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Forty percent of the population has this kind of hypertension, and it's the kind that has the "highest risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality," according to Truman Veterans' Hospital nephrology specialist DR. SMRITA DORAIRAJAN. If you're prone to high blood pressure, you'll want to watch this interview! April 29, 2021

A Missouri bill to shield businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits has hit a major roadblock in the Legislature.

A House committee voted the bill down Monday. The measure was meant to protect hospitals, manufacturers and other businesses from lawsuits over alleged wrongdoing during the pandemic. Republican Gov. Mike Parson says the bill is a top priority for him. The measure passed the GOP-led Senate before it failed to pass out of the House committee.

The Missouri Senate has voted against paying for Medicaid expansion. Senators on Wednesday voted 20-14 against a proposal to add the funding to the state budget.

The vote locks in the House's decision not to pay for Medicaid expansion. Missouri voters last year voted to expand who is eligible for government health care coverage to thousands more low-income adults. But the Republican-led Legislature has long opposed growing the program. Now they're trying to thwart expansion by blocking funding for it.

Afternoon Newscast for April 28, 2021

Apr 28, 2021

Regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including:

Missouri Senate Tables Bill to Invalidate Federal Gun Laws

Apr 28, 2021

The Missouri Senate has tabled a bill to invalidate federal gun laws after pushback from Democrats who said the proposal would threaten partnerships between local and federal authorities.

The bill seeks to invalidate federal laws or other actions deemed to infringe on a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

A recent survey has found that one in 10 Missouri teachers are thinking about calling it quits after a challenging year of pandemic education.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that researchers with Missouri State University’s College of Education sent out the survey to each of the 67,000 public school educators with an email on file with the state and 8,040 responded in mid-February.

Washington University in St. Louis has become the latest college to announce plans to require students to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus this fall.

KMOX reports that the school says faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. The school also said it would allow some exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

The university informed students in a letter that if students can’t get vaccinated before arriving, the university will help them get a vaccine locally.

Appeals Panel: Limits on St. Louis Police Aren't Permanent

Apr 28, 2021

A federal appeals court has ruled that a judge’s 2017 ruling limiting how St. Louis police officers can control protesters was meant to be a temporary order and must end unless a trial court takes up the issue within six months.

A panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the 2-1 decision Tuesday on U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry’s preliminary injunction issued Nov. 15, 2017.

This week, we’re continuing our dispatches from True/False 2020 with a conversation between artist and filmmaker Rikkí Wright and programmer Jeanelle Augustin. Wright’s work is often deeply personal and offers commentary on how she interacts with and understands the world around her. “A Song About Love,” Wright's latest short film, showed ahead of The Giverny Document, and is a dreamy mix of vibrant, colorful images and archival material. As she told Jeanelle, Wright’s work started as a way to engage with her own family and document her life.

If spring cleaning is on your to-do list, don't forget that when the time comes, you can donate your unwanted, gently-used furniture or housewares to The Love Seat, a program from Love Columbia (formerly Love INC). JANE WILLIAMS tells us how many less-fortunate members of our community ended up with a fully-furnished home for free in 2020 thanks to your donations! April 28, 2021

Here's a roundup of headlines from around the region, including: 

The number of Missourians who have been infected with the coronavirus has now topped the half-million mark.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Tuesday cited 524 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 500,071.

The state also reported 37 new deaths, though 34 of those occurred between November and earlier this month and were uncovered in the state’s weekly review of death certificates. All told, 8,732 Missourians have died from the virus.

A Missouri House committee unanimously endorsed a proposal to increase the state's gasoline tax.

The House Transportation Committee's vote on Monday sends the measure to the full House, where some Republicans oppose raising taxes. If it's approved, Missouri's gasoline tax would increase 12.5 cents over five years, resulting in a tax of 29.5 cents per gallon. It would be the first increase since 1996. House Speaker Rob Vescovo, a Republican from Arnold, has previously said he’s against tax hikes.The Senate approved the measure in March.

