The stage is set for the final decisions on how much money the state will be able to spend on programs, services, and with its institutions in the next fiscal year.
The senate has approved most of the bills in its version of a 23.2-billion dollar spending plan, with several differences from the House version. The senate has added 20-milion dollars more for higher education and 20 million to the House plan for elementary and secondary transportation. A total of 189-million federal dollars are being used to keep the school funding distribution system at the same level as this year.
A couple of senators who want the state to reject millions in federal funds tried a handful of amendments, but never got more than a half-dozen votes.
Passage of the 13 budget bills sets the stage for negotiations with the House on a final spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July first.