Missouri Senate to vote on COVID spending bill as pared-back special session nears close

BY: - December 2, 2020

The Missouri Senate is expected Wednesday to complete the work of a special session called to spend unappropriated federal coronavirus aid, following Gov. Mike Parson’s decision Tuesday to spike a bill sheltering businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits. The Senate Appropriations Committee changed nothing in the $1.3 billion spending bill approved Nov. 10 in the Missouri House […]

CDC panel advises states to prioritize health care workers, nursing homes for COVID vaccine

BY: - December 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — Health care workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities would be the first people in the U.S. to receive COVID-19 vaccines under recommendations approved Tuesday by a federal advisory committee.  It will be up to each state to determine how exactly to distribute doses of the vaccines, which could […]

Reversing course, Parson asks lawmakers to drop COVID liability bill from special session

BY: - December 1, 2020

Less than three weeks after expanding the special session’s call, Gov. Mike Parson reversed course and asked lawmakers to wait until January to take up legislation that aims to shield businesses from lawsuits stemming from the pandemic. A spokeswoman for the governor confirmed his request in an email to The Independent on Tuesday night as […]

Missouri lawmakers file bills to improve access to HIV treatment, reduce stigma

BY: - December 1, 2020

The first step for a person to receive care for HIV is knowing whether they have it. But under a Missouri law passed in the late 1980s, it also means people living with HIV could face prosecution if they expose someone to it. A bipartisan trio of Missouri lawmakers announced Tuesday that they plan to […]

New pandemic relief proposal rolled out by bipartisan group in Congress

BY: - December 1, 2020

WASHINGTON—More than a dozen U.S. House and Senate members are pushing for a bipartisan coronavirus relief package to aid struggling states and local governments and fund programs such as unemployment and rental assistance that are set to expire later this month. In a Tuesday press conference, lawmakers unveiled a four-month, $908 billion proposal that would […]

Missouri Republicans hope to limit local control over public health orders

BY: - December 1, 2020

A group of Republican lawmakers joined together on Tuesday to push back on local COVID-19 restrictions, announcing they will pursue legislation aimed at curbing the authority of city and county officials to shut down businesses. The GOP legislators, led by state Sen. Andrew Koenig of Manchester, were inspired by the public health order issued in […]

Northern Missouri hospital worries rural COVID surge may lead to rationing care

BY: - December 1, 2020

An expected surge of COVID-19 cases may be treated like a “mass-casualty event,” with the patients most likely to live receiving the most care and those likely to die made as comfortable as possible, the chief medical officer of a small Missouri hospital said Monday. In an interview with, Dr. Jeff Davis of Scotland […]

Democratic U.S. Senators urge federal funding for state distribution of COVID vaccine

BY: - November 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — More than a dozen U.S. Senate Democrats are urging congressional leaders to include “robust” funding in any coronavirus relief package for states to prepare for vaccine distribution. “Dedicated funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution is especially critical now as jurisdictions are facing historic budget shortfalls amid the pandemic and funding for health departments had […]

COVID-19 cases double in Missouri in November

BY: - November 30, 2020

At the beginning of November, more than twice as many Missouri school districts were conducting all classes in-person as were providing education remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Because the in-person districts were generally smaller than those in virtual education, the number of students learning online was about 50 percent higher than the number in […]

Health departments are ‘slammed.’ Missourians asked to contact trace on their own

BY: - November 30, 2020

New cases of the novel coronavirus are so rampant that Missouri’s local health departments can’t investigate them all, meaning some residents may never hear from public health officials. It’s far from ideal. Case investigations and contact tracing are “a core disease control measure” that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to as one […]

Missouri Senate to vote next week on COVID funding. Fate of liability bill uncertain

BY: - November 27, 2020

The Missouri Senate will meet next week to consider a $1.3 billion COVID-19 spending bill, but the timeline for debating pandemic liability protections is not clear. The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday, and the full Senate will spend Wednesday debating the spending bill as the special session called by Gov. Mike Parson […]

How state political parties helped big money pay for this year’s elections

BY: - November 26, 2020

WASHINGTON — State parties played an unprecedented role in financing the presidential election this year, making it possible for the national political parties to raise eye-popping sums from individual donors — and keep more money than they might otherwise be allowed.  That’s all thanks to a 2014 Supreme Court decision that eliminated the overall limit […]