The Check-In Outtake: MU's Social Justice Centers

Apr 27, 2021

On April 19, over 100 MU students stood outside Jesse Hall to protest the alleged plans to fire some or all staff members of the university’s social justice centers. Students shared personal stories about how those staff members have helped them get through traumatic experiences on campus and find their sense of community. The University has claimed the allegations are false and that they are “restructuring” the social justice centers - but much remains unclear.

This week on Discover Nature, crappie are spawning in shallow water across Missouri.

These popular panfish occur nearly statewide in open water or near submerged timber or other suitable cover in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and slow-flowing backwaters of large rivers. 

During the spring spawning season, these fish find vegetation and submerged woody structure in shallow water.  

Crappie are most active in evening and nighttime, but can be observed at all times of day. 

Remodeling your home? If so, don't let your hardwoods suffer under all that extra foot traffic, instead, protect them with Ram Board! SCOTT BRADLEY says this environmentally-friendly product, available now at Carpet One Floor and Home in Columbia, is also good for keeping oil leaks off your garage floor. Also, STACIE POTTINGER is back for one last visit before the 2021 True False Film Festival. More than just movies are being planned, for instance...a game of kickball? Yep! (4:08) April 27, 2021

Here's a roundup of regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

2020 Graduates Return To MU For In-Person Commencement

Apr 27, 2021

Approximately 1,500 MU students who graduated in 2020 were able to return for an in-person commencement over the weekend. Every student was allocated six tickets for friends and family to join in the celebration.

The act of rescheduling the commencement was no easy task. News Bureau Director Christian Basi said university staff had to work around the clock to analyze the safest way to conduct the event while giving it a “traditional Mizzou feeling.”

A Missouri bill to limit when police can use chokeholds is advancing in the state House.

The GOP-led chamber gave the measure initial approval in a voice vote Monday. The bill would restrict police from using chokeholds except if their lives or the lives of others are at risk or if they face serious physical injury.

Afternoon Newscasts for April 26, 2021

Apr 26, 2021

Here's a roundup of regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

Family dentists PHILIP BATSON and ELIZABETH ABE, DDS, Columbia Healthy Smiles, get to the root of why the root canal has such a long-standing reputation as the one dental procedure you want to avoid (when really it's not all that bad). April 26, 2021

St. Louis’ new mayor, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush and several other officials met with detainees at both of the city’s jails Saturday to check out conditions and highlight reform efforts.

Mayor Tishaura Jones said she is particularly concerned about complaints she heard about substandard food and lack of access to medical treatment in the city’s jails. Jones has pledged to close the medium security jail known as the workhouse, which has often been criticized for unsanitary and unsafe conditions.

Missouri is resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after federal scientific advisers decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clots.

The state made the announcement Friday night in a tweet in response to U.S. health officials lifting an 11-day pause on the single-dose vaccine. The state said that providers with J&J vaccine in stock can immediately begin administering it and that shipments from the federal government will resume next week.

Just over 105,000 doses of J&J had been administered in Missouri before the pause.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

According to the ACLU of Missouri, there are currently 15 bills in the Missouri legislature that target the LGBTQ community – many of them targeting transgender youth. These include bills that would prohibit trans kids from competing in gendered sports and criminalize parents who provide gender-affirming healthcare to their children.

So, following this slew of proposed legislation – and the killing of Dominque Luscious, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman, in Springfield in early April – folks gathered in Jefferson City last Saturday at a "March for Trans Liberation" to protest the proposed legislation and bring attention to the needs of all Trans Missourians.

Here are the voices of a few of those who gathered.

The Missouri Supreme Court has declined to pause a capital murder trial for a St. Louis man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, her mom and his baby boy after, despite two positive COVID-19 tests for potential jurors who had appeared in court.

The ruling on Friday came two days after attorneys for Eric Lawson requested a two-week delay, citing concerns that COVID-19 infections could spread to other potential jurors, trial staff and lawyers. 

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

About 1,500 University of Missouri graduates who didn’t get the chance to walk across the stage last year because of the pandemic are returning to campus this weekend for a long-delayed celebration.

Jordan Richards and Tracy Davis are both Board Members at The Center Project, an LGBTQ+ resource and community center for Mid-Missouri.

They spoke about some of the barriers transgender Missourians face when they need to go to the doctor – for gender-affirming health care or even for a simple checkup.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at