Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covers education, health care and the legislature. She previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Judge Jon Beetem

Missouri judge asked to toss Ashcroft summary of education funding initiative petition

By: - January 20, 2022

A Cole County judge heard arguments Thursday over whether Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft wrote a misleading ballot summary for an initiative petition seeking to prohibit public tax dollars from going to private schools. The lawsuit was filed by Sherri Talbott, the treasurer of the political action committee Taxpayers for Accountability and a school board […]


Missouri House sends Congressional map to Senate without an emergency clause

By: - January 19, 2022

A redrawn Congressional map cleared the Missouri House on Wednesday, but without an emergency clause needed for it to go into effect before the Aug. 2 primary. Now, the map heads to the state Senate, where members of the chamber’s conservative caucus are already denouncing it for not doing away with a safe Democratic seat […]

Missouri House votes down 7-1 congressional map during redistricting debate

By: - January 18, 2022

The Missouri House overwhelmingly rejected efforts Tuesday to draw a Congressional map that would have reconfigured a Democratic seat in Kansas City in the GOP’s favor, and instead gave initial approval to a map that maintains the current party divisions. By a vote of 84 to 60, House members gave initial approval to a map […]

Bipartisan group of Missouri lawmakers hope to close domestic violence gun loophole

By: and - January 18, 2022

Marsha Keene-Frye grew up around guns, going hunting with her family from a young age near her home in Mississippi County. To this day, she still regularly carries a firearm and considers herself a supporter of the Second Amendment, just like most of her neighbors in southeastern Missouri. But for 27 years, Keene-Frye has worked […]

Missouri judge hears arguments over whether legislative rule violates open records law

By: - January 14, 2022

A government transparency advocate argued Friday that the Missouri House of Representatives is defying the will of the voters by withholding information from the public when responding to open records requests. Whether the Missouri House has the authority to withhold information, including the addresses and phone numbers of constituents, was at the heart of a […]

Missouri businesses oppose ban on COVID vaccine mandates, argue it’s their choice

By: - January 12, 2022

Proposals that would bar COVID-19 vaccine mandates and provide greater exemptions for vaccinations more broadly faced a wave of opposition from Missouri business groups Wednesday. Representatives for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Associated Industries of Missouri, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other business associations made clear to lawmakers that they’re against […]

Reps. Doug Richey and Nick Schroer

Missouri education committee puts early focus on parental rights, critical race theory

By: - January 11, 2022

The first education debate of the 2022 legislative session featured hours of discussion on Tuesday of a proposed “parents’ bill of rights” — and whether it would give parents more say in the classroom or instead have a chilling effect on how certain subjects are taught.  In a sign of where legislative priorities may fall, […]

Student studying at desk in classroom

Lawmakers eye expansion of Missouri school choice program. But can it get the votes?

By: - January 10, 2022

Coming off of last year’s success passing a tax credit to fund scholarships to pay for private school tuition, school choice advocates hope lawmakers will expand the program before it’s even gotten off the ground. But even with support from key legislative leaders, the idea faces long odds. Senate Bill 841, sponsored by Sen. Rick […]

Governor looks to target Missouri Sunshine Law during legislative session

By: - January 10, 2022

Amending Missouri’s open records law to permit government agencies to withhold more information from the public — and charge more for any records that are turned over — is among Gov. Mike Parson’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session. The changes, which were outlined in a presentation to Parson’s cabinet that was obtained by The […]

Missouri Senate opens annual session with bitter divisions on display

By: and - January 5, 2022

At the west end of the Missouri Capitol on Wednesday, the state House opened the annual legislative session in the traditional way, with routine business and a quick adjournment. At the east end, in the state Senate, bitter divisions exposed last year resurfaced, as members of the conservative caucus aired their grievances and Democrats brooded […]

GOP lawmakers renew effort to bar Planned Parenthood from Missouri Medicaid program

By: - January 3, 2022

After the issue ground legislative work to a halt last year, Missouri Republican lawmakers plan to renew their efforts to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer dollars when they return to the state Capitol this week. More than half a dozen bills have been filed so far that aim to strip abortion providers or their […]

Sens. Jeanie Riddle and Jill Schupp

‘The Eleven’: Women in Missouri Senate see new book as example of bipartisanship forged

By: - December 23, 2021

The women of the Missouri Senate are telling their own stories through a forthcoming children’s book that chronicles the journeys of lawmakers past and present. Titled, “You Can, Too!,” the book recounts the stories of the 36 women who have served in the state Senate over the course of the chamber’s history. The book is […]