The special legislative session has ended with a whimper, not a bang. Governor Holden, a Democrat who has been fighting Republican legislative leaders, has chosen to quietly sign in private the remaining two budget bills for the state’s operating budget. Holden signed the bills funding public schools, colleges and universities Monday to officially bring to an end the contentious legislative session that began June 2nd and effectively ended June 27th when Holden announced he would sign the education budget bills even though the legislature refused to change them a second time. Holden called the legislature into special session to address four budget bills he vetoed. They funded health, mental health, social services, public schools and higher education. He signed the bills covering health and social services after the legislature added federal money to them. He rejected the bills funding schools and colleges, asking the legislature to provide 90-day emergency funding for education, then return in September to consider a revenue package and wrap up the special session. The legislature ignored the amended call and returned to him bills identical to the ones he vetoed. Holden agreed to sign the bills to avoid the legal entanglements that would arise if the state entered its fiscal year without appropriations authorized for public schools. He has said he would call them back into another special session in September to once again consider raising revenue rather than cutting the budget. Missouri’s budget totals $19.1 billion. It begins today (July 1st).
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