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.

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Lawsuit seeks to force Missouri to enact voter-approved Medicaid expansion

By: - May 20, 2021

The least surprising lawsuit of the year, to force Missouri to provide Medicaid coverage to 275,000 people eligible under a 2020 initiative petition, was filed Thursday in Cole County. Filed on behalf of three people who would be eligible for Medicaid coverage on July 1, the lawsuit seeks an order for the Department of Social Services […]

Ashcroft urges Missouri Senate to shut off debate to pass Medicaid funding tax bill

By: - May 19, 2021

Republicans in the Missouri Senate should move to shut off debate if a filibuster blocks anti-abortion lawmakers from putting their stamp on provider taxes that fund Medicaid, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said in an interview with The Independent this week. The advice was not, however, well received by the Senate’s Republican or Democratic leaders. […]

Conservative group wants to send gas tax hike to Missouri voters

By: - May 17, 2021

A conservative anti-tax group wants Missourians to decide whether they will pay extra for gas starting in October. On Monday morning, Jeremy Cady, state director of Americans for Prosperity, filed paperwork with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office to begin the process of putting the 12.5-cents a gallon tax increase on a statewide ballot. To […]

GOP divisions in the Missouri Senate bedevil legislative session

By: - May 17, 2021

When the Missouri Senate gathered early Friday morning, with just under 18 hours before the state Constitution requires lawmakers to conclude their session, Sen. Paul Wieland asked a fellow lawmaker a question. “How long do you think me and you are going to have to talk, in these next 18 hours?” Wieland, R-Imperial, asked Sen. […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Missouri lawmakers head home without passing bill crucial to Medicaid funding

By: , and - May 14, 2021

Missouri lawmakers ended the 2021 legislative session with a $2 billion question left unanswered.  For the first time in 30 years, the General Assembly failed to renew taxes on hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies that last year accounted for $2.3 billion of Missouri’s $10.8 billion Medicaid program.  A fight over birth control and abortion derailed […]

Missouri lawmakers pass bill to collect taxes on online sales

By: - May 14, 2021

In legislative jargon, it’s called the Wayfair fix. What it means is a change in state law that makes online retailers liable to the state for sales tax on purchases delivered into Missouri. And Thursday, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a compromise bill based on the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling upholding South Dakota’s tax […]

Medicaid provider taxes imperiled as compromise on abortion issues eludes lawmakers

By: - May 13, 2021

The pathway to renewing provider taxes essential to funding Medicaid before Missouri lawmakers adjourn for the year became much narrower Thursday afternoon, when issues raised by abortion opponents forced removal of the taxes from a health care bill. When a conference committee met to work out differences between the House and Senate on the bill, […]

Missouri Gov. Parson abandons plans to implement voter-approved Medicaid expansion

By: - May 13, 2021

Missouri will not expand Medicaid coverage to working-age adults on July 1 because lawmakers refused to include funding for the health care program in the state budget, Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday. In a news release, Parson said the state was withdrawing documents submitted to the federal government necessary to add the approximately 275,000 people […]

The University of Missouri-Columbia's iconic columns, remains of the school's first building, stand in front of Jesse Hall, which houses administrative offices. (University of Missouri photo)

Missouri Senate votes to remove cap on public college tuition increases

By: - May 13, 2021

Two years after giving colleges and universities power to shift losses from state budget cuts to students, the Missouri Senate voted Wednesday night to completely repeal the cap on tuition increases. The bill would also allow student athletes to profit from the use of their likeness or image in advertising or other commercial venues without […]

Gas tax increase on its way to governor after clearing Missouri House

By: - May 11, 2021

The Missouri House passed the first tax increase that would go into effect on a governor’s signature in 28 years Tuesday night after a lengthy debate that exposed deep divisions in the Republican caucus. On two votes, the Republican majority of 113 split almost evenly, first on the question of whether to seek voter approval […]

Parson moves to end federal unemployment aid for out-of-work Missourians

By: - May 11, 2021

Unemployed Missourians who are receiving federal payments to supplement their state benefits will lose that extra money after June 12, Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday. The state will stop paying the $300 per week supplement and stop issuing payments under other federal unemployment relief programs in an effort to push reluctant workers back to the […]

Abortion fight continues on Missouri Medicaid provider taxes

By: - May 11, 2021

An attempt to renew a law essential to financing Missouri’s Medicaid program drew fire late Monday from a state Senator who wants to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in the program and an anti-abortion group seeking to block access to contraceptives. A renewal of the taxes that provide more than $2 billion annually for Medicaid […]