February 6, 2016

Senate floor leader expects debate to resume today (AUDIO)

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.


AUDIO: Dempsey press conference 3:48