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.

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

In final days of Missouri’s legislative session, dueling COVID liability bills surface

By: - May 13, 2021

It’s a race to the finish to see which version of a dueling set of COVID liability bills will find its way to the governor’s desk before the Missouri Legislature adjourns for the year at 6 p.m. Friday. On Thursday morning, both a sweeping Senate bill and a more pared down House version moved out […]

As KC battled to keep residency requirement for cops, councilwoman pushed repeal

By: and - May 13, 2021

As Kansas City officials were working to block a legislative effort to repeal the city’s residency requirement for police officers, the council’s lone conservative member had other ideas. Councilwoman Heather Hall traveled to Jefferson City last week with the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, where she met with lawmakers over dinner and meetings at the […]

Missouri lawmakers pass bill limiting local health orders, banning vaccine passports

By: - May 12, 2021

As the state of Missouri battles its second year of the novel coronavirus’ spread, lawmakers on Wednesday sent to the governor’s desk a bill that aims to rein in local public health orders and ban vaccine passports. The provisions were included on House Bill 271, which deals with local government transparency. It grew from three […]

The Missouri House Chamber

After passing tax credit program to fund school choice, lawmakers cut it in half

By: - May 12, 2021

Less than a week after an education savings account program was sent to the governor — a major victory for school choice advocates more than a decade in the making — the Missouri House voted on Tuesday to cut the program in half.  Lawmakers said the slash to the program was part of a previously […]

Missouri Senate approves oversight of unlicensed faith-based reform schools

By: - May 11, 2021

A bill that aims to provide increased oversight over unlicensed religious boarding schools in Missouri that have faced allegations of abuse and neglect moved one step closer to passage Tuesday. Despite a handful of senators expressing their opposition to the bill, the Senate passed House Bill 557 with an emergency clause by a vote of […]

Lawmakers say next step is up to Parson for Missouri Medicaid expansion

By: and - May 7, 2021

The General Assembly made swift work of $35.7 billion in appropriations Friday, passing 15 bills to fund state government operations and capital needs while leaving one big question, worth about $2 billion more, unanswered. The operating budget increases state support for school transportation to its highest level in years, provides a modest boost to higher […]

Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, sponsor of HB 349, speaks during the third reading of his legislation/

Missouri Senate sends education savings account program to governor’s desk

By: - May 6, 2021

With only a week left in the legislative session, the Missouri Senate passed a bill Thursday that would establish scholarship accounts to pay for costs like private school tuition — sending a top priority for school choice advocates and legislative leadership to the governor’s desk. After less than 15 minutes of debate, House Bill 349, […]

Furious lawmakers demand answers from Missouri DSS for undercount of abuse reports

By: - May 6, 2021

Lawmakers slammed the Department of Social Services on Thursday for underreporting the number of substantiated cases of abuse and neglect at youth residential facilities during a previous legislative hearing. For nearly an hour-and-a-half on Thursday, the House Special Committee on Government Oversight pressed DSS officials on why the number of findings of abuse, neglect and […]

protests in st. louis in 2017

Missouri House passes bill criminalizing protesters blocking traffic, banning chokeholds

By: - May 5, 2021

A bill criminalizing protesters that intentionally block roadways and shielding police disciplinary records from public view grew even more controversial on Tuesday, with the House adding dozens of amendments before sending it back to the Senate for consideration. Senate Bill 26, which was inspired by protests nationwide this summer decrying police brutality, also sought to […]

Drew Erdmann

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office refuses to release resignation letter of former COO

By: - May 4, 2021

The same day as Randall Williams’ sudden resignation as Missouri’s top health official, another key member of the executive branch left his job without any explanation. Drew Erdmann, chief operating officer for the governor’s office, also stepped down last month.  Unlike Williams, there was no press release acknowledging Erdmann’s departure. But just like Williams, Gov. […]

Tampon file photo

Bipartisan coalition of lawmakers hope to fund free tampons, pads in Missouri prisons

By: - May 3, 2021

In Missouri, incarcerated women’s access to feminine hygiene products depends on where they’re housed. Some are forced to pay to buy tampons and pads to meet their needs, while others are provided with such low quality products they end up having to make their own. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers hope to change that with […]

Rep. Ben Baker speaks on the House floor.

After voting down Senate COVID liability bill, House focus turns to pared down version

By: - April 29, 2021

After voting down a sweeping bill to shield businesses from most COVID-19 related lawsuits Monday night, House lawmakers have pinned their hopes on a much more narrow version. Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, added provisions onto Senate Bill 27 on Thursday in the House Committee on Downsizing State Government, which he chairs. The bill was passed […]