Author

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller covers the state budget and the legislature. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he spent 22 of his 32 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics for the Columbia Daily Tribune, where he won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.

Missouri lawmakers warn lack of confidence in MoDOT could stall funding for major projects

By: - February 1, 2023

The state Senate’s top leader delivered a stern warning Wednesday to the governor’s nominees for the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, saying lawmakers have “no confidence” in the transportation department’s leadership and that could stall plans for major highway investments. The warning came during the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee hearing for Brian Treece, a former […]

Missouri Senate leader’s tweet about drag performance helped kickstart controversy

By: - January 31, 2023

With a single tweet, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden turned a local controversy over what Columbia Public Schools told parents about the drag entertainment at a city diversity breakfast into a state issue. At 8:44 p.m. on Jan. 19, Rowden wrote that his “office has been inundated with calls & emails re: grade […]

Missouri Republican pushes to legalize ‘magic mushrooms’ to treat depression, PTSD

By: - January 30, 2023

The magic in “magic mushrooms” may be the ability to defeat post-traumatic stress disorder, and a St. Charles County Republican lawmaker wants to make them legal in a treatment setting. State Rep. Tony Lovasco of O’Fallon isn’t a hippie. He says he’s never taken psilocybin mushrooms or smoked a joint. “I’ve never even smoked a […]

Four bills making initiative petition process harder passed by Missouri House committee

By: - January 26, 2023

A Missouri House committee approved four versions of proposals to overhaul the initiative petition process Thursday on party-line votes, despite warnings of well-funded opposition if lawmakers put one on the ballot. The differences among the competing proposals were enough that House Elections Committee Chairwoman Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, said she didn’t feel comfortable combining them. “I […]

Missouri realtors vow to fight GOP push to make it harder to amend state constitution

By: - January 24, 2023

The Missouri Association of Realtors, an organization that spent millions in recent years on two successful initiative petition campaigns, is warning lawmakers it will oppose anything more than tinkering with the way the constitution is amended by voters. During testimony Tuesday before the House Elections and Elected Officials Committee, Sam Licklider, lobbyist for the realtors, […]

Drag performers at Columbia event push back against Missouri Republican attack

By: and - January 23, 2023

A drag performance last week at a diversity event attended by Columbia middle schoolers was “high-brow and innocent,” not the salacious sexual display alleged by Missouri Republicans, the marketing director for the group behind the performance said Sunday. At the annual Columbia Values Diversity Breakfast, timed to be near the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, […]

Lawsuit seeks to overturn Missouri abortion ban as violation of religious rights

By: - January 19, 2023

When Missouri lawmakers put the words “Almighty God is the author of life” into the section of law stating the General Assembly’s intent for abortion regulations, they crossed the line separating church and state, a lawsuit filed Thursday in St. Louis charges. Thirteen Christian and Jewish leaders are suing the state and six elected prosecutors […]

Parson makes I-70 a focus for Missouri budget heavy on infrastructure, education spending

By: - January 18, 2023

Gov. Mike Parson wants to spend nearly $1 billion to widen Interstate 70 in congested areas while seeking federal funding to complete the job statewide. In his budget proposal delivered to lawmakers Wednesday, Parson asked for $859 million from the more than $5 billion in surplus general revenue to widen the highway in suburban areas […]

Vivek Malek takes office as Missouri Treasurer during ceremony in House chamber

By: - January 17, 2023

Vivek Malek began his tenure as Missouri State Treasurer on Tuesday surrounded by hundreds of friends, including some he helped become Americans. Malek, a Republican appointed by Gov. Mike Parson to replace Scott Fitzpatrick, elected state auditor last year, said the turnout that filled the Missouri House chamber to watch him take the oath of […]

Committee appointed to consider recount request in close Missouri House race

By: - January 12, 2023

Democrats picked up three seats in the Missouri House during the 2022 elections. Two months later, they are hopeful they may be able to capture another. On Wednesday, House Speaker Dean Plocher appointed a seven-member committee to review a challenge to the election of state Rep. Adam Schwadron, R-St. Charles, by his Democratic opponent, Cindy […]

Gov. Parson proposes raise for Missouri state employees, extra pay for night work

By: - January 11, 2023

State workers would get their biggest pay raise in living memory under a plan proposed Wednesday by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. In a news release, Parson said he wants to boost all state workers by 8.7% and to offer a $2 an hour night shift differential to employees in four agencies responsible for people under […]

Smithville Republican hopes to eliminate parking meters and fees on Missouri streets

By: - January 11, 2023

Sometimes it is a nickel at a time, other times a quarter. Or perhaps it is high tech, and those small payments are made through an app or kiosk that accepts debit or credit cards. However paid, parking meters in Missouri collect millions of dollars annually. State Rep. Joshua Hurlbert, R-Smithville, wants to cut off […]