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.

Missouri Attorney General files six new lawsuits against school mask rules

By: - May 19, 2022

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Thursday that his office has filed six new lawsuits challenging school masking requirements. Schmitt’s office hinted during a hearing in Columbia earlier this week that more lawsuits were forthcoming. The lawsuits challenge rules school districts established allowing mask mandates to be reimposed if COVID cases reach a certain threshold. […]

Missouri legislature ends tumultuous 2022 session marked by gridlock, GOP infighting

By: and - May 13, 2022

A flurry of activity in the Missouri House on Friday kept 2022 from earning the ignominious distinction of least productive legislative session in modern history.  With GOP infighting in the Senate forcing it to adjourn a day early after a session that’s seen it mired in gridlock, the House returned Friday morning to pass 20 […]

Bill to create prison nursery clears Missouri legislature on final day of session

By: - May 13, 2022

Infants born to women in prison may soon get to remain with their mothers for their first 18 months, under a bill on its way to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. The bill would direct the Missouri Department of Corrections to establish a nursery within a women’s correctional facility by July 2025. It gained bipartisan support […]

‘Seclusion kills’: Missouri lawmakers pass limits on hospital COVID visitor restrictions

By: - May 13, 2022

Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Missouri lawmakers sent to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk legislation that aims to ensure residents can access their family members in the face of visitor restrictions at hospitals. A House bill unanimously passed on the final day of the legislative session with 129 votes in support, and shortly after lawmakers […]

Missouri lawmakers send bill to increase funding for charter schools to governor

By: - May 12, 2022

Missouri charter schools will see millions in increased funding under a bill headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk with provisions protecting money allocated to local school districts. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, has been a three-year effort by charter school proponents to obtain more funds for their students. The bill also […]

Fate of Missouri needle exchange bill in doubt as Senate GOP infighting blocks passage

By: - May 12, 2022

Tensions between Republican senators frayed further Wednesday after a filibuster dealt a potentially fatal blow to a wide-ranging health care bill. Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, spent nearly two hours reading the bill, sponsored by Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder, R-Sikeston, line by line, decrying the size it had grown to and “all the […]

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

With open enrollment dead, Missouri lawmakers push carve-out for some property owners

By: - May 10, 2022

A statewide open enrollment system that would allow students to attend a school district outside of one in which they reside is likely dead with just three days left in the legislative session.  But proponents are optimistic a much more narrowly-tailored version focused exclusively on people who own multiple properties in different school districts is […]

Hopes dwindle that Missouri lawmakers will extend postpartum care for new moms

By: - May 10, 2022

A bipartisan proposal to extend postpartum care for low-income women in Missouri to a full year after they’ve given birth is “hanging on a thread,” its sponsor said, due to resistance from a Republican state senator in the legislative session’s final days. The provision, which would expand health care coverage from 60 days to a […]

Judge dismisses Missouri AG’s mask lawsuit against St. Charles school district

By: - May 7, 2022

A St. Charles County Circuit Court judge dismissed Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s lawsuit Thursday against the local school district’s now-rescinded mask mandate, leaving few cases from Schmitt’s legal blitz remaining. The City of St. Charles School District was one of 47 districts Schmitt sued earlier this year over mask mandates, and it was one of […]

Lawmakers debate changes to Missouri Sunshine Law that would conceal more records

By: - May 6, 2022

An expansive set of proposed changes to Missouri’s open records law backed by Gov. Mike Parson has transparency advocates alarmed that legislators may be poised to undermine the law. The changes touch on everything from narrowing the definitions of “public business” and “public meetings;” closing records that include draft documents or relate to proposed legislation; […]

GOP eyes amending Missouri constitution to ensure no right to abortion exists post-Roe

By: - May 3, 2022

If a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade holds true, nearly all abortions in Missouri would become illegal. But anti-abortion advocates worry the ban would be swiftly met with lawsuits. They hope the leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe will jumpstart efforts to place a proposal on the statewide ballot declaring […]

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

Bipartisan literacy bill grows to include open enrollment after Missouri House passage

By: - May 3, 2022

A bipartisan bill aimed at improving student literacy morphed into an omnibus education package after it was passed out of the House Monday night with amendments dealing with open enrollment, school protection officers and school board meetings. Senate Bill 681, sponsored by Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina, initially aimed to boost students’ reading comprehension by requiring […]