records in two court cases challenging Missouri's execution process be unsealed.

The unsigned opinion issued Tuesday by a panel of the 8th Circuit does not make the documents public. It simply gives Flynt the right to argue that they should not be kept secret. 

FBI agents enter the ABB manufacturing complex on January 7, 2010.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The families of two of the men killed in a mass shooting more than five years ago will get their day in court starting Monday.

Ferguson police headquarters on March 3, 2015
File photo by UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nearly a month ago, the U.S. Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Ferguson Police Department. The federal Civil Rights Division found the city's "law enforcement practices were shaped by the city's focus on revenue rather than on public safety needs," causing a pattern of stops and arrests that violated the constitutional rights of the city's majority black population.

photo of NLEC. Only emergency shelter in the region that will take anyone. Run by Larry Rice
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis says it will meet an April 12 deadline to open new emergency homeless shelters.

The city announced in February that it was seeking providers who were capable of opening as many as 250 beds by that deadline, either by expanding their existing facilities or by building new ones.

Clouds of tear gas on West Florissant Ave. August 2014
Durrie Bouscaren

(Updated 4:12 p.m. with comments from attorneys.)

The three agencies that made up the "unified command" during protests in Ferguson over the summer will have to provide warning before using tear gas or other chemical agents to disperse peaceful crowds.

fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson at right
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

The delay in getting a proposed $200 million bond issue in front of St. Louis voters is starting to complicate the process of putting together the city's budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

Mayor Francis Slay with police officials 3.23.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

A spike in daytime burglaries and the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy near O'Fallon Park are the driving factors behind the latest policing hotspot by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

"Catching the bad guys, making the neighborhood safer. That's what this is about," said Mayor Francis Slay, who spoke to the officers at their daily pre-shift meeting. "It's not as simple as that, of course, but certainly that's the bottom line." 

(St. Louis County Police)

For the first time in its 55 years, the St. Louis County police department is taking part of its recruitment process on the road.

Anyone who wants to enter the county's police academy has to pass a written test and a physical evaluation, as well as meet certain other criteria. Those tests are usually offered only at the academy building in Wellston, but this weekend, they'll both be offered at a neutral site.

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