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.

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 […]

Missouri Senate renews push to bar vaccine passports, rein in local health orders

By: - April 28, 2021

A push to provide greater oversight over local health orders and ban vaccine passports was renewed this week when the Missouri Senate tacked both proposals onto a sprawling bill on local government issues. House Bill 271 swelled from just three pages when it was originally introduced to 101 on Tuesday afternoon, after nearly 30 amendments […]

COVID liability bill voted down in Missouri House committee

By: - April 27, 2021

A bill that would shield businesses from most COVID-related lawsuits and is one of Gov. Mike Parson’s top legislative priorities was voted down in a House committee Monday night — making the path for its passage slim with only three weeks left in the legislative session. Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, […]

Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services testifies before the House Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention

Missouri governor won’t release resignation letter of his former health director

By: - April 27, 2021

A week out from Randall Williams’ resignation as Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s health director, there remains little clarity on what spurred his sudden departure. On Monday, the governor’s office refused to release a copy of Williams’ resignation letter, arguing that it was considered a closed record under the state’s Sunshine Law. That follows a formal […]

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at University Hospital.

To tackle slowdown in vaccine demand, providers work to break down barriers to access

By: and - April 23, 2021

When KC Care Health Center ramped up its COVID-19 vaccine rollout earlier this year, staff couldn’t keep up with demand. Doses went into patients’ arms as soon as they came in.  So when Missouri made all adult residents eligible for the vaccine a week-and-half ago, Adria Edwards, director of special projects for the federally qualified […]

Gov. Mike Parson signs into law House Bills 429 and 430

Parson signs into law bills that provide tax credits for foster, adoptive families

By: - April 22, 2021

Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a pair of bills Thursday that will expand tax credits for foster and adoptive families and that aim to encourage donations to domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and maternity homes. The bills, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, received bipartisan support, and were some of the earliest […]

Rep. Tom Hannegan

As session nears end, Missouri legislators get creative in push for LGBTQ protections

By: - April 22, 2021

With progress stalled and the legislative session nearly over, a bipartisan group of lawmakers hoping to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ Missourians have begun using an array of tactics to bypass the gridlock. On Monday, a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Act was pulled from a committee where it had […]

Rep. Chuck Basye

Bill banning trans students from sports teams by gender wins support of Missouri House

By: - April 21, 2021

After hours of fierce debate that spanned the course of two days, the Missouri House on Wednesday signed off on a prohibition on transgender students participating on the sports teams that match their gender identity. The provision, offered as an amendment by Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, to House Bill 1141 was adopted by a vote […]

Randall Williams out after four contentious years as Missouri health director

By: - April 20, 2021

Amid the peak of Missouri’s COVID vaccine rollout and just four years on the job, Randall Williams has stepped down as director of the state’s health department, effective immediately.  Gov. Mike Parson’s announcement did not give a reason for Williams’ departure. Robert Knodell, Parson’s deputy chief of staff who has played a key role in […]