Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covered education, health care and the legislature with the Missouri Independent. 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 also covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Hearing on Missouri marijuana initiative scrutinizes unprecedented signature process

By: - September 9, 2022

The unprecedented steps Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft took to verify signatures to place a marijuana legalization initiative petition on the ballot were outside the scope of his authority, attorneys for an anti-drug activist argued Thursday. Cole County Judge Cotton Walker faces a Sept. 13 deadline to decide whether an initiative petition to legalize […]

Court order would close Agape Boarding School after years of abuse allegations

By: and - September 8, 2022

A Cedar County judge Wednesday ordered Agape Boarding School to be shut down after years of allegations of sexual and physical abuse of students — though the order remains on pause until after a hearing Thursday afternoon.

Abortion-rights groups alarmed by St. Louis moving AG lawsuit to federal court

By: - September 1, 2022

When the attorney general’s lawsuit challenging St. Louis’ plan to use federal funds to support abortion access was moved to federal court, it didn’t draw much attention. The city requested the change in venue — from St. Louis Circuit Court to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri — in late July […]

COVID Testing

Court weighs appeal of Missouri ruling that struck down local power to impose COVID-19 orders

By: - August 30, 2022

KANSAS CITY — A coalition of counties and local health centers on Tuesday urged judges on the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals to review a lower court’s ruling that struck down state health regulations regarding the control of infectious diseases. Attorneys for St. Louis County, Jackson County, the administrator of the Cooper County Public […]

A judge in a face mask is shown looking at an attorney making an argument. The attorney's back is to the camera and the view also shows the female court reporter transcribing the argument.

Judge dismisses lawsuit alleging Missouri School Boards Association violated Sunshine Law

By: - August 29, 2022

A Boone County Circuit Court judge on Monday sided with the Missouri School Boards’ Association and dismissed a lawsuit that argued the organization was subject to the state’s open records laws. Southeastern Legal Foundation, a Georgia-based legal nonprofit that filed the lawsuit, argued the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) violated the Sunshine Law by not […]

Missouri governor calls special session after Labor Day on $700 million income tax cut

By: - August 22, 2022

Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday that state lawmakers will be returning to the Missouri Capitol after the Labor Day weekend to weigh passing a $700 million income tax cut and slate of agricultural tax incentives. Parson’s proposal would lower the state’s top income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.8% and eliminate the bottom income tax […]

Lawsuit asks judge to block marijuana legalization from appearing on Missouri ballot

By: - August 22, 2022

An anti-drug legalization activist has filed a lawsuit arguing a recreational marijuana initiative petition was improperly certified by Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and should not appear on the November ballot. The lawsuit was filed Friday in Cole County Circuit Court — the final day within the 10-day window outlined under state law for […]

Missouri marijuana campaign made ballot with tactic that surprised longtime observers

By: - August 22, 2022

In a span of a little over two weeks, an initiative petition to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri made an unexpected comeback. In late July, unofficial tallies showed the Legal Missouri campaign 2,275 signatures short of the threshold for getting on the ballot, leading many to believe its hopes were dashed. By Aug. 9, the […]

Bubble Sheet Test with Pencil

Missouri student test scores still lag behind pre-pandemic levels

By: - August 17, 2022

A day after preliminary test scores showed Missouri students’ performance on standardized tests have not bounced back from the pandemic, education advocacy groups and parents urged state lawmakers to take a comprehensive approach at crafting accountability measures for schools. On Tuesday, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released preliminary test scores for the 2021-22 […]

Former state vendor awarded $23M in lawsuit over Missouri Medicaid system implementation

By: - August 16, 2022

A software integration company’s six-year legal saga against the state reached a resolution last week, when it was awarded a little over $23 million in its lawsuit alleging contract breaches over extra work to implement a Department of Social Services’ case management system. On Wednesday, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem granted a directed verdict […]

Missouri crisis centers see wave of calls since the 988 suicide hotline’s launch

By: - August 15, 2022

In its first days of operation in July, a newly revamped, national mental health hotline was already exceeding Missouri providers’ expectations as a wave of people dialed three numbers: 9-8-8. They ranged from the curious to those seeking help, and several providers across Missouri told The Independent calls had already increased by 50% within a […]

Missouri voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana this November election

By: - August 9, 2022

Missouri voters will decide this November whether to legalize recreational marijuana, four years after they first approved the drug for medicinal use. Secretary of State John Ashcroft announced Tuesday an initiative petition to put the question before voters received 203,551 valid signatures across six Congressional districts — barely overcoming the minimum threshold in two Congressional […]