Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas is a multimedia reporter who covers Missouri's cannabis 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.

Missouri Republicans pass bill to counter calls to ‘defund the police’

By: - May 14, 2021

Missouri Republicans have pushed through a bill that would penalize cities that cut police budgets and bolster protections for officers under investigation for misconduct. The House took a final vote on Friday afternoon, sending the bill to the governor’s desk. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, said the budget piece was a way […]

Missouri Senate approves bill seeking to nullify federal gun laws

By: - May 13, 2021

State and local law enforcement would be prohibited from enforcing certain federal gun laws under legislation approved Thursday night by the Missouri Senate. For more than six hours, Democratic Senators tried to add an amendment to the bill aimed at keeping people convicted of domestic abuse from buying and keeping firearms — but ultimately failed.  […]

Missouri lawmakers close to passing bill targeting protesters, cities that cut police budget

By: - May 13, 2021

This story has been updated since it first published.  A push to crackdown on protesters that block roadways, penalize cities that cut police budgets and bolster protections for officers under investigation for misconduct is on the precipice of clearing the Missouri Legislature — though Senate Democrats vow to fight to kill it.  Sen. Bill Eigel, […]

The Ferguson movement is on the cusp of revolutionizing political power in St. Louis

By: - May 6, 2021

This is part two of a collaboration between The Missouri Independent and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Read part one. Hear the audio version of this story here. The race was too close. Kayla Reed, co-founder and executive director of Action St. Louis, curled over her desk. Her long, dark locs created curtains […]

‘The fight has to change’: Why Ferguson activists ditched police reform

By: - May 3, 2021

This is part one of a collaboration between The Missouri Independent and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Read part two. Hear the audio version of this story here.  Ten days after Michael Brown, it was 25-year-old Kajieme Powell. Two months later, it was 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr. All in the St. Louis region. […]

‘It’s a new day’: Tishaura Jones’ victory an historic moment for St. Louis

By: - April 7, 2021

St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones was about to step off the podium at her victory party Tuesday night when a young Black journalist called out, “What do you have to say to those Black girls on the north side?” An hour before, Jones had learned that she will become the first Black woman to lead […]

As evictions loom, federal moratorium extends and Missouri rental assistance expands

By: - April 3, 2021

About 7,000 households in St. Louis County will receive an urgent postcard this weekend. In big, bold letters, it states: “Do you need help paying the rent or utilities?” These families are at risk of eviction, according to the St. Louis COVID-19 Regional Response Team, which sent the cards. And, 600 of them have eviction […]

St. Louis church helps Missourians navigate system to obtain state-issued IDs

By: - March 17, 2021

Edna Scott and Juan Chambers arrived early at St. Francis Xavier College Church on Tuesday morning. But the line was already out the door.  Just like them, about 20 people were waiting at 9 a.m. to get into the church’s identification outreach program. They needed birth certificates or state IDs in order to get jobs, […]

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing student Hannah Tipton administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Clifford Nevins during MU Health Care’s vaccination clinic in the Walsworth Family Columns Club

COVID affects Black Missourians disproportionately. Vaccine is slow to get to them

By: and - March 7, 2021

When the pandemic hit St. Louis last March, it soon became clear that the majority of COVID hospital patients were coming from north St. Louis — where the state’s largest Black population is.  “That is concerning,” Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said in April. “That shows […]

Missouri Supreme Court denies Lamar Johnson a new trial

By: - March 2, 2021

Nearly two years ago, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed a motion for a new trial for Lamar Johnson, who has now spent 26 years in jail.  Gardner alleged former prosecutors and police fabricated evidence to get Johnson’s murder conviction in 1995. However, a circuit judge ruled Gardner didn’t have the power to file […]

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 […]