Governor Holden stated during a speech at the Lake of the Ozarks late this morning that he will relent and sign the two education budget bills the legislature has refused to change. Holden made the announcement as he addressed the Missouri School Boards’ Association’s annual leadership summit. Holden told educators gathered for the meeting that Republican legislative leaders had run out the clock during the special session, leaving him no alternative but to sign bills unchanged from those he vetoed last week. The new fiscal year begins Tuesday, July 1st. The Attorney General’s office had warned Holden that entering a new fiscal year without an education budget would spawn a host of lawsuits from all directions. News reporters attending the meeting observed a visibly upset Holden as he made the announcement about three-quarters of the way through his speech. The announcement brings to an end a contentious special legislative session that began June 2nd when Holden recalled the legislature to the Capitol to reconsider budget bills funding health, mental health, social services, schools and colleges. Holden rejected revisions to the bills funding public schools and colleges, but accepted the other two bills. He requested a 90-day emergency appropriation to keep money flowing to schools until the legislature could reconvene in September to wrap up the special session. Legislative leaders ignored the request and approved bills identical to those vetoed last week. Holden did say he would recall the legislature in September during the annual veto session to reconsider raising revenues to offset cuts the legislature approved to the education budget.
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