Governor Mike Parson | KCUR

Governor Mike Parson

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, the Broadway Diner was empty. The ‘50s-style greasy spoon has been a fixture of downtown Columbia for decades. But owner Dave Johnson said he’d never seen anything like this. “I was here when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and I thought that was horrible, but it’s nothing like this,” Johnson said.

The diner closed its dine-in space three days ago, following an order from the city government. A few days earlier, Johnson announced the diner would feed any students and community members, after local colleges and the public school system closed.


Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says lawmakers would be amenable to passing election legislation aimed at responding to coronavirus fears — after municipal elections were moved recently from April to June.

What changes would actually be made is still under discussion. Some ideas include broadening the use of absentee ballots and implementing a vote-by-mail program.

Courtesy photo

Brandy Granados felt like she was just getting back on her feet. After spending the summer without a home, she was working with a temp agency at UPS and living in an apartment with her 8-year-old son, Jude, and a roommate. 

Then two weeks ago, she was told by UPS “her assignment had ended.” And with schools closed due to the coronavirus, she’s focusing much of her energy on Jude, who Brandy says, has trouble concentrating and was getting specialized instruction at school.

Unable to work, Granados doesn’t know how she’ll pay her rent in April.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City and St. Louis business and health care leaders have issued an urgent, blunt warning to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: Immediately order uniform social distancing across the state to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state of Missouri has its first confirmed death from COVID-19, the virus caused by the new coronavirus.

Gov. Mike Parson confirmed the death Wednesday at a brief press conference at the Capitol. The patient is from Boone County, and the infection was related to travel, but no other information was provided.

Missouri could soon become the first state in the nation without a clinic providing abortions, but Planned Parenthood officials say the last remaining one there has already all but ceased performing the procedure.

The two top candidates for Missouri governor signed up to run in their party’s respective primaries on Tuesday, and spent their first moments as official candidates diverging on a ballot item to expand Medicaid.

Gov. Mike Parson and state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s entry into the 2020 gubernatorial contest came as scores of other congressional, statewide and legislative candidates traveled to Jefferson City to file for office.

Segment 1: Previewing 2020's public safety stories

Kansas City has been staring down a violent crime problem for years and officials at both the state and federal levels are primed to implement a myriad of solutions. But KCUR reporters said it could be months before we see any results.

  • Chris Haxel, Guns and America reporter at KCUR
  • Sam Zeff, metro reporter at KCUR

Segment 2, beginning at 25:56: Where fast food and black entrepreneuership meet

Gun control, Medicaid and redistricting are expected to be the most contentious issues Missouri lawmakers will take up this legislative session. 

House and Senate members return to the state Capitol on Wednesday, and the governor is to deliver his State of the State address a week later on Jan. 15. 

Democrats in both chambers say gun control and urban violence will be at the top of their list of priorities. 

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

More and more young people are vaping, which has led states like Vermont and Illinois to tax vaping products. That’s unlikely to happen in Missouri. 

In 2014, Missouri lawmakers decided that vaping products and alternative nicotine products shouldn’t be taxed or regulated as tobacco products, part of a bill that banned selling vaping products to minors.

While a couple of bills introduced for this year’s session deal with vaping, none add a tax and the governor hasn’t indicated support for a tax. Illinois, meanwhile, expects to get about $15 million in 2020 due to a new 14.5% tax.

Missouri Clemency Request Backlog Continues Under Parson

Dec 22, 2019

In the 18 months he has been in office, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has acted on just one of over 3,500 clemency cases. 

The Republican governor inherited a decades-old backlog of clemency requests. Some of the cases have been pending for several years, with multiple governors before Parson not taking action.

But Parson doesn’t seem to be in any rush to dive into what can be a politically risky part of the job. He declined to put one man’s execution on hold in October. Beyond that, he hasn’t denied or approved any other clemency applications. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced the launch of the state’s new youth vaping education campaign to bring attention to the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping products. 

Parson signed an executive order in October giving the departments of Health and Senior Services, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Public Safety one month to get the program running without any additional funding. 

Calling vaping-related illnesses among Missouri’s youth an epidemic, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday signed an executive order mandating education to discourage usage. 

Thousands have been sickened across the country due to vaping-related illnesses. In Missouri, there have been 22 reported illnesses and one death as of Oct. 4. The majority of those cases involve people between the ages of 15 and 24. 

Missouri Department of Corrections

Missouri executed its first prisoner since 2017 on Tuesday night. Despite the man’s rare medical condition, no complications were reported. 

Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order earlier this summer creating a task force to look into something that could bring big changes to how Missourians get—and pay for—their health care. 

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

In baseball circles, the St. Louis Cardinals organization is known for its so-called “The Cardinal Way,” a manual of sorts that players and managers adhere to in the quest for consistency. 

Since August 2018, Missouri state government has been teaching “The Missouri Way,” a leadership training program that’s already indoctrinated more than 1,000 employees from the 16 executive departments. Statewide-elected officials like the secretary of state, auditor and attorney general are not required to take the training, and neither is their staff. 

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:05 p.m. May 24 with comment from Parson spokesman — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed strict abortion regulations into law Friday, just hours after one of the biggest GOP donors encouraged him to veto it. 

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3 file photo

In this very special episode of KCUR’s Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, we joined forces with St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast to round up the 2019 session of the Missouri General Assembly.

Gov. Mike Parson just finished up his first legislative session as governor. And by any objective measure, it was a good one for the GOP chief executive.

He wanted the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve his ideas around workforce development and transportation spending, and those lawmakers followed through. He was also able to deal with warring factions within his party, most notably six conservative senators that at times held up his priorities.

Alex Smith / KCUR

At a rally Sunday afternoon, a line of abortion-rights marchers encircled nearly the entire Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, a distance of just over a mile.

After a week that featured titanic battles over high-profile legislation, Missouri lawmakers are heading into the final day with a lot on their plate.

The unfinished business set for Friday includes final passage of abortion legislation that’s made national headlines, as well as a bill to overhaul the low-income housing tax-credit program.

Segment 1: The impact of the Missouri Senate Conservative Caucus on the finals days of the 2019 session.

They've been called the "Chaos Caucus" and their latest efforts have involved  attempting blocks of a tax break bill for General Motors and a prescription-drug monitoring program. Statehouse reporters offered insight on these senators and how other Republicans view these fellow members of the GOP.

Updated at 6 a.m. May 16 with Senate passage — Missouri is a step closer to having some of the strictest limits on abortion in the country.

The measure approved by the state Senate early Thursday bans abortion after a heartbeat can be detected, usually around six to eight weeks. There is no exception for rape or incest and there are also complete bans on abortion if a fetus is diagnosed with Down syndrome, or based on race or gender.

Updated at 12 p.m. Tuesday with comments from Gov. Parson:

A state incentive package aimed at getting General Motors to expand in Missouri is running into a major roadblock in the state Senate, threatening to derail some of Gov. Mike Parson’s priorities with less than a week left in the legislative session.

Six Republican senators who object to the expansion of job-training aid and a fund that would help finance the closing of economic development deals led a filibuster Monday on what is generally a quick procedural step to begin the day. That prevented any other work from getting done, as the filibuster, which began around 2:30 p.m., stretched into the night and early Tuesday morning.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is pushing an economic development plan intended to incentivize General Motors to expand its automotive plant in Wentzville.

If approved by state Legislature, the plan would make the auto manufacturer eligible for more than $50 million in state tax credits. Parson emphasized that the company’s expansion was only potential, and a GM spokesman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company won’t make any decisions until it has had more discussions with community officials and the United Automobile Workers union.

Parson visited Wentzville on Wednesday to publicize the plan. Parson also surveyed flooded farmland in St. Charles County during the trip.

Carolina Hildalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Updated at 3:42 p.m. with governor's statement  — Missouri’s auditor wants to know whether it’s OK for Gov. Mike Parson’s office to claim First Amendment rights when redacting certain pieces of information from public records.

Many high school students choose college as their destination after graduation, and receive lots of attention for that decision. A collection of high schools near Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood wanted to bring that same recognition to students who join the military.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House and Senate have approved their versions of the $29 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. But there’s still work to be done ahead of the May 10 deadline to get it to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, namely by the conference committee that’ll figure out how to square everyone’s desires.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday requested a federal disaster declaration in 13 counties along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which will trigger assistance needed after devastating spring flooding.

In northwestern Missouri — where Interstate 29 is still closed, towns are submerged and hundreds of acres of farmland are underwater — many residents wondered why the declaration took a month longer than those in Nebraska and Iowa.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s been busy, looking into Clay County’s finances, the attorney general’s office and raising questions about the state’s tax revenues and budget issues.

She sat down with KCUR's Samuel King on April 15 (Tax Day) to discuss all of these things, as well as what it’s like to be the only Democrat holding a statewide office.

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