Author

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.

Judge denies effort by local health agencies to intervene, appeal Missouri COVID ruling

By: - December 22, 2021

A Cole County judge on Wednesday denied local health departments and the state’s two largest counties from intervening and appealing a recent court ruling that has upended restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The ruling, issued by Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green the same day that his Nov. 22 order […]

Life Unlimited

With low wages, Missouri disability service providers urge higher reimbursement rates

By: - December 21, 2021

For most of the last year, Life Unlimited has been unable to accept new residents. At one point, the Liberty-based provider, which supports about 1,000 people with developmental disabilities through housing and other services like employment assistance, had 55 of its 330 positions open. Most were for direct support professionals that assist residents with their […]

Missouri schools must comply with COVID ruling to win treasurer approval of bond deals

By: - December 16, 2021

If school districts want to take advantage of a lower interest rate on bonds, Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is requiring them to certify compliance with a recent court ruling targeting local health orders before his office will approve of the deal. Fitzpatrick detailed the decision he described as “unprecedented” in an interview Wednesday with Missourinet. […]

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

Confusion around COVID ruling swirls as two Missouri school districts end semester early

By: - December 15, 2021

As a growing number of Missouri school districts drop COVID mitigation measures under threat from Attorney General Eric Schmitt, at least two closed the doors on their fall semester early due to large numbers of staff and students out sick. Meanwhile, local public health departments said Tuesday they still have not heard from the state […]

Missouri Supreme Court weighs whether medical marijuana applications can be disclosed

By: - December 14, 2021

A company denied licenses to grow medical marijuana in Missouri urged the state Supreme Court Tuesday to compel regulators to provide application info that the health department has argued it’s constitutionally obligated to protect. At issue is the Department of Health and Senior Services’ refusal to turn over applications of successful license holders, despite being […]

Missouri’s largest counties seek to appeal ruling overturning local health orders

By: and - December 13, 2021

Jackson and St. Louis counties requested Monday that they be permitted to intervene and appeal a recent court ruling that they argue has “upended the longstanding public health framework” in Missouri. In a filing submitted Monday afternoon and obtained by The Independent, the two counties asked Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green to stay […]

St. Louis County ends mask rule as school districts resist pressure from Schmitt

By: and - December 9, 2021

St. Louis County abandoned its effort to maintain a mask mandate Thursday as Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s crusade to crush out all such orders statewide continued. Some school districts said they would not comply with “cease and desist” letters from Schmitt after his office began soliciting complaints about mask rules, citing their legal authority. But […]

Rep. Sarah Unsicker

Lawmaker seeks help from Missouri Attorney General on open records requests

By: - December 8, 2021

A Missouri state lawmaker frustrated by delays receiving records from the Department of Social Services filed a complaint Monday with Attorney General Eric Schmitt. In a Monday letter to the attorney general’s office, Rep. Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury, detailed a series of Sunshine Law requests she sent to the Department of Social Services, with the oldest […]

Missouri Attorney General tells schools, health departments to end COVID orders

By: and - December 7, 2021

Attorney General Eric Schmitt instructed school districts and local public health departments to immediately stop enforcing health orders a judge ruled unconstitutional last month, and warned Tuesday they may face legal action if they fail to do so. In separate letters sent Tuesday to school districts and health departments across the state, Schmitt pointed to […]

Baby asleep on mom's shoulder

Bipartisan Missouri legislation aims to provide a year of health care for new moms

By: - December 7, 2021

Faced with over a year’s delay from the state social services department on implementing extended mental health care for new moms, a bipartisan effort now aims to expand health care coverage more broadly for low-income pregnant women. Legislation filed last week by Sens. Elaine Gannon, R-De Soto, and Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, would extend health […]

COVID-19 Testing

First COVID case of the omicron variant found in Missouri

By: and - December 3, 2021

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has made its way to Missouri, with the first case announced Friday. In a news release, the Department of Health and Senior Services said it was notified by public health partners of a presumed positive case for the variant that came from a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled […]

Eric Schmitt and Donald Kauerauf

Missouri health director wanted to appeal judge’s COVID ruling. AG Schmitt refused

By: and - December 2, 2021

Attorney General Eric Schmitt will not appeal a consequential court ruling that strips powers from local health departments, despite a request from Missouri’s state health director to do so. In an email to The Independent, Schmitt’s spokesman said the attorney general’s office notified the Department of Health and Senior Services of its decision. “We have […]