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: How Missouri controls filibusters

By: - April 2, 2021

The debate about changing U.S. Senate filibuster rules demonstrates how different that chamber is from Missouri’s Senate. Missouri Senate rules make it more difficult to kill a bill by a filibuster. Unlike the U.S. Senate, a filibustering Missouri senator must maintain the floor, although the floor can be yielded to a colleague to grab a […]


Capitol Perspectives: Missouri’s legislative second half

By: - March 15, 2021

The Missouri legislature’s week-long break that began Monday is a good time to assess where the General Assembly may head in the second half of it’s annual session. This year taxes, school choice, voter rights and COVID-19 promise to be dominating issues. On taxes, the legislature left for spring break with eclectic decisions by the […]


Capitol Perspectives: Legislative efforts vs. the Constitution

By: - March 5, 2021

This year, an effort to provide financial help for parents to send their kids to alternative schools could run afoul of two very clear provisions of the state’s Constitution. The issue arises from a bill that started out as a simple idea to give home-schooled kids the right to participate in public school sports. But […]

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

Capitol Perspectives: Punishment of legislators

By: - February 19, 2021

Missouri history provides a fascinating contrast to the US House vote to remove Rep. Marjorie Greene, R-Georgia, from committee assignments. Unlike Greene, similar disciplinary actions in Missouri against members have avoided a partisan split and required a simple action by the leader of the legislator’s own party. Currently, Missouri has three House members who have […]


Capitol Perspectives: Legislative independence

By: - February 5, 2021

A major question for this year’s session of the Missouri General Assembly is whether Republican legislative leaders will continue a recent display of independence from their fellow Republican Gov. Mike Parson. Three times in recent months, Republican legislative leaders have shown near historic resistance to their party’s leader. In the first 2020 special session, the […]


Capitol Perspectives: An invasion of the U.S. Capitol 

By: - January 18, 2021

This column is prompted by the pictures of the Capitol assault that triggered fond memories of where I had been an NPR reporter for about six months before I was recruited to start MU’s State Government Reporting in Missouri’s Capitol. While the invasion of our U.S. Capitol raises several major issues for our country, this […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Capitol Perspectives: A time for setting legislative priorities

By: - January 4, 2021

The start of Missouri’s legislature during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about how lawmakers will adjust to the realities of this rampant virus. Just visualize a state Capitol during a normal legislative session with legislators, legislative staffers, lobbyists, agency officials, visitors and reporters crowded into committee rooms and narrow hallways. Because […]


Capitol Perspectives: Teach your children well

By: - December 17, 2020

This column is inspired by a 1970 song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for parents to “teach your children well.” I’ve been thinking about that song often as I’ve wondered how my relatives who were stuck at home during World War II dealt with restrictions similar to what we’re encountering with COVID-19. They tried […]

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

Capitol Perspectives: I live in my district

By: - December 4, 2020

When Missouri’s House begins its 2021 session, it may face a fascinating issue of residency which has a long history. The issue arises from a St. Louis Post Dispatch report that Rep. Nick Schroer, R-St. Charles County, purchased a home for his family outside of his House district — while claiming residency in his district […]


Capitol Perspectives: What’s next?

By: - November 24, 2020

The title of this column is a question that kept popping into my head during Missouri’s gubernatorial campaign. That question repeatedly was asked by fictional Pres. Jed Bartlet in the TV series West Wing of two decades ago. Bartlet used that question to cut off meandering conversations by his staff that went nowhere. To one […]


Capitol Perspectives: Election night reporting history

By: - November 5, 2020

There are four Missourians who helped develop the systems that provide you with accurate and prompt election night returns. To understand this column, you need to realize that the results reported on election night are neither official nor complete. In fact, Missouri law provides a several-week delay after the election to assure accuracy of the […]


Capitol Perspectives: Further reflections on Gov. Mel Carnahan’s death

By: - October 30, 2020

The recent thoughts written by others about the tragic death of Gov. Mel Carnahan two decades ago have prompted me to add some personal details. There was something about Carnahan that touched all of us who covered the statehouse during his time in the Capitol. The informal, completely transparent and laid-back personality of Carnahan were […]