Jaclyn Driscoll | KBIA

Jaclyn Driscoll

Jaclyn Driscoll is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. She joined the politics team in 2019 after spending two years at the Springfield, Illinois NPR affiliate. Jaclyn covered a variety of issues at the statehouse for all of Illinois' public radio stations, but focused primarily on public health and agriculture related policy. Before joining public radio, Jaclyn reported for a couple television stations in Illinois and Iowa as a general assignment reporter.

Jaclyn has an undergraduate degree in History with a middle and secondary education teaching endorsement from Monmouth College. She was the History Department Chair at Greenfield High School in Illinois, but after one year she decided to go back to school for a master's in journalism at DePaul University. Though she has a passion for education and hasn't ruled out teaching again in the future, Jaclyn enjoys the every day excitement that comes with political reporting.

She's a 6th generation descendant on her family farm back in Illinois, but is excited to plant some roots of her own in the Show-Me state. When she isn't busy working, Jaclyn can be found trying to entertain her twin boys who still think she's a cool mom (for now). She loves cheeseburgers, hiking, 2% milk, and binge listening to true crime podcasts.

After years of debating whether to expand Medicaid in Missouri, voters will finally get the chance to decide in the August primary election. 

Currently, the government-funded health insurance program for low-income Missourians and those with disabilities takes up roughly one-third of the state’s $35 billion budget. Supporters of expansion say there are still significant gaps in coverage.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday that he was calling lawmakers back to the state Capitol on Monday, July 27, for a special legislative session to address violent crime. 

“As your governor and former law enforcement officer for 22 years, protecting our citizens and upholding the laws of our state are of the utmost importance to my administration,” Parson said at a news conference Wednesday surrounded by law enforcement officers from across the state. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that he is making $50 million from the federal coronavirus relief funds available to businesses throughout the state.

“The COVID-19 crisis has severely impacted Missouri businesses,” Parson said. “However, this challenge has not stopped them from stepping up and finding new ways to serve Missourians. These critical programs will help Missouri businesses continue their operations, cover costs for increased PPE production, and keep them safe and moving forward.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday defended the couple who aimed guns at protesters marching on the street in front of their St. Louis home, saying they “had every right to protect their property.” 

Mark and Patricia McCloskey made national news after they drew their weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters marching through a gated community to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house on June 28. Their weapons were later turned over to authorities, but they have not been charged with any crime. KMOV-TV reported Tuesday that police have applied for unspecified warrants.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday he will use $125 million in federal funding for job training and to assist public universities in the fall. 

The money, which was distributed from the federal government to help states deal with the coronavirus pandemic, comes with restrictions on how it can be used. 

Colleges and universities will collect $80 million to help them prepare for students and faculty returning next month. Higher Education Commissioner Zora Mulligan said the money will be used for a variety of purposes to make public spaces safe. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Monday signed an omnibus crime bill that he said will allow law enforcement to crack down on violent criminals. 

The bill creates the offense of vehicle hijacking, mandates prison time for certain offenses, stiffens penalties for armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a gun and also allows someone to be charged in a conspiracy to commit a crime. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced that he signed the state budget on Tuesday but is withholding $448.8 million in order to keep it balanced after the state’s economy was ravaged by the coronavirus. 

The area hit hardest is K-12 education funding. According to the Office of Administration, $123.3 million will be withheld from the foundation formula. Higher education is expected to see the next-largest reduction in planned spending, with $27.9 million in withholds, and community colleges will see $18.4 million. 

Medical marijuana is now being grown legally in Missouri, but it won’t be ready for the more than 52,000 patients waiting to buy it until at least late summer. 

Despite initial projections that medical marijuana would be available for purchase in the spring, the Department of Health and Senior Services only earlier this month approved two of the state’s 60 cultivation sites to begin growing. 

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Yinka Faleti, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, joins the program to discuss his bid for the office, as well as the burgeoning protest movement for police accountability. 

Faleti’s appearance on the podcast kicks off an effort to have all of Missouri’s major statewide candidates on Politically Speaking. The two Democratic contenders for attorney general, Elad Gross and Rich Finneran, are slated to record episodes later this month — and we’ll be reaching out to GOP and Democratic candidates to be on the show in the coming weeks. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday signed legislation allowing people at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus to vote absentee without needing an additional notarized statement. 

“Any Missourian affected by COVID-19 should still be able to vote, including those who are sick or considered at-risk,” Parson said in a statement. “I applaud Senator Dan Hegeman, Representative Dan Shaul, and the rest of the legislature for taking this important step, which provides Missourians with a safe and secure way to vote while still safeguarding our elections and ballot process.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday he will deploy more than 1,000 additional members of the National Guard to assist local law enforcement statewide after four police officers were shot in St. Louis on Monday. 

After a day of protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the city experienced an outbreak of violence and looting. Parson said this will not be tolerated. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday he will restrict $209 million in planned spending for June, largely affecting higher and K-12 education. 

Parson has already restricted more than $220 million due to budget constraints during the coronavirus, but he said withholding more now will hopefully allow for fewer cuts in the next fiscal year that begins in July. 

Updated at 9 p.m. with lawsuit filed against the initiative

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that the question of whether to expand Medicaid will be placed on the August primary ballot, a move he said is more about policy than politics. 

Parson said that expanding Medicaid to insure more low-income people will be a “massive spending initiative” and that the state needs to know where it stands financially. 

