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.

Randall Williams out after four contentious years as Missouri health director

By: - April 20, 2021

Amid the peak of Missouri’s COVID vaccine rollout and just four years on the job, Randall Williams has stepped down as director of the state’s health department, effective immediately.  Gov. Mike Parson’s announcement did not give a reason for Williams’ departure. Robert Knodell, Parson’s deputy chief of staff who has played a key role in […]

An empty pre-school classroom with wooden desks.

Missouri pre-K programs have room to grow. Advocates hopeful progress is on the horizon

By: - April 19, 2021

Missouri’s state-funded preschool programs met quality benchmarks but have room to grow to serve a wider swath of children, according to a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Published Monday, The 2020 State of Preschool Yearbook assessed pre-kindergarten funding, enrollment and quality for state-funded […]

Rep. Brad Pollitt on the House floor.

Missouri open enrollment bill sparks debate over segregation, consolidation

By: - April 14, 2021

As bills expanding charter schools and creating new scholarship accounts for private school tuition make their way through the process, one piece of legislation is trying to give students more options within the public schools that already exist. House Bill 543, sponsored by Rep. Brad Pollitt, R-Sedalia, would establish the “Public School Open Enrollment Act.” […]

Syringes of COVID-19 vaccinations are filled during MU Health Care’s vaccination clinic in the Walsworth Family Columns Club at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Missouri to immediately pause use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after rare blood clots

By: - April 13, 2021

Missouri will pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as recommended by federal authorities who are investigating six instances of blood clots that have arisen after its use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued the recommendation Tuesday morning “out of an abundance of caution.” Shortly after, […]

State Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City

Push to ban LGBTQ discrimination failed in Missouri Senate. Advocates vow to fight on

By: - April 12, 2021

Missouri Sen. Greg Razer hadn’t planned to speak on an amendment that purported to prevent discrimination based on a person’s vaccination status by barring “vaccine passports.”  But he couldn’t help but see the parallels to his own fight. “They had a very good point that there are definitely people who will discriminate, and that it’s […]

Lawmakers press Missouri DSS for change after abuse allegations at unlicensed schools

By: - April 7, 2021

Since 2015, the Department of Social Services has been court ordered to place at least two children in unlicensed youth residential facilities — including one that is the subject of an investigation by local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s office over allegations of abuse. The foster children placed in those facilities, including the Agape […]

Missouri one step closer to shedding its designation as the only state without a PDMP

By: - April 6, 2021

Missouri is one step closer to shedding its designation as the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program after a bill to establish one was passed out of the Senate Tuesday. Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, cleared what has historically been a stumbling block for the legislation […]

Days after all Missouri adults are eligible for vaccine, state expects fewer doses

By: - April 6, 2021

Missouri officials expect to see hundreds of thousands of fewer vaccine doses than anticipated next week, just days after eligibility will open up to all adults in the state on Friday. For the week of April 12, the state anticipates seeing roughly 157,040 doses in total — a decline of about 351,460 doses from last […]

Illustration of people waiting in a winding line leading to a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Under a short-lived committee, some businesses jumped ahead in Missouri vaccine line

By: - April 6, 2021

In the span of 10 minutes in late February, a panel of state officials signed off on nearly 1,300 people skipping ahead in Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination line to receive a shot sooner. About 25 minutes later, another 325 were elevated. It all happened during the first of five meetings of the Missouri Vaccine Priority Phase […]

Missouri Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina.

Missouri senators try to find common ground on education issues as end of session looms

By: - April 2, 2021

Missouri Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin knew coming into her position last year as the chair of the Senate Education Committee that she would have minds to change. She has been outspoken in her desire for education reform, and amid the pandemic has made clear her frustration with public schools who “have a monopoly on public education.” […]

Restrictions on local health orders regain momentum as bill advances in Missouri Senate

By: - March 31, 2021

Less than a week after the Senate rejected a push to limit the authority and scope of local health orders during states of emergency, a Senate committee revived the issue Wednesday. House Bill 75, sponsored by Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, was passed out of the Senate Health and Pensions Committee the same day it […]

Lawmakers raise concerns bill would limit oversight of dark money, affect labor unions

By: - March 30, 2021

A discussion on giving electric cooperatives an additional year to vote remotely at their annual meetings after the governor’s emergency declaration expires turned into a long-ranging discussion Tuesday about dark money and Missouri’s labor union laws. The provision addressing electric cooperatives was tacked onto Senate Bill 333, sponsored by Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Battlefield. The bill […]