Missouri senators are considering a roughly $25 billion budget plan that may be most notable for what it doesn't contain.
Senate debate on the budget is scheduled to begin late Monday, with some of the most agreeable items up first. Those include a $66 million increase in basic aid for public schools and a $34 million increase for public colleges and universities.
Missouri senators have endorsed a plan that could provide $15 million to Joplin to rebuild street curbs and gutters that were damaged as a result of the 2011 tornado.
The bill given initial approval Wednesday would fund disaster recovery projects by redirecting money from other areas of state government. Among the entities that would lose money are the state insurance department and an agency that helps finance health and educational facilities.
The Missouri House has backed a tax credit overhaul that is sharply different from a Senate version. A bill given initial approval 120-31 Wednesday night would set much higher caps than the Senate on the amount of tax credits that can be approved annually for the renovation of historic buildings and development of low-income housing.
Unlike a bill passed previously by the Senate, the House version would combine several existing business incentives into a new program with greater flexibility for state economic development officials to award tax credits.
The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee farmers' rights.
The legislation originally would have barred voters from passing initiatives that would infringe on farmers' rights. But that portion was removed after opposition from senators concerned about blocking the petition process.
Nursing mothers could be excused from jury duty under legislation given initial approval by the Missouri Senate.
A bill endorsed Monday would expand protections in Missouri law that already allow mothers to discreetly breast-feed in public places. The bill adds expressing breast milk to the list of protected activities and prohibits cities from enacting local ordinances restricting breast-feeding mothers. Under the legislation, nursing mothers would be excused from jury duty upon submitting a written note from a doctor.
Nearly a full month of hearings wrapped up Monday into a Missouri Senate bill that would revise the state’s criminal code, but it may already be too late to get the bill to the Governor’s desk this year.
A Missouri Senate panel is preparing to begin drafting its plan for the roughly $25 billion state operating budget.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled hearings throughout the week to begin work on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The panel is also scheduled to consider the budget for the state Revenue Department, despite recent tensions between the department and Republican senators over new driver's license procedures.