Clara Bates covers social services and poverty. She previously wrote for the Nevada Current, where she reported on labor violations in casinos, hurdles facing applicants for unemployment benefits and lax oversight of the funeral industry. She also wrote about vocational education for Democracy Journal. Bates is a graduate of Harvard College and a member of the Report for America Corps.
Missouri to begin Medicaid renewals, vowing as ‘seamless’ a process as possible
By: Clara Bates - March 29, 2023
As a pandemic policy expires and Missouri begins rechecking eligibility of around 1.6 million people on Medicaid, social services department leadership pledged Tuesday to make the process “as seamless as possible for as many people as we can.” Over the last three years, states have stopped reverifying whether Medicaid recipients on their rolls are still […]
Diversity initiatives within Missouri agencies run into GOP attack on ‘woke’ government
By: Rebecca Rivas, Clara Bates and Annelise Hanshaw - March 27, 2023
High employee turnover has plagued Missouri’s Department of Social Services for years. The department’s staffing woes have contributed to a range of problems — from foster children languishing in state care for longer than they should be to disabled residents waiting months to receive federal food benefits to investigators unable to keep up with child […]
Missouri’s Department of Social Services sued for alleged Sunshine Law violations
By: Clara Bates - March 17, 2023
A software company that successfully sued the state and was awarded $23 million last year has filed a new lawsuit against Missouri’s Department of Social Services, alleging the agency “knowingly and purposefully” violated open records law. According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Cole County, Florida-based HHS Technology submitted a request for records to the […]
Disability-rights advocates decry planned cuts to transit service in St. Louis County
By: Clara Bates - March 17, 2023
The St. Louis region’s public transit agency plans to “improve customer service” by making cuts to its paratransit system serving those with disabilities. It’s a move disability rights advocates have decried as a “cruel” solution to a real problem. Metro Transit’s paratransit system, which is called Call-A-Ride, provides services for those with disabilities in St. […]
Proposals to eliminate Missouri sales tax on groceries in limbo
By: Clara Bates - March 16, 2023
Missouri is one of just 13 states that levies a sales tax on grocery food items. Citing the hefty burden on low-income shoppers and rising cost of food, several other states have moved to reduce the burden of the grocery sales tax. Kansas began phasing it out this year and Illinois suspended the tax for […]
Federal lawsuit over Missouri’s ‘dysfunctional’ SNAP call center adds two new plaintiffs
By: Clara Bates - March 3, 2023
For more than three months, Denise Davis waited to receive federal food benefits in Missouri. Health issues late last year left Davis unable to work. She is also experiencing homelessness, has no income or savings and has significant medical debt. But she could not get through to Missouri’s call center to receive the required interview […]
Mizzou students launch project to provide bilingual news to state’s Latino communities
By: Clara Bates - March 1, 2023
Their project, called De Veras, aims to increase the accessibility of information about immigration legal services, education and health to Missouri’s Latino community, among other services.
Federal approval of Missouri postpartum extension could be at risk over abortion amendment
By: Clara Bates - February 23, 2023
A push to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage in Missouri could face hurdles to federal approval after an abortion-related provision was added by Senate conservatives. The bill, which would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year, seeks to lower Missouri’s maternal mortality rate. The state had the 12th highest maternal mortality in the […]
Missouri legislator proposes tax credits aimed at mitigating child care ‘crisis’
By: Clara Bates - February 21, 2023
A Missouri House committee on Tuesday debated legislation that would establish several tax credits designed to improve access to affordable child care and stabilize the industry.
Missouri Senate advances bill to prevent loss of public benefits over small pay bump
By: Clara Bates - February 20, 2023
A bill that aims to soften the steep drop-off in public benefits that low-income Missourians face when their earnings increase won initial approval in the Missouri Senate Monday evening after pushback from conservative Republicans. The Senate still needs to vote one more time before the bill is sent to the House for consideration. Sponsored by […]
Kanakuk abuse survivors urge Missouri lawmakers to extend statute of limitations
By: Clara Bates - February 14, 2023
Several survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including from Kanakuk and Boy Scouts of America, testified at a House judiciary hearing Monday night in support of a bill that would extend the civil statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Missouri child care providers say their industry is in crisis. We want to hear from parents and providers
By: Clara Bates and Dillon Bergin - February 8, 2023
We want to hear from families and providers about Missouri’s child care crisis, so we’re launching a form that you can use to tell us about your experiences working in or sending your children to child care programs in the state.