Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller covers the state budget and the legislature. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he spent 22 of his 32 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics for the Columbia Daily Tribune, where he won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.

Missouri pension bills include benefits for lawmakers, officials while in office

By: - June 8, 2023

Inside pension bills with provisions to encourage retired teachers to return to the classroom and protect the finances of the Missouri Sheriffs Retirement System are provisions that could boost the incomes of Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and at least three legislators. But the idea’s biggest legislative proponents, who actually don’t stand to […]

Report shows Black drivers in Missouri more likely to be ticketed, arrested

By: - June 3, 2023

Black motorists stopped by Missouri law enforcement are much more likely to end the encounter with a citation or in a jail cell than whites, according to the latest state report of racial data on traffic enforcement. The report also shows that Black drivers away from their home communities – or visiting the state – […]

Missouri rule takes effect putting library funds in jeopardy over ‘obscene’ material

By: - May 31, 2023

Missouri public libraries survived a legislative fight over state aid but now face a new hurdle to obtain the money – they must certify to the Secretary of State that they have policies in place that put parents in charge of what their children read and see. The most likely response from libraries, leaders of […]

Missouri bill ends crack penalty disparity, raises age for trying youths as adults

By: - May 30, 2023

Missouri legislators this year rolled back two high-profile laws passed during tough-on-crime crusades of the 1980s and 1990s. One would end the sentencing disparity that imposes the same penalty for selling an ounce of crack cocaine as a pound of powder cocaine. The other would bar the courts from trying children aged 12 or 13 […]

Missouri bill allows payments to wrongly convicted — as long as they promise not to sue

By: - May 24, 2023

A bill awaiting action on Gov. Mike Parson’s desk would allow more state inmates released after being proven innocent to receive compensation — with a larger payment — but they would have to give up the right to sue the people who put them behind bars. The bill, passed a day before the Senate descended […]

Missouri bill tightens licensing rules in wake of GOP lawmaker’s medical fraud conviction

By: - May 19, 2023

When then-state Rep. Tricia Derges was indicted in 2021 for selling fake stem cell treatments at her southwest Missouri clinics, it put a spotlight on the licensing process that allowed her to set up shop as an M.D. with a degree from an unaccredited offshore medical school. In February Derges began serving a six-year federal […]

Missouri bill would shift sales tax collection to car dealers

By: - May 18, 2023

In a Columbia parking lot on Wednesday afternoon, there was a reminder of Christmas. It wasn’t leftover decorations or early preparations for a summer “Christmas in July” sale. It was the temporary tag on the back of a Jeep Cherokee that expired on Christmas Day. Handed out by an auto dealer at the time of […]

Workers picket Columbia dispensary in push to unionize Missouri marijuana workers

By: and - May 17, 2023

A few days before the unofficial marijuana holiday of April 20, as retailers prepared for the biggest sales day since legalization, Austin Monroe says he was fired by Shangri La South dispensary in Columbia. Monroe is one of 16 employees of the cannabis dispensary who signed an organizing petition seeking union representation by Local 655 […]

Lawmakers pack Missouri budget with earmarks for local agencies, building projects

By: - May 16, 2023

Lone Jack Police Chief Tim Cosner was confused.  His state senator, Mike Cierpiot, was on the line asking him about a request to fund radio equipment in the state budget. He needed details, Cierpiot told Cosner, in order to pass them along to Senate Appropriations Chairman Lincoln Hough. Cosner had no clue what Cierpiot was […]

Loan to aluminum smelter in Missouri Bootheel raises constitutional question

By: - May 12, 2023

A no-interest loan to a southeast Missouri aluminum company that was included in the state’s budget could run afoul of a Civil War-era restriction on using state funds or credit to aid a private enterprise. The loan, $8.5 million for 10 years, is among about 275 earmarked spending items sprinkled throughout the $50.7 billion state […]

Missouri House tries again to prod Senate into passing sports wagering bill

By: - May 9, 2023

A last-ditch effort to legalize sports wagering passed the Missouri House on Tuesday but immediately ran against opposition from the senator whose bill was modified to include it. While the House has had no trouble passing sports wagering, identified as a priority by leaders of both parties as the legislative session began, the Senate has […]

Major overhaul of initiative process one step from Missouri ballot

By: - May 9, 2023

A proposal making it harder to pass constitutional amendments, which one Democrat called “dog poop with icing,” is one step away from a statewide ballot. On Tuesday morning, the Missouri House voted 107-55 to pass a measure to set the majority needed to pass amendments at 57%. The current threshold is a simple majority and […]