Budget hearings have begun in the Missouri Senate, and already there are notable differences with the House in where that chamber wants to make cuts.
While the House budget would give state workers earning less than $70,000 per year a two percent raise, the Senate version would limit those raises to workers making less than $45,000 per year. Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a similar bill last month that originated in the Senate. The House version contains most of the same provisions – it would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, and it would restore occupational disease claims within the workers’ comp system. State Rep. Jacob Hummel (D, St. Louis) debated with the bill’s sponsor, Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan).
Missouri is tapping a state budget reserve fund for cash flow purposes.
The state Office of Administration said Tuesday that $100 million was borrowed from the reserve fund in March.
It's the third time money has been used from the reserve in the budget year that began last July. The state used $75 million from the reserve in December and $150 million in February. All $325 million borrowed from the fund is to be repaid by May 15.
The bill re-ignited intense debate over women’s reproductive rights. State Rep. Margo McNeil (D, Hazelwood) argued that allowing health professionals to opt out of performing certain procedures could result in a public health threat.
A Cole County judge has thrown out a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would allow lawmakers to require voters to show IDs at the polls.
The ruling, which you can view the full text of here, was filed on Tuesday. In it, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce calls the summary statement, which outlines to voters what the proposed amendment would do, "insufficient" and "unfair."
But the likelihood that the House will also override the Governor’s veto is virtually nonexistent, according to Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka). He says they just don’t have the votes, even within their own party.
“We would have to first convince our caucus," Jones said. "And even if we did, we’re still simply three votes short on a bill that no Democrat, I believe, has supported to this point…that’s a tough vote.”