Phill Brooks

Phill Brooks

Phill Brooks has been a Missouri statehouse reporter since 1970, making him dean of the statehouse press corps. He is the statehouse correspondent for KMOX Radio, director of MDN and an emeritus faculty member of the Missouri School of Journalism. He has covered every governor since the late Warren Hearnes.


Capitol Perspectives: Judicial correction of legislative gaffes

By: - November 5, 2021

A recent New York Times article about U.S. Supreme Court edits of wording mistakes reminded me about how Missouri’s Supreme Court has dealt with legislative mistakes. The New York Times story referenced an editing correction the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1928 property-rights case in which decision incorrectly used the word “property” for what was […]


Capitol Perspectives: A personal perspective of Todd Akin

By: - October 18, 2021

I write this column about Todd Akin hoping it provides readers a better perspective about journalists and public officials, but also that it might encourage politicians and public officials to be less hostile about journalistic motivations. Akin’s Oct. 3 death reminded me of the special relationship we had which I suspect will surprise many of […]


Capitol Perspectives: The governor’s charge of a journalist hack

By: - October 15, 2021

I’m writing this column after one of the most vicious and unfounded attacks I’ve heard by a Missouri governor against a major Missouri news organization. It involves the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story published Thursday about how a state education department website allowed access to the Social Security numbers of teachers. Rather than praising the newspaper’s […]


Capitol Perspectives: The loss of a major state leader, Jim Mathewson

By: - October 1, 2021

Missouri has lost one of the most influential Senate leaders in at least the past half century. It would be difficult to exaggerate the accomplishments of Jim Mathewson who died Sept. 28 from cancer. The Sedalia Democrat served nearly one-quarter of a century in Missouri’s Senate achieving a pile of major legislative accomplishments. After serving […]


Capitol Perspectives: Impeaching governors

By: - August 20, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent resignation following allegations of inappropriate behavior with women staffers offers some interesting similarities but also contrasts with the resignation of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who faced allegations of violent sexual misconduct. Both resigned while facing likely impeachment. But the constitutional grounds for impeachment are quite different between the […]

The Missouri House floor for the 2019 State of the State address.

Capitol Perspectives: Medicaid’s financial history

By: - July 23, 2021

There is a fascinating history to Missouri’s recent special session to fix the legislature’s failure to continue one of the state’s most important financial mechanisms that assures adequate funding for Medicaid health coverage. The mechanism goes back to 1990, when Missouri accepted voluntary contributions from the Missouri Hospital Association to provide higher Medicaid reimbursements for […]


Capitol Perspectives: The two sides of Bob Griffin

By: - July 12, 2021

The passing of former Missouri House Speaker Bob Griffin last week reminds me of a conflict I’ve seen so often with public officials between dedication to serving the public versus seeking financial or political gain. In his historic 15 years as speaker, Griffin accomplished so much and respect from his colleagues of both sides of […]

Protesters at Medicaid expansion rally

Capitol Perspectives: Missouri’s Medicaid history

By: - July 9, 2021

The Missouri legislature’s recent special session on Medicaid involves a dominant state issue with a long and fascinating history. It begins in 1945 when President Harry Truman called for a national health insurance program. Twenty years later, Congress added two health-care provisions of Truman’s vision into the Social Security law. It was signed by President […]


Capitol Perspectives: The price of a purge

By: - June 22, 2021

A recent suggestion by a Missouri Senator of a Senate leadership purge reminded me about the last time the Senate’s top┬áleader was ousted. Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, made his suggestion in a letter to Republican senators, reported by The Missouri Independent, complaining about how Senate leaders consulted with Democrats on his amendment to ban Medicaid […]

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives celebrate the close of the 2021 legislative session

Capitol Perspectives: A most unusual legislative session

By: - May 18, 2021

The 2021 Missouri legislative session was one of the most unusual and unpredictable of the legislative gatherings I’ve covered in some 50 years. Despite Republicans holding an overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate, Democrats scored some major victories for issues they pushed including restrictions on police choke holds, extending court-order protection orders against […]


Capitol Perspectives: A possible tax increase

By: - April 29, 2021

One of the fascinating issues for the 2021 legislative session has been the idea of a tax increase. You would think such an idea would be dead on arrival in a Republican-controlled legislature. But the issue is far more complicated. Essentially, it’s a proposal to impose a sales tax on your online purchases from merchants […]

The Missouri House Chamber

Capitol Perspectives: Kicking the can down the road

By: - April 16, 2021

The Missouri House refusal to fund voter-approved Medicaid expansion reminded me of a long Missouri legislative tactic of “kicking the can down the road” involving state funding for Medicaid. The Federal Medicaid program requires a state to provide matching funds to be eligible for the much larger chunk of federal funds. Yet for more years […]