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.

Few mask lawsuits remain as Missouri AG asks legislature to clarify law behind legal blitz

By: - May 2, 2022

Three months after Attorney General Eric Schmitt launched a legal blitz against 47 school districts across the state, nearly all the cases have petered out as COVID infection rates plummeted and mask mandates were lifted. But four cases live on. While he’s moved to drop nearly every lawsuit he filed, Schmitt has opposed attempts by […]

Missouri House passes pair of bills that would limit trans students’ sports participation

By: - April 28, 2022

Amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation pushed nationwide, the Missouri House passed a pair of bills Thursday that would limit transgender students from participating on the sports teams that match the gender they identify with. One bill, which originally dealt with school transportation, would restrict transgender students to only participating on high school sports teams […]

Judge orders Missouri DHSS to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees in license dispute

By: - April 25, 2022

A Cole County judge denied the state health department’s attempt to relitigate a case stemming from a 2019 licensing dispute with Missouri’s lone abortion provider and ordered Missouri to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees. In a ruling Friday afternoon, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem affirmed an administrative court’s ruling that the state must […]

Missouri Senate passes charter funding compromise, moving bill step closer to governor’s desk

By: - April 20, 2022

A bill that would infuse charter schools with additional state funds is one step closer to becoming law after concerns about the proposal’s cost were overcome. On Wednesday, senators passed the bill by a vote of 29 to 5. It now heads back to the House, where the chamber can either vote to send the […]

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

Student literacy bill winning bipartisan support among Missouri lawmakers

By: - April 19, 2022

What started as a bipartisan effort to improve Missouri’s literacy rates through a children’s book has evolved into legislation that lawmakers hope will boost students’ reading success. A bill heard Tuesday in the House Education Committee would require schools to start assessing students on their reading levels in kindergarten and ensure students who are behind […]

State Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City

LGBTQ protections languish while Missouri lawmakers push transgender sports bans

By: - April 18, 2022

On one end of the Missouri Capitol last week, Sen. Greg Razer was making yet another unsuccessful attempt to convince his colleagues to enact legal protections in state law for LGBTQ Missourians. “I’m still perceived as controversial,” Razer, a Kansas City Democrat who is one of just six openly LGBTQ lawmakers in the legislature and […]

School hallway lockers

Despite concerns over cost, Missouri charter school funding boost still expected to move

By: - April 15, 2022

A week after senators celebrated a compromise to increase funding for charter schools, the estimated cost of the proposal stalled its progress — at least temporarily. Before the Senate can take a vote, the bill would need to be passed out of the Senate Committee on Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight, where the chairman has […]

Legislators weigh blocking COVID visitor restrictions at Missouri hospitals, nursing homes

By: - April 13, 2022

State Rep. Ed Lewis had just hours to say goodbye. In March 2020, his 89-year-old mother had to go to the hospital after suffering from a fall. Lewis’ sister was their mother’s primary caregiver, but in the pandemic’s first days as hospitals restricted visitors, family members weren’t allowed to stay with her. Lewis and his […]

Rep. Ben Baker speaks on the House floor.

Amid curriculum debates, sweeping ‘parents’ bill of rights’ wins initial House approval

By: - April 12, 2022

As debates over school curriculum rage nationwide, the Missouri House granted initial approval Tuesday to a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” that would allow for lawsuits and funding to be withheld from schools that repeatedly violate the proposed law. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, aims to “to empower parents to enforce” rights laid […]

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

Funding increase for charter schools poised to clear Missouri Senate after compromise

By: - April 11, 2022

A years-long impasse over increased funding for charter schools was finally broken in the Missouri Senate, leaving proponents optimistic the legislation could finally make its way to the governor’s desk. Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, unveiled a new funding mechanism last week to close a discrepancy in the amount that charter schools are funded versus traditional […]

With few in-state abortions, Missouri lawmakers look toward a post-Roe v. Wade future

By: - April 8, 2022

As restrictions on accessing an abortion in Missouri have steadily tightened, nearly 9,800 Missourians travelled to Kansas and Illinois to receive abortions in 2020, compared to only 167 procedures that occurred within state lines that year. That number could drop even further if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that […]

COVID Testing

Missouri Supreme Court declines to immediately hear appeal of COVID ruling

By: - April 6, 2022

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request by five counties and health departments to quickly hear arguments and review a case that they say “upended the longstanding public health framework” in Missouri. The decision means an appeal of a Cole County judge’s November ruling will have to first go through the Western District […]