The Missouri Senate leader is optimistic that state lawmakers can approve a balanced budget by the constitutional deadline of early May.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) briefs Capitol reporters on March 12, 2020 in Jefferson City, as Democratic Leader John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) and Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) look on (file photo from Missourinet’s Alisa Nelson)

The Senate was not in session this week in Jefferson City, and is out next week for its regularly-scheduled spring break. Missouri House Budget Committee members met on Sunday and Monday, and the full 163-member House was in session on Wednesday, where they approved millions of dollars in funding to battle COVID-19.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, told Missourinet on Thursday that Senate leaders are receiving daily updates about the coronavirus.

Pro Tem Schatz says they’ve had discussions with House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, and other House leaders “on what it might look like in a few weeks in order for us to resume session and finish the budget.”

It’s unclear now when lawmakers will return to Jefferson City. The only people at the Capitol on Thursday were some staff members, Capitol Police, janitors and reporters.

“Every day brings new developments, so we will continue to remain flexible on how we move forward, but optimistic we will find a way to get the budget done,” Schatz says.

Governor Mike Parson and the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced this afternoon that there are now four new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Missouri, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 28.

The Missouri House voted 147-3 this week to approve about $40 million in new funding to fight coronavirus.

The governor has said several times at his daily Capitol press briefings that his top priorities continue to be public health and public safety.

Governor Parson also warned this week that “it’s going to be tremendously expensive to get through this next year or two, however long it might be.”

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