The first bill to pass both chambers in this year’s Missouri Legislative Session is a bill that would fund over $2.2 million this budget year to help with illegal crossings at the southern border. Gov. Mike Parson has ordered about 200 National Guard members and up to 22 Highway Patrol troopers to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The extra spending bill is designed to support Operation Lone Star, to curb illegal border crossings and smuggling. 

“This is paying for our law enforcement officers that, since the first day of March, have been down on the Texas southern border with the Operation Lone Star,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, who took up the House bill in the Senate.

This follows Parson’s mission trip in February to visit Texas on the actions being taken to protect the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“The governor, with Executive Order 24-03, initiated 250 National Guardsmen and women and a total of 22 voluntary highway patrol men and women that are working in 11 member shifts for 32 days at a time assisting the Texas law enforcement officers down on the southern border,” Hough said. 

Hough explains that the members have to get paid for their efforts. 

“A lot of you guys probably remember, our highway patrol are, when they’re on the roads in Missouri, they’re paid out of highway funds and, since they are, obviously in Texas trying to help out, they’ve got to be paid out of General Revenue,” said Hough. “So, it’s about a $200,000 fund swap, there.”

The bill received a final vote of approval by the state Senate before heading to Governor Mike Parson for his signature.

Parson is scheduled to visit the state’s National Guard members on May 8 near Eagle Pass, Texas.

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