St. Louis Public Radio News
9:12 am
Fri May 16, 2003

Legislative Session Ends

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri's first Republican Legislature in 55 years is over.

The House and Senate completed their work at Friday's 6pm deadline.

Members approved many of the GOP's socially conservative and pro-business priorities.

Unknown for now is whether Democratic Governor Holden will call a special session concerning the new budget.

Republicans claim it is balanced.

But Holden wants to enhance the spending plan with more taxes.

After adjournment, Republican House and Senate leaders proclaimed the session a resounding success.

House Speaker Catherine Hanaway called it a new beginning, and a new direction for Missouri government.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder called it a remarkable session, given the state's economic challenges.

Among the apparent casualties are GOP attempts to re-write workers' compensation laws, and restrict the state's environmental regulations.

Also falling short of passage was an effort to broaden state tax exemptions to apply to people who invest in college savings plans run by other states.

Missouri's nearly $19 billion budget is for the fiscal year starting July first. Lawmakers sent it to Holden last
week.

Over-all, the budget is slightly larger than the current year's budget, although it contains less general state tax revenues.

The budget cuts $160 million in basic aid to public schools. It also trims more than $50 million from state aid to public colleges and universities.

Holden has especially criticized the education cuts.