The operating budget for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1st, has cleared the General Assembly and the 13 bills can now be signed by Governor Jay Nixon. The House began the process shortly after it convened Thursday morning and the Senate completed the process shortly after 5 o’clock Thursday afternoon when members voted in House Bill 13 – the last of the appropriations bills.
An updated version of House Bill 11, the budget for the Department of Social Services, passed the House with quite a bit of opposition. It was thought the bill would meet with similar opposition in the Senate because of its tie in with Senate Bill 306 – an expansion of health care benefits to the uninsured. But the opposition was limited and the bill passed by a vote of 26-7.
Approval of the FY 2010 bills allowed the Senate to focus on House Bill 22. That includes $31-million for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as funding for various projects at other colleges and universities. There is also funding for $12-million for the St. Louis METRO transit system, and $12-million to the Department of Economic Development for the Division of Business and Community Services for construction and upgrades to trade zone facilities focusing on the development of markets for Missouri products and market development. Specifically, this would benefit trade and business opportunities with China – opportunities based in St. Louis.