Sen. Paul Wieland has seen a lot of startling events during his 12 Missouri legislative sessions.

The Imperial Republican has witnessed resignations of House speakers, deaths of statewide officials and implosions of gubernatorial administrations. But Wieland says he’s never gone through anything like 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic massively altered the Legislature’s workload and focus.

Missouri lawmakers capped an unprecedented 2020 legislative session by expanding access to absentee ballots during a pandemic and passing a wide-ranging crime bill — even as other priorities failed to get final approval.

And while the session featured some major budget moves aimed at combating the coronavirus, lawmakers from both parties expressed frustration about missed opportunities — and how the legislative process unfolded.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday signed legislation that modifies how plaintiffs are awarded punitive damages.

The measure requires plaintiffs to prove that the defendant intentionally harmed them or acted in a deliberately flagrant manner to collect. 

Missouri lawmakers are headed into the last week of the 2020 legislative session Monday, with leadership saying they’d like to keep it “uneventful.” 

Typically, the final days of session mimics that of a college student cramming for finals. It’s reserved for some of the bigger and more controversial pieces of legislation, but the coronavirus halted much of the lawmaking process. 

Missouri legislators approved a $35.2 billion state budget on Friday that includes $14.7 billion from the federal government’s coronavirus relief package. 

This comes at a time when State Budget Director Dan Haug said net general revenue collections for April were down 54% — from $1.5 billion to $725.2 million — compared to last year. 

Missouri is spending $66 million in federal money to help with child care needs because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The money will allow low-income families looking for work to be eligible for 90-day child care benefits through December, Missouri Department of Social Services Director Jennifer Tidball said Wednesday. 

In addition, families with incomes up to 215% of the poverty level and with a “documented child care need” will have access to subsidies for transitional child care through August. 

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The Springfield Democrat joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll to provide her impressions of how the Missouri General Assembly is faring after it was idle for weeks due to the coronavirus.

Quade represents a House district that takes in part of Springfield. As the leader of the House Democrats, Quade is largely responsible for crafting her party’s message and strategy in the Missouri House.

The Missouri House passed a $34 billion state budget on Wednesday that reflects the economic costs of COVID-19. 

House Budget Chair Cody Smith, R-Neosho, said the plan includes $146 million less compared to the state’s current budget. However, Smith said that Missouri is doing much better than most states during the virus outbreak. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced on Monday that every business throughout the state will be allowed to open on Monday, May 4. 

This is Parson’s first phase in his “gradual” and “strategic” reopening plan that he said will lead to economic recovery. 

“All of Missouri’s businesses, employers and employees are vital to our state’s economy and well-being,” Parson said at a press briefing on Monday. “Opening these businesses is going to look very different for awhile, but I’m confident Missourians will abide by the guidelines as we move forward.” 

Missouri lawmakers are headed back to the state capitol Monday to pass a state budget by May 8. 

The coronavirus has left the 2020 legislative session in limbo, and there’s still serious concerns about spreading the virus. But House Speaker Elijah Haahr said it’s imperative to get a budget complete. 

“Our constitution doesn’t allow us to do anything but to pass it by May 8,” said Haahr. 

Several hundred men, women and children gathered in Jefferson City and St. Louis County on Tuesday asking Gov. Mike Parson to lift his statewide stay-at-home order and let Missourians get back to work. 

Some protesters ignored social distancing restrictions and stood close together, with only a few wearing masks. They held signs that read, “Poverty Kills People Too," "Freedom For Missourians” and “We Have Rights.” 

Gov. Mike Parson said Friday his goal of getting some Missouri businesses up and running by May 4 can be achieved. 

Parson announced on Thursday that he was extending his statewide stay-at-home order until May 3, mainly to ensure parts of the state would be able to reopen. 

With that goal, he laid out a four-pronged approach: increase the state’s testing capacity and personal protective equipment reserves, if necessary expand health care facilities, and be able to predict potential outbreaks.

Missouri businesses and residents will see restrictions because of the coronavirus until at least May 3.

Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday that he is extending his statewide stay-at-home order until that date so the state can prepare to reopen some businesses on May 4. 

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page also announced indefinite extensions of their orders, which are stricter than the state’s.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is asking about 40 employees who have their own offices to return to work on Monday, one week after a statewide stay-at-home order was issued by Gov. Mike Parson. 

In an email obtained by St. Louis Public Radio, Trish Vincent, executive deputy secretary of state, said Thursday that “those who have offices should return to work” next week “unless otherwise directed.” The email goes on to suggest employees use the handicap entrance and activate the button that opens the door with their elbows to enter the office building.

The Missouri Legislature on Wednesday approved $6.2 billion to fight the coronavirus statewide. 

The supplemental budget gives Gov. Mike Parson spending authority for the money, most of which comes from the federal government’s stimulus package. That money has yet to be doled out to states, and there is some speculation as to how it can be spent. 

Gov. Mike Parson’s statewide stay-at-home order to fight coronavirus that began Monday includes few additional restrictions compared to a social distancing order issued more than two weeks ago.

According to Parson, that’s the way he intended it to be. 

“The first order I done in the state of Missouri was the most strict order we have done,” he said in Monday’s virtual press briefing. “It was no more than 10 people could ever be grouped up together, and six feet apart.” 

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Missouri lawmakers say they are planning to return to Jefferson City next week to pass a supplemental budget that includes millions of state and federal dollars to help deal with the outbreak. 

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