Missouri state senators will be busy this week in Jefferson City, tackling the state budget.

Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith speaks on the House floor on March 28, 2019 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

The Senate Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by State Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning and every morning through Friday to discuss the budget.

The Missouri House voted in late March to approve a $29.2 billion state operating budget, which includes a $100 million transportation infrastructure plan. House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, says it’s the first time in recent history that general revenue would be used to fund roads and bridges.

The House’s budget also includes an $8 million retention pay plan aimed at wage increases for Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) staff.

Governor Mike Parson has said the DOC’s 11,000 employees are among the nation’s lowest-paid corrections professionals.

Under the House budget, DOC employees would receive the three percent pay increase all state workers would get. They would also receive a one percent increase for every two years of continuous DOC employment, up to 20 years.

Once the Senate approves their budget version, a bipartisan conference committee will then be appointed to negotiate any differences between the two chambers.

The state Constitution requires lawmakers to approve a balanced budget by early May.

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