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.
Mo. House, Senate push for elimination of Sue Shear Institute
The Missouri House has approved legislation that would strip state funding from an institute that trains women for careers in politics.
The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life is located at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and bills itself non-partisan. Its detractors, however, argue the Institute caters to Democrats - a characterization that Springfield Democrat Sara Lampe strongly disputes.
The Missouri Senate has been shut down by one Senator over which version of legislation for veterans’ homes will be adopted.
Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) and several allies tied up the Senate for nearly 12 hours Monday night and are provoking a showdown with Senate leaders. In addition to using a filibuster to block the veterans’ homes bill, Crowell is using several motions to block all bills from being debated.
“We have some issues that need to be resolved in the Senate before we move forward, and they’re gonna be resolved one way or the other," Crowell said. "I will continue to make this series of motions on anything else that we do.”
House and Senate budget negotiators resumed talks today, but still have not resolved differences over how to fund veterans homes and health care for the blind.
They agreed on numerous budget items that have garnered little to no controversy. The House won out on its proposed pay raise for state workers – those earning under $70,000 a year would get a 2 percent raise starting in July. Kirk Schaefer (R, Columbia), the Senate’s chief negotiator, says he didn’t mind accepting the House’s position on pay raises.
The state Office of Administration released figures on Wednesday that show Missouri's net revenues were up 3.1 percent through April - or the first 10 months of the fiscal year. The 2012 budget is based on 2.7 percent growth.
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.
The move was part of the normal procedure for preparing for final budget negotiations. However, some House members took the opportunity to criticize the Senate for cutting more than $3 million from the state’s tourism budget. State Rep. Don Ruzicka (R, Mount Vernon) urged House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) to try to get the cut restored.
With three weeks left in the legislative session, Governor Jay Nixon (D) is urging lawmakers to fund veterans’ homes, pensions for the blind and other specific needs in the still-unfinished state budget.
Nixon told reporters today that nursing homes for military veterans are woefully underfunded in next year’s $24 billion spending plan, and that a separate bill needs to be passed to insure a dedicated funding source for the homes.
“Missouri’s veterans’ home(s) provide critical services for thousands of men and women who have served our country with honor and bravery," Nixon said. "Let me be clear, that bill must get to my desk without delay.”