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.

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 […]

Missouri Supreme Court reaffirms ruling on 2015 law capping revenue from court fines

By: - April 26, 2022

Following the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, the U.S. Department of Justice found that city’s police department and municipal court had intentionally worked together to increase revenue through fines and traffic tickets. Responding to public outcry, Missouri legislators passed a law limiting the amount of revenue St. Louis County municipalities can collect from court fines to […]

Missouri Republicans push plan to prohibit local eviction moratoriums

By: - April 21, 2022

Eviction moratoriums designed to keep people in their homes during the pandemic have drawn the ire of Missouri lawmakers, with Republicans pushing a plan to prohibit them in the future.  State Rep. Chris Brown, R-Kansas City, is sponsoring a measure that would prohibit any county, municipality, or political subdivision from imposing or enforcing a moratorium […]

St. Louis mayor vowed to transform public safety. Her first year saw progress, pushback

By: - April 19, 2022

A year ago, a movement of organizers hoping to curb police violence and transform public safety claimed a major victory – helping Tishaura Jones get elected mayor of St. Louis. In her first week, she signed an executive order to close loopholes in the civilian oversight process of police misconduct investigations and redirected $4 million […]

Missouri House advances funds for doula training program named after Cora Faith Walker

By: - April 18, 2022

After 28 hours of labor, Adrianne Blakemore remembers the incredible joy she felt when her first son came into the world in 2017.  But she also felt completely exhausted. She wished she would’ve had a doula – someone dedicated to caring for the mother during and after pregnancy. Last year, Blakemore decided to take doula […]

Kim Gardner unlikely to lose law license over claims stemming from Eric Greitens probe

By: - April 11, 2022

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner will likely face a reprimand, but not lose her license to practice law, as a result of alleged misconduct during the investigation of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.  In an agreement between Gardner and the Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel unveiled Monday during a hearing in St. Louis County, […]