Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covers education, health care and the legislature. She previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Donald Kauerauf

Missouri’s new health director says ‘masks work’ as COVID cases rise, school in session

By: - September 16, 2021

As the fight over mask mandates in schools continues, and the state’s attorney general wages lawsuits to block them, Missouri’s new health director had a clear message on Thursday: masks work. “I rely (on) the experts at the CDC on that. Everything I’ve read, everything I’ve seen: masks work,” Donald Kauerauf, the director of the […]

GOP lawmaker blasts Missouri governor’s veto of funding to combat child sex abuse

By: , and - September 15, 2021

Missouri Rep. Randy Pietzman nearly choked on his words as he tried Wednesday to explain why $300,000 means so much to the children of Lincoln County. Pietzman, R-Troy, was asking the Missouri House to override Gov. Mike Parson’s veto of that funding in the state budget, which was slated to add two investigators and a […]

‘Dangling by a thread’: Nursing home industry warns of staff exodus over vaccine mandates

By: and - September 15, 2021

A federal mandate requiring nursing home staff members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could worsen an already severe worker shortage, an advocate for the industry warned Missouri lawmakers Tuesday. Nikki Strong, executive director of the Missouri Health Care Association, told members of a Missouri House subcommittee on Tuesday that she didn’t believe the federal mandate […]

Bubble Sheet Test with Pencil

Amid the pandemic, Missouri standardized test scores declined across grades, subjects

By: - September 14, 2021

Preliminary results from Missouri statewide assessment tests administered last spring amid the pandemic show scores declined across nearly all grade levels and subjects tested, with the greatest drop in mathematics. The 2020-21 school year results, which were released Tuesday by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, show that fewer than half of Missouri students […]

The Danieley siblings on their first day back to school

Missouri schools must prioritize in-person class. In first weeks, thousands quarantined

By: and - September 13, 2021

Teddy Danieley was devastated.  Three weeks ago tears streamed down the five-year-old’s face when he learned he couldn’t attend the first-day of school in St. Louis because his dad had tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, he and his two older sisters — 10-year-old Lucy and 9-year-old Ruby — spent what would have been their first day […]

Study: Saint Louis University face mask policy reduced quarantines, COVID cases

By: - September 9, 2021

Tying quarantine requirements to the Saint Louis University face mask requirement successfully reduced the number of students sent to isolation and helped cut COVID-19 infections this spring, according to a study published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under the university’s rules, students without masks who had close contact with an infected […]

Missouri AG won’t defend state officials in lawsuit, citing undisclosed conflict

By: and - September 9, 2021

When Missouri’s treasurer and secretary of state face off in court this month over a proposed constitutional amendment set to be on the 2022 ballot, both sides will be represented by private attorneys — at a cost to taxpayers of more than $800 an hour.  The reason: Attorney General Eric Schmitt bowed out of the […]

Gov. Parson signs HB 604

Missouri will become the last state to enforce federal mental health parity act

By: - September 7, 2021

Under a new state law that went into effect late last month, Missouri will become the final state to enforce a federal law designed to ensure mental health care is covered by insurance providers the same as treatments for physical ailments. The provisions were included in House Bill 604, an omnibus insurance bill sponsored by […]

An empty pre-school classroom with wooden desks.

Missouri launches Office of Childhood to expand services for children and families

By: - September 3, 2021

Missouri’s new Office of Childhood officially launched Monday with a mission to transform the landscape of early childhood in the state for years to come. The office’s ultimate goal: to expand the services the state offers for children and families and make it easier for them to be accessed in order to support the best […]

Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis

Lawmaker asks Missouri agency to document its oversight of emergency COVID purchasing

By: - September 2, 2021

The ranking Democratic member on the House Budget Committee requested Wednesday that state officials document oversight of emergency purchases during the pandemic — and questioned why emergency, no-bid contracts are still being granted. Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, sent a letter to state Budget Director Dan Haug that built upon lawmakers’ questioning of the Office […]

Missouri awards no-bid contract to boost staffing, antibody treatments, field hospitals

By: - August 31, 2021

A Texas-based company stands to earn upwards of $30 million in Missouri through a no-bid emergency contract to provide healthcare staffing, antibody treatment centers and alternative care sites. The move comes after some states spent millions over the course of the pandemic on private companies to bolster their healthcare infrastructure, but found by the time […]

Protesters at Medicaid expansion rally

Attorneys argue Missouri is violating federal law, courts on Medicaid expansion delays

By: - August 26, 2021

Attorneys who successfully sued to force Missouri to enact voter-approved Medicaid expansion argued in a letter to state officials Thursday that delays in implementation not only violate the court order but also federal law. The plaintiffs’ attorneys, Chuck Hatfield and Lowell Pearson, joined with Joel Ferber, director of advocacy for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, […]