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.

November trial set for lawsuit challenging $1.4 billion Missouri prison health care contract

By: - September 2, 2021

A trial will be held in early November to determine whether a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Centene will take over the contract for prison health care in the Missouri Department of Corrections. In a hearing Thursday, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green set Nov. 3 as the first day in the trial where current provider […]

Three members of the Missouri Housing Development Commission, all white men in suits, are showing discussing a policy issue during the Sept. 1, 2021, commission meeting.

Missouri low income housing tax credits put on accelerated payout plan

By: - September 2, 2021

The Missouri Housing Development Commission is moving ahead with a plan to accelerate redemption of some low-income housing tax credits despite misgivings of powerful members of the state Senate. The 10-member commission voted unanimously Wednesday to speed up the payouts on half of the tax credits that will be issued later this year or early […]

Missouri fielding ‘high volume’ of calls for rental assistance as evictions resume

By: and - September 2, 2021

Calls from tenants seeking emergency rental assistance are escalating in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that blocked a national eviction moratorium. The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has 60 application processors working to distribute hundreds of millions in federal aid and has been fielding about 500 calls and responding to about 200 […]

COVID cases among children rising as Missouri Delta variant wave enters fifth month

By: - September 1, 2021

Clay LaRue, superintendent of the Van Buren R-1 School District, made a tough decision Sunday. With COVID-19 cases spiking in Carter County in southeast Missouri, and many of those infections among very young children, LaRue shut down the district’s pre-kindergarten program for two weeks. He had previously directed faculty, staff and students to wear masks […]

Lawsuit filed over $1.4 billion contract for Missouri prison healthcare

By: - August 30, 2021

The dispute over the $1.4 billion contract to provide prisoner health care in Missouri is moving into the courts. Corizon Health, which has held the Department of Corrections contract since 1992, filed a lawsuit Monday in Cole County alleging that unfair treatment and improper scoring gave the contract to Centurion Health, a Virginia subsidiary of […]

Missouri ICUs filling as Delta variant wave moves into northeast, southeast regions

By: - August 28, 2021

New cases from the Delta variant wave that has killed more than 1,150 Missourians since June 1 have plateaued but hospital ICUs continue to fill — and small, rural hospitals are among the hardest hit. There were 690 patients in ICU beds across the state on Tuesday, the most recent day reported by the state […]

A headshot of a bearded man with reddish hair, wearing a blue shit, red tie and suit coat.

New CIO for Missouri retirement plan arrives under cloud of Kentucky lawsuit

By: - August 27, 2021

When the head of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System told her board of trustees she’d picked T.J. Carlson to be chief investment officer, she focused on his recent record from Texas — and didn’t mention a lawsuit over investment losses that almost sank Kentucky’s pension system. Carlson, who begins work Oct. 1 for the […]

Two yellow school buses are show in bright sunshine outside a two-story brick school building in Columbia, Missouri.

Schools to continue mask rules despite legal challenge from Missouri Attorney General

By: - August 26, 2021

The schools in Gov. Mike Parson’s hometown will continue to require students, teachers and staff to wear masks indoors despite a lawsuit filed by the Missouri attorney general challenging public school mask mandates across the state. The Bolivar R-1 Board of Education in Polk County voted in a special meeting this month to require masks as […]

Missouri attorney general seeks court order blocking school mask mandates

By: - August 24, 2021

Mandates that require children, staff and faculty to wear masks in school to prevent spread of COVID-19 are next on Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s list of targets for lawsuits challenging local responses to the pandemic. On Tuesday, Schmitt filed a lawsuit against Columbia Public Schools alleging that the central Missouri school district and more than […]

Judge to rule soon on Missouri bill to block enforcement of federal gun laws

By: - August 19, 2021

Missouri police agencies will know within a week whether they can work with the federal government to enforce certain gun laws, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green said Thursday. After hearing arguments over the bill lawmakers named the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” Green said he would decide quickly whether to put enforcement of the bill […]

Missouri payrolls add 15,000 jobs in month after Parson stopped federal unemployment aid

By: - August 18, 2021

Missouri payrolls added exactly 15,000 non-farm jobs in July as the unemployment rate ticked down 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted data from the federal Bureau of Labor Standards shows. The state’s labor force of 3.08 million, however, declined by 177, and overall employment, which includes self-employed people and farm labor, grew by 4,462 for the month. […]

Shannon County vaccination clinic sign

Missouri nears 500 July deaths from Delta surge as hospitalizations continue to rise

By: - August 18, 2021

July was the deadliest month for COVID-19 in Missouri since January, data released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Senior Services shows. The weekly review of death certificates, where 75 percent of deaths in the state are identified, found that 52 of 86 newly confirmed deaths occurred last month as the Delta variant surge […]