Author

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.

Scott Fitzpatrick says COVID relief, school spending will be focus as Missouri auditor

By: - January 9, 2023

Newly inaugurated State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said Monday that auditing federal COVID-19 relief funds and how local school districts spend money will be his top priorities during the coming four years. Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Shell Knob in southwest Missouri, was sworn in at noon Monday to replace Nicole Galloway, a Democrat who did not […]

‘She doesn’t have a tribe’: Cindy O’Laughlin’s new role tests ability to bridge factions

By: - January 9, 2023

Ask around the Missouri Capitol, and there is one trait people bring up over and again to explain how Cindy O’Laughlin became one of the most influential lawmakers in the state. “She has the ability to tell me I was an idiot,” said Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, “and tell those guys they were […]

New Missouri House speaker says massive budget surplus should mean more tax cuts

By: and - January 4, 2023

Missouri’s top lawmaker opened the 2023 legislative session Wednesday by proclaiming that the state’s massive budget surplus should translate into more tax cuts.  House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, noted that Missouri lawmakers approved a nearly $800 million tax cut in September. But with a projected state budget surplus of $6 billion, Plocher believes “there […]

Missouri lawmakers reconvene focused on sports betting, teacher pay, initiative petitions

By: - January 4, 2023

Before the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 27, GeoComply defeated 82,000 attempts by Missourians to access sports gambling sites. Missouri hasn’t legalized sports wagering, and a gambler must be in a state that has, like Kansas or Illinois, to make a legal bet.  The blocked bets before the Chiefs’ game […]

Andrew Bailey officially takes over as Missouri’s new attorney general

By: - January 3, 2023

The Missouri Attorney General’s office will operate in “unyielding pursuit of victory,” Andrew Bailey said Tuesday as he was being sworn into office.  Bailey, in a short speech before a crowd of about 150 gathered at the Missouri Supreme Court building, said he’s grateful to Gov. Mike Parson for appointing him. Speaking to reporters afterwards, […]

Cole County judge confirms $2M jury award in sexual harassment case against Missouri Department of Corrections

By: - December 30, 2022

The Missouri Department of Corrections must pay $2 million in punitive damages in a sexual harassment case brought by a prison nurse who felt trapped between two corrections officers as one described plans to kidnap, drug and rape her. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem on Tuesday confirmed a November jury award for “a hostile […]

Cole County judge blocks effort to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood

By: - December 28, 2022

Lawmakers cannot use appropriation bills to limit the list of eligible Medicaid providers, a Cole County judge ruled Wednesday in a decision allowing payments for health services provided by Planned Parenthood. Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, ruling in a case filed by the two Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri, directed the Department of Social Services to […]

Sports wagering, video lottery games again in conflict as legislature prepares for 2023 session

By: - December 16, 2022

In the first week of legal sports wagering in Kansas, more than 100,000 Missourians found out how precise online location tools have become when they were blocked from making bets. How many more crossed the border – or went to any of the other four legal sports wagering states adjoining Missouri to make bets – […]

Missouri Republican pushes for constitutional change to recognize same-sex marriages

By: - December 15, 2022

With the right to same-sex marriage now protected by federal statute, a Jackson County Republican lawmaker believes it is time for Missouri to retire a portion of the state constitution that says the only valid marriages are “between a man and a woman.” Rep. Chris Sander, R-Lone Jack, for the second year has introduced a […]

Judge will wait on Missouri Supreme Court to rule on law used by AG to sue schools

By: - December 13, 2022

When arguments ended Tuesday in the trial challenging a 2021 law used to sue school districts over COVID-19 mask policies, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green told the attorneys he would hold his ruling until the Missouri Supreme Court decides a similar case. For about an hour, Green listened to attorneys for Overland, a city […]

Lawsuit seeks to toss Missouri law used by AG to sue schools over COVID policies

By: - December 9, 2022

The issue of how far legislators can go when they change a bill with amendments will be debated again Tuesday afternoon in a Cole County courtroom. Overland, a city in St. Louis County, is asking Circuit Judge Daniel Green to throw out a 2021 law used as a hammer by Attorney General Eric Schmitt in […]

Economic slowdown, tax cuts likely to limit Missouri revenue growth, officials say

By: - December 6, 2022

Missouri general revenue, which has enjoyed double-digit growth for more than two years, will slow dramatically in early 2023, a new estimate of state government finances indicates. The annual consensus revenue estimate – used as the benchmark for budgeting by both the state executive and legislature – issued Tuesday projects net general revenue tax receipts […]