Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

The chronically underfunded Missouri public defender system is now dealing with another vexing issue: the prospect that its overworked attorneys could be punished for not keeping up with their workloads. And that's leading to a growing standoff between judges and public defender attorneys.

The issue surfaced after the Missouri Supreme Court last month suspended a 21-year veteran of the public defender’s office in Columbia who was laboring under a huge caseload and was hospitalized due to chronic health problems.

The same day a federal appeals court overruled itself and voted to block two Missouri abortion restrictions, the state advised Missouri abortion providers that they will have to abide by a new restriction.

A memo dated Oct. 2 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says the agency will file emergency rules on Oct. 24 establishing standards for “complication plans” for medication-induced abortions.

There was another twist Monday in the roller-coaster case brought by Planned Parenthood seeking to block two Missouri abortion restrictions.

After a federal appeals court last month decided to lift an injunction blocking the restrictions from taking effect, the same court has now had a change of heart.

The Missouri Democratic Party announced an ambitious set of health care proposals Tuesday, including expansion of Medicaid and policy changes focused on veterans, women’s health and opioid abuse.

Republicans control the House, Senate and Governor’s office in Missouri, making it unlikely the proposals will be adopted. But Stephen Webber, the party chair, said Democrats still want to present a “positive proactive vision.”

Ryan Welch / KSMU

Through the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, people are guaranteed the freedom to, among other liberties, peaceably assemble. Whether they’re called protests, rallies, or marches, there’s a long history in this county of its citizens coming together to stimulate support for or opposition to various causes. They’re held on street corners, in front of government buildings, and on college campuses.

On the first day of classes this fall at Missouri State University, hundreds gathered in solidarity with Charlottesville to speak out against racism after events in the Virginia city turned violent.

“This event was constructed to bring us all together at the beginning of a school year and to encourage spirit and comradery amongst all of us Bears regardless of our identities,” said Britt Spears, president of the MSU Chapter of the NAACP on Aug. 21.

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