Author

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas is a solutions reporter who focuses on civil rights, criminal justice and the marijuana industry. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, including more than a decade as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation’s leading African-American newspaper.

St. Louis will narrow field of candidates for mayor in city’s first nonpartisan primary

By: - February 28, 2021

St. Louis will begin the process of electing a new mayor on Tuesday, when city voters choose two candidates to face off in the April 6 general election.  For the first time, the primary will be non-partisan, after a new “approval voting” system was enacted that placed all candidates on the same ballot and allowed […]

Missouri Republicans look to reinstate voter ID requirement

By: - February 25, 2021

About 137,700 registered voters in Missouri did not have a state-issued identification in 2017, according to an analysis from the Secretary of State’s Office.  Another 140,000 voters had expired IDs, and 2,000 more voters had forfeited their driver’s licenses. Under a bill passed Wednesday in the Missouri House, those registered voters would either have to get […]

protests in st. louis in 2017

Bill increasing penalties for protesters wins initial approval in Missouri Senate

By: - February 23, 2021

Republican state Senators advanced sweeping legislation early Tuesday morning aimed at penalizing protestors who block streets, while also providing further protections for law enforcement under investigation for misconduct or excessive force. The bill also aims to prevent municipalities from decreasing the budgets for law enforcement agencies in Missouri by more than 12 percent over five […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Republicans renew push to make it harder to change Missouri’s constitution

By: - February 17, 2021

When Alice Barber was collecting signatures to put the Clean Missouri constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018, she once stood outside the Springfield DMV in the snow for three hours — until her hands went numb inside her gloves. “I got about fifteen signatures,” she recently told the Missouri House elections committee. “The ballot […]

With gun deaths climbing, Missouri lawmakers push to loosen firearm restrictions

By: - February 15, 2021

While Missouri continues to struggle with one of the highest rates of gun deaths in the country, Republican lawmakers are advancing a litany of bills aimed at further loosening the state’s gun laws.  One proposal would allow guns on college campuses, while another would ban churches from prohibiting guns in places of worship. Others aim […]

Gov. Parson signs bill to approve $324 million for rental assistance

By: - February 11, 2021

Gov. Mike Parson signed into law Thursday legislation allocating $324 million in funding for rental assistance — part of the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress in December. The funds are available for both tenants and landlords through the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC).  The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program includes up to 12 months […]

Federal appeals court sides with journalists who were tear-gassed in Ferguson protests

By: - February 6, 2021

On the fifth day of the Ferguson protests in August 2014, St. Charles County sent their SWAT team in armored military vehicles to help block off West Florissant Avenue, which was considered “Ground Zero” for the protests.  Ash-har Quraishi, Marla Cichowski and Sam Winslade — reporters who were working for Al Jazeera America news network […]

Bill to ban chokeholds now paired with controversial residency bill for Kansas City police

By: - February 2, 2021

Just as a criminal justice reform bill appeared to be gaining traction in the Missouri Senate, it was attached on Monday to a controversial measure to eliminate the requirement that Kansas City police officers live in the city. On its own, Democratic Sen. Brian Williams’ bill would ban police chokeholds, specifically neck restraints that restrict […]

Missouri takes steps toward tightening accountability for law enforcement

By: - January 29, 2021

Brian Williams grew up in Ferguson, where Michael Brown Jr.’s shooting death sparked a national movement for police accountability in 2014.  Four years later, he was elected to the Missouri Senate as a Democrat representing his hometown district.  Williams, now 37, recalls times of being pulled over for “just driving while black.”  “I was handcuffed […]

Missouri legislators, staff receive COVID vaccine intended for other state employees

By: and - January 27, 2021

Some Missouri state lawmakers received the initial doses of COVID vaccine Wednesday at an event that was intended for employees from Missouri’s Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation. Ahead of Gov. Mike Parson’s State of the State speech, Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate were seen entering and leaving the […]

Missouri House budget committee signs off on $320 million for rental assistance

By: - January 26, 2021

Missouri lawmakers are hoping to quickly approve about $320 million in funding for rental assistance — part of the $25 billion in rental assistance passed by Congress in December’s COVID-19 relief package. The House Budget committee unanimously voted to advance the funding bill Tuesday afternoon. House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Jasper County, expects the […]

Missouri housing advocates look to Biden administration to strengthen eviction moratorium

By: - January 25, 2021

Freezing rain was pouring down when sheriff deputies knocked on Anthony Stinson’s apartment door in Kansas City.  It was 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 6.  At that time in Washington D.C., armed insurrectionists had begun battling police officers at the U.S. Capitol. While people across the country were gasping in horror, Stinson’s children — a two-year-old […]