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.

The Clean Missouri amendment was passed by 62% of voters in 2018, but repealing at least part of it in the 2020 legislative session is a top priority for some lawmakers. 

The constitutional amendment was billed as a way to “clean up Missouri politics” by capping campaign contributions, limiting the powers of lobbyists and revamping the redistricting process. 

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, said the measure should have never made it on the ballot because it included too many topics. 

Missouri’s medical marijuana program awarded the first group of facility licenses on Thursday. Ten testing locations received approval to begin preparing for final state inspections before operations begin this spring. 

Testing facilities are responsible for testing all of the cannabis in the state. They will test the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component found in the drug. 

Facilities will also ensure there are no foreign substances or bacteria present. 

Missouri officials have denied St. Louis’ request for $30 million in tax credits for a Major League Soccer stadium. 

A meeting scheduled for Tuesday to vote on the first round of tax credits, totaling $15 million, was canceled. Bob Miserez, executive director of the Missouri Development Finance Board, said the meeting was canceled because the board did not have authorization to go above a cap on the credits. 

Six people are being considered for the new state demographer position that will draw Missouri’s legislative districts. 

The applicants are Damon Braidlow, Donald B. Cripe, Sara Hartman, Bryan Kinworthy, R. Zane Price and Jason J. Ross. 

The position was created by the Clean Missouri amendment that was approved by 62% of voters in 2018. The demographer is required to be nonpartisan in order to draw the state legislative districts fairly and competitively. Legislators who have questioned the process may try to change it in the 2020 session that begins next month.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to change current Missouri law on HIV that they say hasn’t been updated since the 1980s. 

Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, said current laws now actually discourage people from being tested. She said if someone knowingly exposes their partner to HIV and they contract the disease, it’s a class A felony. This is the most serious of felony crimes that include murder, rape and forcible kidnapping. 

The Missouri Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday to decide whether the state’s 12 Planned Parenthood clinics should receive federal funding. 

John Sauer argued on behalf of the state, asking the court to back the Republican-led Legislature’s 2018 decision to deny funding to all Planned Parenthood facilities but not other providers that care for the state’s Medicaid population. 

Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, returned to Jefferson City on Friday. The 1,400-pound statue normally sits atop the Capitol dome but was taken down for restoration for the first time in almost 100 years. 

“Hopefully the public will get to see a part of history here,” said Gov. Mike Parson at the public unveiling of the statue. 

Bob Priddy, past president of the State Historical Society of Missouri, said this will likely be the only time visitors will see the statue up close before it’s hoisted 240 feet in the air. 

Nationally, the number of reported hate crimes remained fairly stagnant in 2018 compared to the year before, but Missouri saw a 39% reduction. 

According to the FBI, there were more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program in 2018, but only about 12% reported incidents. The other 87% reported that no hate crimes occurred in their jurisdictions. Agencies participate on a voluntary basis and provide one to 12 months of data. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson agreed to back stricter gun control after a meeting Monday with the mayors of St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield to continue their discussion on addressing crime and gun violence throughout the state. 

At its fourth meeting, the group agreed on three top priorities to make communities in Missouri safer: additional funding for witness protection programs, greater access to mental health care and stricter gun control.

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. 

Missouri has already approved more than 17,000 patients for its yet-to-be-launched medical marijuana program — a stark contrast to neighboring Illinois, which had fewer than 3,000 patients in the first 10 months. 

Licenses for Missouri’s dispensaries are expected to be awarded by January, and cannabis should be available for medical card holders by spring. 

At their core, Missouri and Illinois programs do the same thing: They allow doctors to certify patients to use cannabis if they have a qualifying condition. But there are significant differences in the details of each law, including who has access, how they’re getting access and how the programs can be changed in the future.

A Missouri Senate committee heard several hours of testimony on Monday regarding gun violence throughout the state, with possible solutions including more money for gang intervention and better retention of police officers. 

Witnesses at the hearing were invited by one of the seven senators on the newly formed Interim Committee on Public Safety. They included police, prosecutors and research analysts. 

There are hundreds of thousands of Missouri families that don’t know where their next meal is coming from. 

Despite progress, the state is still higher than the national average for food insecurity. 

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Missouri has improved hunger levels throughout the state. Compared to one year ago, levels are down almost one full percentage point. However, 11.7% is the national average of food insecurity, and Missouri sits at 12%

Missouri has more than 10,000 untested rape kits sitting on shelves in police departments and hospitals — some have been there for decades — but the state is finally set to have a full inventory of those kits by the end of the month. 

Once the inventory is complete, Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office can move forward with creating an electronic database to not only keep track of the untested kits, but to help prosecute rapists and provide justice for victims. 

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on whether a portion of the state’s voter identification law is unconstitutional. 

The law allows three methods to cast a vote. People can show a photo ID; another form of identification, like a utility bill, but are then required to sign an affidavit; or they can cast a provisional ballot, which will only count once they return to show ID or election workers match their signatures with a past ballot. 

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