Rachel Lippmann

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

The coronavirus pandemic brought normal court operations across Missouri to a sudden halt. 

Jury trials were postponed, other court proceedings moved to video conferencing or were done over the telephone, and access to courthouses was strictly limited. Now, the easing of state and local restrictions means courthouses are slowly opening, but it may be a long time before operations fully resume.

Last weekend, Rasheen Aldridge once again found himself with a bullhorn in hand, speaking to a crowd about a black man killed by police. 

Days earlier, George Floyd had died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

“We’re tired,” Alridge said as the crowd shouted its agreement. “It’s a simple message. It’s not hard to understand. We’re tired of people of all colors being killed in our streets by police brutality.”

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.”

Updated at 2:35 a.m. with comments from Police Chief John Hayden

Four St. Louis police officers were shot late Monday night during protests in the city over the killing of George Floyd.

Two were shot in the leg, one in the arm and one in the foot, said Police Chief John Hayden. He was visibly frustrated as he gave an update on the shootings shortly before 2 a.m.

“Folks came down just to steal, just to destroy property and just to hurt officers,” Hayden said.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a big drop in traffic on St. Louis-area roads, and that’s been helpful for the region’s street and transportation departments.

“It makes it much easier for them to get equipment and materials to and from the job site, as well as it makes the job sites much safer for everyone to work in, which increases productivity,” said Joel Cumby, the construction engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s District 8, which includes the Metro East.

A group of people who helped pass Clean Missouri is suing over the state legislature’s attempt to reverse the changes it made to the redistricting process.

Lawmakers last week approved a proposed constitutional amendment that puts the power to draw state legislative districts in the hands of a bipartisan commission, rather than a non-partisan demographer. It also requires the districts to be drawn with an emphasis on compactness, rather than competitiveness.

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.

The FBI says it has received hundreds of complaints about cyberscams based on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“When there’s a lot of fear and anxiety in the general population, it just seems that a lot of times scammers and criminals take advantage of those emotions and try to rob people of their money or their personal information,” said Mark Dargis, assistant special agent in charge of national security and cyber programs at the St. Louis field office.

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.

The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court says the state needs to properly fund its public defender system to continue the criminal justice reforms it has passed in the past several years.

Speaking to a joint session of the state Legislature on Wednesday for his first State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice George Draper applauded the General Assembly for boosting access to treatment courts and allowing more individuals to enter diversion programs. However, he cautioned those reforms can only go so far.

St. Louis' first black prosecutor, Kim Gardner, has sued the city, its police union and five others for what she calls a racist effort to block her reform agenda.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has pledged money and manpower to help St. Louis and St. Louis County address an increase in violent crime.

“We know that we have a serious problem with violent crime that must be addressed,” Parson said Thursday at a news conference in St. Louis. “As your governor, and a former law enforcement officer for more than 22 years, protecting the citizens of our state is one of the utmost importance to my administration.”

The announcement came after a day of meetings with local political, religious and law enforcement leaders.

Updated at 4 p.m., June 18 with calls from Gardner's supporters to end the gag order on the case. — A former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to help in the criminal investigation of then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is now facing charges himself.

A grand jury indictment made public on Monday charged William Tisaby with seven felony counts, including multiple perjury charges. His conduct during the investigation was a factor in prosecutors dropping the felony invasion of privacy charge against the governor.

Updated at 11 a.m., June 13 with details about the championship parade — For the first time in their 52-year history, the St. Louis Blues have hoisted the Stanley Cup.

The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 Wednesday night to secure their first-ever National Hockey League championship. When the final buzzer sounded, fans in St. Louis and elsewhere erupted in a long-awaited celebration, as the Blues mobbed their goaltender on the ice in Boston.

The city of St. Louis will honor the team with a parade and rally downtown along Market Street at noon on Saturday. The route starts at 18th Street and ends at Broadway. A rally will be held afterwards at the Gateway Arch. 

Enterprise Center and much of St. Louis erupted in bedlam Tuesday night as the final horn sounded, sending the St. Louis Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The Blues beat the San Jose Sharks in spectacular fashion, scoring two power-play goals and an empty-netter to win 5-1. It sets up a rematch of the 1970 final, which the Boston Bruins won in four.

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