Author

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 file bills to automate expungements for non-violent offenses

By: - December 9, 2022

Crista Hogan estimates tens of thousands of people in Greene County are eligible to clean their criminal records of old non-violent misdemeanor and felony offenses — offenses she says limits their access to good-paying jobs and safe housing. But under state law, it requires people to file an arduous petition in court, along with a […]

Experts worry expungements under Missouri marijuana law could be procedural ‘nightmare’

By: - December 7, 2022

Thursday will be a big day for Missouri.  It’s the day the constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use goes into effect, allowing Missourians 21 or older to legally buy or possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants.  It’s also the day Missouri’s Department of Corrections says 565 people […]

Sen. Elaine Gannon

Republican Senator files bill to address state’s high maternal mortality

By: - December 2, 2022

In May, a bipartisan proposal to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for low-income women in Missouri to a full year after they’ve given birth was close to gaining approval from the state legislature.  But as the legislative session came to a close, the bill became collateral damage in the Republican Party’s bitter infighting, between the seven-member […]

Missouri Capitol

School shootings spur legislation for stricter gun safety regulations

By: - December 1, 2022

After the tragic St. Louis school shooting on Oct. 24 where a shooter killed a 15-year-old student and a health teacher, Missouri Democrats vowed to push legislation establishing stricter gun safety regulations. On Thursday — the first day legislators could pre-file bills — state  Rep. David Smith, D-Columbia, filed legislation to prohibit anyone under 20 […]

Missouri Supreme Court denies stay for Kevin Johnson’s execution

By: - November 28, 2022

The Missouri Supreme Court late Monday night refused to delay the execution of Kevin Johnson, a St. Louis man sentenced to die for a murder he committed when he was 19.  Johnson, who was convicted in 2007 of killing a police officer, was executed Tuesday evening. The Supreme Court held an expedited hearing Monday for […]

Kevin Johnson’s attorneys, special prosecutor ask Missouri Supreme Court to stay execution

By: - November 22, 2022

Attorneys for a St. Louis man sentenced to die for a murder he committed when he was 19 asked the Missouri Supreme Court Monday to delay his execution to allow for a hearing on alleged constitutional violations in his original trial. Kevin Johnson was convicted in 2007 of killing a police officer. He is scheduled […]

Marijuana vote divided Missouri social-justice leaders. Can an equity officer be a bridge?

By: - November 17, 2022

Longtime cannabis activist Brennan England has gotten lots of undeserved praise since Missourians approved a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana on Nov. 8. As the owner of a private cannabis consumption lounge in St. Louis, England understood why people thought he’d have a “go weed or go home” stance.  But it wasn’t that simple for […]

St. Louis challenge to police ‘bill of rights’ dismissed by Missouri judge

By: - November 15, 2022

A Missouri judge Monday dismissed the City of St. Louis’ effort to block a 2021 law bolstering protections for police under investigation for misconduct.  The city sued in December asking Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem to toss out the “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights,” a list of new requirements that includes giving officers […]

Bobby Bostic released on parole after being imprisoned in Missouri for 27 years

By: and - November 9, 2022

Standing on the Missouri Capitol steps moments after being released from prison, Bobby Bostic said the first place he planned to visit was his mother’s grave in St. Louis — a city he’d last freely walked in 1995. “I’m a free man all because of you all who supported me,” Bostic, 43, said Wednesday morning […]

Missouri voters amend state constitution to legalize recreational marijuana

By: - November 9, 2022

Missourians voted Tuesday to become the 21st state to legalize recreational marijuana, approving a constitutional amendment that also establishes a process to clear nonviolent marijuana-related charges from Missourians’ criminal records. Though down from the 66% of voters who approved medical cannabis in 2018, the recreational marijuana amendment on Tuesday received 53% of the vote. “Today’s […]

Missouri Republican explores legislative push to require schools to have armed security

By: - November 7, 2022

Within seven minutes of receiving a 911 call about an active shooter in a St. Louis high school, police and armed security guards were already in the building and engaging the suspect in gun fire.  The immediate response by police and school security on Oct. 24 at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School has […]

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announces opposition to Missouri marijuana amendment

By: - November 1, 2022

In a move highlighting a growing divide among Black leaders and organizations in Missouri over a push to legalize marijuana, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones on Tuesday announced she would oppose the measure appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot as Amendment 3.  While she supports legalization, Jones said she doesn’t support etching what she believes […]