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.

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, […]

Lawmakers seek accounting of emergency purchasing authority given to Missouri agencies

By: - August 26, 2021

Missouri lawmakers pressed for more details Wednesday on the unprecedented decision by state officials to suspend some procurement rules at the beginning of the pandemic to allow agencies to make large purchases without obtaining prior approval. Rep. Peter Merideth, a St. Louis Democrat and ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee, asked the Office […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Records document millions spent by Missouri agencies under emergency COVID authority

By: - August 24, 2021

It was mid-March 2020 and the pandemic was unfolding in quick succession. Less than a week after the first suspected COVID-19 case in Missouri was identified in St. Louis County, Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency. Days later, the state’s Office of Administration (OA) took an unprecedented step: It granted emergency authorization allowing […]

Missouri students head back to the classroom in the shadow of the Delta surge

By: , and - August 24, 2021

Fourth graders Addison, Reagan and Lauren Harper are no strangers to catastrophes or challenging circumstances.  Five days after they were born in May 2011, a tornado swept through Joplin and leveled their home, destroying a chance at normalcy for their family — along with the entire community — for a long time.  Ten years later, […]

Rep. Doug Richey and Cindy O'Laughlin

Advocates urge lawmakers to focus on inequity in education, not critical race theory

By: - August 23, 2021

Educators, students and advocates urged state lawmakers Monday afternoon to focus on tackling larger issues of inequity across education rather than latch onto the academic concept of critical race theory to further school choice options or ban teaching about diversity and inclusion altogether. During a nearly two-hour hearing, which took place on the first day […]

Student Wearing Mask in Classroom

As Missouri students head back to class, state launches new COVID testing program

By: - August 23, 2021

Monday marks the first day of school for thousands of students across Missouri and it’s also when schools can begin enrolling in a new federally-funded testing program aimed at helping facilitate a safe return to the classroom. The Department of Health and Senior Services announced Friday evening that Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., a Boston, Massachusetts-based biotechnology […]

Missouri Medicaid director slated to return as state prepares expansion implementation

By: - August 19, 2021

After a months-long leave of absence, the director of Missouri’s Medicaid program is expected to return to his position next month as his division gears up to handle an anticipated influx of applications under voter-approved Medicaid expansion. At a Thursday meeting of the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee, Kirk Mathews, the interim director of Missouri’s Medicaid […]

Biden mandates nursing homes require COVID vaccine or lose Medicare, Medicaid funds

By: , and - August 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nursing homes will be required to ensure their staffers are vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars, the Biden administration announced Wednesday in a major move on vaccinations as the Delta variant sweeps many states. Under the new nursing home policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services […]

Missouri got $185M for school COVID testing. Programs aren’t up and running yet

By: - August 18, 2021

Students across Missouri will return to their classrooms in less than a week, but it’s unclear if a school testing program backed by millions in federal funds and touted as a resource for a safe return to in-person learning will be up and running by then. Missouri’s state health department is offering public, private and […]

COVID vaccine administered

AARP calls for vaccine mandates as COVID re-enters Missouri nursing homes

By: and - August 16, 2021

With cases on the rise among both residents and staff, the nation’s leading advocacy group for the retirees is calling on nursing homes to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. The number of COVID-19 cases reported each week in Kansas and Missouri nursing homes is rising again for the first time in months. Missouri, where weekly cases averaged […]