Author

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas covers civil rights, criminal justice and immigration. She has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, most recently as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation's leading African-American newspaper.

Reparations for Black Americans seeing unprecedented national support, advocates say

By: - June 17, 2022

Callie House walked out of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City on August 1, 1918, and headed back to her five children and job as a “washerwoman” in Tennessee.  Her crime – mail fraud.  The federal government claimed that the organization she’d helped lead since 1894 – the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty, and […]

St. Louis mayor signs executive order banning no-knock search warrants

By: - June 14, 2022

St. Louis has become the first Missouri city to completely ban no-knock search warrants, or warrants that allow police officers to enter a property without announcing their presence. Surrounded by family members whose loved ones were killed during no-knock raids, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed an executive order Tuesday banning the practice that has […]

As Juneteenth nears, St. Louis organizations call for reparations

By: - June 10, 2022

Residents living in some majority Black neighborhoods in St. Louis have a 18-year lower life expectancy than residents of majority white neighborhoods less than 10 miles away, a regional health study found. For over a century, Black St. Louis residents have experienced housing policies and development strategies that have trapped generations in segregated and disinvested neighborhoods, […]

Missouri legal aid agencies receive $126M windfall from Johnson & Johnson talc liability judgment

By: - June 9, 2022

A fund Missouri legislators created 20 years ago to provide low-income residents with civil legal services received an unprecedented $126 million in funding this year. Last year’s budget appropriation was $2.7 million.  On May 6, the legislature passed a supplemental budget bill appropriating the funds to the state’s “basic civil legal services fund,” which is […]

Missouri poised to remove unenforceable discriminatory housing restrictions in deeds

By: - June 9, 2022

Realtor Shari Asher’s clients were in the process of listing their home in Monett in 2019 when they saw something in the deed that rattled them. “When I sat down at their dinner table, I could tell they were both very embarrassed,” Asher said. “The wife slid a stack of papers across the table to […]

Protesters at Medicaid expansion rally

Missouri hopes to finally shrink months-long wait times for Medicaid coverage

By: - June 1, 2022

Missouri officials vowed again Wednesday to lower the number of days it takes to process Medicaid applications – which was an average of 101 days in April — and come into federal compliance with the maximum of 45 days.  “We’ll get to a place where we should be processing in under 45 days by the […]

Missouri bill banning unauthorized camping raises concerns about criminalizing homelessness

By: - May 30, 2022

Micah Titterington was among hundreds of organization leaders who opposed a measure in the Missouri legislature this year that they argue would criminalize homelessness statewide. Modeled on legislation pushed in states across the country by a conservative nonprofit from Texas called the Cicero Institute, the Missouri bill sought to ban people from sleeping on state-owned […]

Missouri legislators load up state’s official calendar with awareness days

By: - May 23, 2022

The bill started out as just one word.  “Literally adding the word ‘Captain’ to the David Dorn Memorial Highway on Highway (State Route) 180 here in St. Louis County,” said Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin.  When they named the highway in his honor last year, legislators accidentally left out the title for Dorn, a retired St. […]

Missouri Capitol

Bill forcing Kansas City to put more money toward police heads to governor’s desk

By: - May 13, 2022

The amount of funding Kansas City would be required to put towards its police department would increase under legislation headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Tony Luetkemeyer, R- Parkville, raises the portion of Kansas City’s budget that must be devoted to the police department from 20% to 25% – a $65.2 […]

Voter ID bill clears Missouri legislature despite fierce criticism from Black Democrats

By: - May 12, 2022

Missouri voters will be required to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot under a wide-ranging elections bill headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. The bill includes several other provisions —  such as prohibiting touchscreen voting machines, and requiring a number of cybersecurity checks — that came out of hearings last summer, where […]

Democrat filibuster derails GOP measure to change initiative petition process

By: - May 11, 2022

After hours of filibustering in the Missouri Senate, including a spirited game of charades, Democrats stopped an attempt by Republicans Wednesday to make it harder for voters to amend the state constitution through the initiative petition process.  The measure sponsored by Rep. Mike Henderson, R-Bonne Terre, originally would have asked voters to increase the number […]

Voter ID requirement, absentee ballot changes clear Missouri Senate

By: - May 9, 2022

The Missouri Senate passed a wide-ranging elections bill Monday that would enact a photo ID requirement to vote as well as create a window to cast an absentee ballot without an excuse.  The bill will now go back to the House, which can send it to the governor or ask for a conference to work […]