The Senate has made no progress on persuading Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) to stop blocking every bill in the Senate, including one to fund veterans’ homes. He says he has no objections to transferring gaming revenues from early childhood programs to nursing homes for military vets, but he won’t allow it or any other bill to advance unless the House strips more than $2 million in extra funding from Southeast Missouri State University. President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says other Senators have sided with Crowell on the issue.
“Because they feel like it’s unfair to grant Southeast Missouri State that amount of increase when other items in the budget are being eliminated," Mayer said.
Crowell accuses House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) of funneling money to SEMO because he plans to be a lobbyist for the university when he leaves office at the end of the year. Tilley denies the accusation and says that Crowell is behaving like a kindergartener.
“There’s a funding inequity (at SEMO, and) when you see an inequity with taxpayer dollars, you try and fix it," Tilley said. "The reality is, (Crowell) doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like the president of the university…ask anybody around, and they'll tell you that's the case.”
Tilley, Crowell and Mayer are all alumni of Southeast Missouri State.
Meanwhile, other Senators have helped Crowell block a vote on funding veterans’ homes because they’re trying to strip state funding from the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.
Lawmakers have until Friday afternoon to pass the state budget, and House rules require the budget bills to be read into the journal 24 hours before they can be passed. House and Senate budget conferees are scheduled to meet Thursday morning at 8:30.