Author

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas covers civil rights, criminal justice and immigration. She has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, most recently as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation's leading African-American newspaper.

Missouri legal aid agencies receive $126M windfall from Johnson & Johnson talc liability judgment

By: - June 9, 2022

A fund Missouri legislators created 20 years ago to provide low-income residents with civil legal services received an unprecedented $126 million in funding this year. Last year’s budget appropriation was $2.7 million.  On May 6, the legislature passed a supplemental budget bill appropriating the funds to the state’s “basic civil legal services fund,” which is […]

Missouri poised to remove unenforceable discriminatory housing restrictions in deeds

By: - June 9, 2022

Realtor Shari Asher’s clients were in the process of listing their home in Monett in 2019 when they saw something in the deed that rattled them. “When I sat down at their dinner table, I could tell they were both very embarrassed,” Asher said. “The wife slid a stack of papers across the table to […]

Protesters at Medicaid expansion rally

Missouri hopes to finally shrink months-long wait times for Medicaid coverage

By: - June 1, 2022

Missouri officials vowed again Wednesday to lower the number of days it takes to process Medicaid applications – which was an average of 101 days in April — and come into federal compliance with the maximum of 45 days.  “We’ll get to a place where we should be processing in under 45 days by the […]

Missouri bill banning unauthorized camping raises concerns about criminalizing homelessness

By: - May 30, 2022

Micah Titterington was among hundreds of organization leaders who opposed a measure in the Missouri legislature this year that they argue would criminalize homelessness statewide. Modeled on legislation pushed in states across the country by a conservative nonprofit from Texas called the Cicero Institute, the Missouri bill sought to ban people from sleeping on state-owned […]

Missouri legislators load up state’s official calendar with awareness days

By: - May 23, 2022

The bill started out as just one word.  “Literally adding the word ‘Captain’ to the David Dorn Memorial Highway on Highway (State Route) 180 here in St. Louis County,” said Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin.  When they named the highway in his honor last year, legislators accidentally left out the title for Dorn, a retired St. […]

Missouri Capitol

Bill forcing Kansas City to put more money toward police heads to governor’s desk

By: - May 13, 2022

The amount of funding Kansas City would be required to put towards its police department would increase under legislation headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Tony Luetkemeyer, R- Parkville, raises the portion of Kansas City’s budget that must be devoted to the police department from 20% to 25% – a $65.2 […]

Voter ID bill clears Missouri legislature despite fierce criticism from Black Democrats

By: - May 12, 2022

Missouri voters will be required to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot under a wide-ranging elections bill headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. The bill includes several other provisions —  such as prohibiting touchscreen voting machines, and requiring a number of cybersecurity checks — that came out of hearings last summer, where […]

Democrat filibuster derails GOP measure to change initiative petition process

By: - May 11, 2022

After hours of filibustering in the Missouri Senate, including a spirited game of charades, Democrats stopped an attempt by Republicans Wednesday to make it harder for voters to amend the state constitution through the initiative petition process.  The measure sponsored by Rep. Mike Henderson, R-Bonne Terre, originally would have asked voters to increase the number […]

Voter ID requirement, absentee ballot changes clear Missouri Senate

By: - May 9, 2022

The Missouri Senate passed a wide-ranging elections bill Monday that would enact a photo ID requirement to vote as well as create a window to cast an absentee ballot without an excuse.  The bill will now go back to the House, which can send it to the governor or ask for a conference to work […]

GOP eyes bill forcing Kansas City to put more money toward police as session nears end

By: - May 9, 2022

After the Democratic mayors of Kansas City and St. Louis last year moved to shift police funds towards community outreach and crime prevention initiatives, Republican lawmakers in Jefferson City vowed a response.  GOP-backed legislation filed this year would increase the portion of Kansas City’s budget it must devote to its police department. Another bill would […]

Lincoln University poised to receive full state match for land-grant funding

By: - May 6, 2022

Missouri lawmakers took the historic step Friday of voting to allocate the full state match that Lincoln University needs to receive the maximum amount of federal land-grant funding available. The funding, included in the state’s $45 billion operating budget passed Friday by the House and Senate, now heads to the governor’s desk. “This is the […]

Republicans tussle over bill to provide warm meals to some Missouri SNAP recipients

By: - April 27, 2022

When state Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder was 18 and struggling to raise a baby, she applied for federal food assistance to help her get back on her feet.  “I can cook a pot of beans and cornbread and make that last a couple of days,” Rehder, R-Sikeston, said during Monday’s Senate debate.  But some people […]