The proposed state operating budget will be heading to the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee in Jefferson City next week for daily hearings and for consideration. The state Constitution requires lawmakers to approve a balanced budget by early May.
The Missouri House approved a $34.1 billion state operating budget this month, a budget which does not contain funding for Medicaid expansion. It includes a $76 million increase for foster and adoptive children, including a 45 percent increase to the clothing allowance for foster teens.
Kids Win Missouri policy director Craig Stevenson says the House budget provides unprecedented support for the kinship and foster families who care for the thousands of children in Missouri foster care. The state Department of Social Services (DSS) notes there are currently
13,939 foster care children in Missouri.
“It increases everything from the maintenance, the monthly maintenance payments that foster guardian and adoptive parents get. But then also increases important things like the diaper allowance for people who are caring for infants,” Stevenson told Missourinet this month.
House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) tells Missourinet that he will not be testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee next week. He says Committee Chairman State Sen. Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby) will be the Senate handler.
The House has also approved a budget blueprint from Chairman Smith that directs dollars slated for Medicaid expansion for other programs. Smith says it’s a $342 million bill. That includes $88 million for long-term care in nursing facilities, $15.5 million for k-12 school transportation, $2 million for adult high schools, $11.6 million for the Department of Mental Health (DMH) for alcohol and drug abuse treatment, $53 million to DMH for adult community programs and $30 million for programs like respite care, adult day care and home-delivered meals.
Democrats in the Missouri Senate are expected to try to restore funding for Medicaid expansion, which was approved by 53 percent of Missouri voters in August.
The issue of oversight will also get more attention next week in the Missouri House.
The House Special Committee on Government Oversight plans Monday and Tuesday hearings about operations within the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR). The issues at faith-based boarding schools like the now-defunct Circle of Hope will likely be discussed again.
Prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) legislation will be heard by the Missouri House Veterans Committee on Tuesday afternoon. The committee will hear testimony from bill sponsor State Sen. Holly Rehder (R-Scott City). The Senate has given final approval to PDMP, which is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) supports PDMP, saying it provides a layer of protection against drug and dependency and dangerous drug interactions.
Meantime, the Missouri Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee meets Tuesday to hear testimony from State Sen. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) about his resolution, which urges Congress to end Major League Baseball’s (MLB) federal antitrust exemption. Senator Brattin’s resolution is in response to MLB’s decision to move the All-Star game from Atlanta because of Georgia legislation requiring photo ID.
“This is yet another instance of corporate virtue signaling and sports stoking the culture wars in this country,” Brattin said last week. He also says MLB is undercutting the basis of its antitrust exemption. He notes the exemption has been in place since a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Critics of the Georgia law say it will make it more difficult for minorities and the elderly to vote.
Missouri’s gasoline tax will also be discussed this week. The Missouri House Transportation Committee meets Wednesday afternoon at 5 to hear testimony from Pro Tem Schatz (R-Sullivan) about his bill, which increases the state’s gasoline tax by 2.5 cents each year, for a total of a 12.5 cent per gallon increase by 2025. The GOP-controlled Missouri Senate has already given final approval to the bill.
Missouri’s 17-cent per gallon gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996.
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