Mo. State budget
7:26 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

No "binding" for the Missouri Senate on budget negotiations

The Missouri Senate took the next step Tuesday toward beginning final negotiations with the House on next year’s state budget.  But Senate members struggled with whether to bind themselves to various positions they support.

Binding yourself to a position means that lawmakers refuse to negotiate on one or more items during conference committee meetings, in effect, declaring them off limits.  Some senators wanted to do that, but Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) argued against it.

“Because you are throwing a dart at the five (State) Representatives on the other side, saying, ‘we’re drawing a line in the sand, we’re not gonna negotiate,’" Schaefer said.  "(That) is immediately going to prompt a response from them, which is, ‘alright, fine…here’s the things we’re not gonna negotiate on.'”

The Senate eventually agreed not to bind themselves to any issues.  Budget negotiations with the House are set to begin Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.