Author

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller covers the state budget, energy and the legislature. He’s spent 22 of his 30 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics, most recently as the news editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune. Keller has won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.

Missouri COVID hospitalizations set new record as omicron variant spread accelerates

By: - January 7, 2022

Missouri set pandemic peaks for COVID-19 hospitalizations and daily net new admissions this week. The Department of Health and Senior Services reported there were 2,933 inpatients, a number that grew an average of 91 per day over the previous seven days. The previous peaks were 2,862 inpatients on Dec. 22, 2020, before vaccines were widely […]

Rep. Cody Smith

Deadlines loom on $5.3B spending bill for Missouri Medicaid, federal COVID aid for schools

By: - January 7, 2022

With Gov. Mike Parson promising state employees a pay raise by Feb. 1 and the state’s Medicaid program likely to run short of money sometime next month, one of the first items on the legislature’s agenda this year is a supplemental $5.3 billion spending bill. The House Budget Committee will meet at 11 a.m. Monday […]

Missouri Senate opens annual session with bitter divisions on display

By: and - January 5, 2022

At the west end of the Missouri Capitol on Wednesday, the state House opened the annual legislative session in the traditional way, with routine business and a quick adjournment. At the east end, in the state Senate, bitter divisions exposed last year resurfaced, as members of the conservative caucus aired their grievances and Democrats brooded […]

‘We’re quite frightened’: Missouri hospitals sound alarm over latest COVID wave

By: and - January 5, 2022

St. Louis area hospitals are getting “crushed” by the highest number of COVID patients they’ve seen yet in the pandemic, hospital leaders said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. And those patients are on track to double in the next couple weeks, according to projections from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, which […]

Few public comments offered on Missouri House redistricting plan

By: - January 3, 2022

The only solution offered Monday for the disagreement over Jackson County’s districts in the Missouri House would end the use of Troost Avenue as a boundary for seats in western Kansas City. While the major road was once a useful boundary to design districts likely to be represented by Black Missourians, Kansas City resident Michael […]

Commission sets Monday public hearing for competing Missouri House district maps

By: - December 31, 2021

For the state commission drawing new Missouri House districts, the work began in acrimony but seems likely to end in harmony. For the commission in charge of new Senate maps, the opposite is true. When the House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission met for the first time in August, the 20 members spent hours arguing, locked […]

Gov. Parson declares end to COVID emergency as Missouri cases soar to record levels

By: - December 30, 2021

On the day Missouri surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases and recorded the highest single-day tally of infections for the pandemic, Gov. Mike Parson announced he would let the state of emergency for responding to the disease expire at midnight Friday. The decision was immediately criticized by Missouri Hospital Association spokesman Dave Dillon, who said it […]

Missouri Gov. Parson introduces new directors for Revenue, Mental Health departments

By: - December 29, 2021

A veteran Republican lawmaker will lead the Missouri Department of Revenue and a long-time administrator in state government will take over the Department of Mental Health, Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday. State Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, brings corporate management experience that will help him lead the state’s tax collecting agency, Parson said.  Wallingford is […]

Omicron’s rapid spread puts Missouri on track for COVID cases ‘worse…than it has ever been’

By: - December 27, 2021

Missouri’s two largest counties will continue their efforts to overturn a court ruling that severely limits the powers of local health departments at the same time health officials warn the omicron variant will bring thousands of new COVID-19 cases. Missouri reported almost 10,000 new coronavirus infections Monday, making December the second-worst month of the pandemic […]

Uncounted: Inaccurate death certificates across the country hide the true toll of COVID-19

By: and - December 22, 2021

In Cape Girardeau County, the coroner hasn’t pronounced a single person dead of COVID-19 in 2021.  Wavis Jordan, a Republican who was elected last year to serve as coroner of the 80,000-person county, says his office “doesn’t do COVID deaths.” He does not investigate deaths himself, and requires families to provide proof of a positive […]

Science backs mask mandates. But in Missouri and elsewhere, they’re politically toxic

By: and - December 21, 2021

Opening weekend at Busch Stadium last April saw the St. Louis Cardinals start their season in front of socially-distanced seating pods of about 14,500 fans, about a third of the stadium’s capacity. Masks were required inside the stadium, concessions were cashless and fans couldn’t bring bags with them. The goal: Bring back baseball, but do […]

Divide among Missouri Senate Republicans reopens in run up to legislative session

By: - December 20, 2021

A meeting last week among GOP state Senators that excluded members of the conservative caucus has reignited the Republican factional infighting that’s been dormant in recent months only because lawmakers are not in session. Part of the discussion, organized by Senate GOP leadership about the upcoming session, was how to deal with the conservative group, […]