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.

Mary Byrne

Kansas City only Missouri school district reporting it teaches ‘critical race theory’

By: - July 27, 2021

A survey of over 400 Missouri school districts found only Kansas City Public Schools reported that it uses a curriculum that both teaches lessons about critical race theory and includes the 1619 Project. Two other districts reported that they utilize the 1619 Project in their curriculum. The results of the survey, administered by the Department […]

Parson announces vaccine incentive lottery with $10,000 prizes, picks new health director

By: - July 21, 2021

In a bid to increase vaccination rates to combat the Delta variant’s growing spread, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday an incentive program that will feature chances to win $10,000 for those who get a shot. Parson was also joined Wednesday by Donald Kauerauf, a former assistant director in the Illinois Department of Public Health, […]

Mary Byrne

Opponents of ‘critical race theory’ urge Missouri lawmakers to take action

By: - July 19, 2021

A handful of parents pleaded with state lawmakers Monday to take action on critical race theory in schools — an academic concept that the state’s commissioner of education said the vast majority of Missouri’s K-12 schools don’t teach. Over the course of nearly three hours Monday, lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Education heard from […]

Missouri urges CDC to waive $25 limit for vaccine incentive plan

By: - July 16, 2021

Missouri requested Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reconsider its rejection of the state’s vaccine incentive plan. Robert Knodell, the acting director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, urged CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to make an exception to CDC guidance that states incentives may not exceed $25 in value per […]

As COVID causes hospitals to fill, Springfield asks Missouri for temporary care site

By: and - July 14, 2021

Facing a looming shortage of beds caused by rapidly rising COVID-19 cases, healthcare providers in Springfield are asking the state to set up temporary hospital beds so existing hospital space can be dedicated to caring for the most severely ill. The alternate care site would treat patients stable enough to be removed from local hospitals, […]

Eminence, Missouri

Missouri tourist hub no stranger to COVID’s wrath. But many still wary of vaccine

By: - July 14, 2021

EMINENCE — Nearly everyone in Shannon County has seen what the COVID-19 virus can do to a person. Last week as the local health center held a vaccination clinic, tourists flocked to the county of 8,000 in Southern Missouri, where residents have borne their fair share of the virus’ wrath. Armand Spurgin knew one of […]

Parson vetoes bills amending Sunshine law, allowing lobbyist campaign committees

By: - July 9, 2021

Among the four bills Gov. Mike Parson vetoed Friday afternoon was one that would have created new exceptions to the state’s open records law and another that aimed to allow registered lobbyists to maintain campaign committees. House Bill 362, sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot, R-Ellisville, would have allowed constituents’ contact info to be closed under […]

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at University Hospital.

‘Surge response team’ arrives in Missouri amid COVID spike caused by Delta variant

By: - July 8, 2021

As federal officials land in Missouri at the request of the state to assist with combatting a wave of new COVID cases spurred by the Delta variant, Gov. Mike Parson publicly rebuffed outreach strategies President Joe Biden touted. On Tuesday, a member of the newly-created federal surge response team arrived in the Springfield area to […]

With cases rising, new law will shield Missouri businesses from COVID lawsuits

By: - July 7, 2021

As a new surge of COVID cases overtakes Missouri, businesses, healthcare providers and houses of worship will soon be shielded from most COVID-related lawsuits under a bill Gov. Mike Parson signed Wednesday. Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, provides sweeping protections for businesses unless a high standard of proof can be met. […]

Medicaid expansion rally

‘Who do they work for’: On day Medicaid expansion would have started, Missourians protest

By: and - July 1, 2021

Protesters had a special delivery for Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday, but they couldn’t reach him. On the day more than 275,000 Missourians would have been eligible to enroll in Medicaid if the voter-approved expansion had gone into effect, a dozen clergy members stood in the entrance to the Missouri Department of Transportation offices with […]

Missouri Supreme Court: State can’t charge attorney fees for Sunshine Law requests

By: - June 29, 2021

In a win for transparency advocates, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that government agencies cannot charge for time attorneys spend reviewing public records that are requested under the state’s Sunshine Law. In a 6-0 decision, the judges ruled that a lower court erred by siding with Gov. Mike Parson in a lawsuit alleging his […]

COVID-19 Testing

‘A highway away’: Delta variant, low vaccine rates cause COVID spike across Missouri

By: - June 25, 2021

Kendra Findley had thought the Springfield area had seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in December — a month when cases regularly surpassed 200 a day and that saw a record 98 residents die of the virus. Looking back, that was when the Alpha variant, first identified in the U.K., was burning through the […]