The Missouri Senate will return to Jefferson City on Tuesday morning to tackle the proposed supplemental budget, which includes billions of dollars to battle the coronavirus outbreak.
House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, tells Missourinet that the supplemental has increased to a proposed $5.8 billion.
The Senate will gavel-in Tuesday morning at 11, and the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a noon hearing. The proceedings will be unprecedented, due to the pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, tells Missourinet that every state senator and their staff will be given a mask on Tuesday. Because of the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order and health concerns, Rowden is urging the general public to stay at home and to view the proceedings on the Missouri Senate website.
“The goal is to protect the public, staff and members of the General Assembly present in the Capitol building,” Rowden says.
Rowden and House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, have been working with MU Health Care to ensure the safety of state lawmakers to get back inside the Capitol to vote.
The Capitol has been closed to the public since March 24, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It closed after longtime State Rep. Joe Runions, D-Grandview, tested positive for COVID-19. Runions has since been released from the hospital.
Governor Mike Parson says the Capitol has been receiving a deep-cleaning everyday, since it’s been closed.
Leader Rowden says anyone visiting the Capitol this week will have their temperature taken, and will be questioned about their health, travel and known COVID-19 exposure. Visitors will only have access to the joint committee hearing room and the Capitol’s fourth floor visitor galleries.
The public will not have access to legislators’ offices or the surrounding hallways, according to Rowden.
Rowden also says the roll call will be much slower this week.
“And people for the most part will probably be in their offices,” Rowden told Missourinet recently. “Their name will be called and we’ll give them plenty of time to come from their office into the chamber, cast their vote and then leave again. I think the House is going to do something fairly similar.”
The 163-member Missouri House is set to convene Wednesday afternoon at 1 at the Capitol.
“I am very skeptical because, at the end of the day, we don’t know who is coming in and out of that building (the Missouri Capitol) with the virus,” State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, tells the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch”. Hopefully everybody takes this thing serious and covers their mouths and their hands and tries to stay at a distance.”
State health officials say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Missouri has increased from 2,367 on Sunday to 2,722 on Monday. The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) also says Missouri now has 39 deaths, compared to Sunday’s number of 34.
The “Stay Home Missouri” order signed by Governor Mike Parson on Friday is now in effect. The order took effect at 12:01 this morning, and says Missourians shall avoid leaving their homes or apartments unless necessary. You can still go to work at certain jobs and can access essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations, the pharmacy and banks.
You also also still go outdoors to exercise, but must practice social distancing.
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