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.
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.
Still no timeline for Missouri families awaiting summer 2022 food assistance
By: Clara Bates - February 6, 2023
Missouri has made progress toward gathering the necessary eligibility data to begin distributing the benefits, but state officials still will not provide a timeline for when benefits will be disbursed.
200,000 Missourians estimated to lose Medicaid as eligibility renewals resume
By: Clara Bates - February 2, 2023
The director of Missouri’s Medicaid program said he expects “about 200,000” Medicaid enrollees to lose coverage over the course of a year as a result of the state resuming annual eligibility renewals after a three-year pause. The state’s Department of Social Services has not previously provided a public estimate of those projected to lose coverage. […]
Missouri child welfare agency pitches plan to ‘rebuild’ overburdened foster care system
By: Clara Bates - January 26, 2023
The director of Missouri’s child welfare agency told lawmakers this week that the state has “effectively legally orphanized” around 1,500 children. Those children have had their legal ties to their biological parents severed — by a court, in what’s called termination of parental rights — but the social services agency had no adoptive parents ready […]
Missouri lawmakers make bipartisan push to extend postpartum care for new moms
By: Clara Bates - January 18, 2023
Lawmakers debated on Wednesday a bipartisan push to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage for low-income Missourians from 60 days to one year — among the first public hearings of the 2023 legislative session.