The spotlight is on the state senate as the clock winds down on approval of a new state budget. On the day after a key bill for budget discussions got caught in the middle of a dispute between the speaker of the house and a veteran state senator, the senate met three times for only a few minutes and called it a day.
Majority leader Tom Dempsey, who sets the work schedule, thinks the time was better spent working out disagreements..
Speaker Steven Tilley wants 2.3-milion extra dollars in the budget for Southeast Missouri State University. Cape Girardeau Senator Jason Crowell wants it out and will block a vote on every bill in the senate until the money is removed.
Both men represent the school.
The dispute is holding up a vote on a veterans home funding bill. Budget negotiators say that bill needs to pass so they know whether to cut the budget by another 30-mililon dollars or leave the money in the spending package. Senate President pro-tem Rob Mayer isn’t so sure the bill needs to be passed before the budget is finished. He says past legislatures sometimes have passed bills for programs or buildings after a budget containing money for the project is passed.
Legislative rules indicate something needs to happen today to assure lawmakers will hit their Friday evening deadline for passing the new budget.