JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As Missouri lawmakers returned for the annual veto session at the State Capitol, with many hoping to answer the question of what lawmakers could or should do about the budget cuts affecting in-home and nursing care for an estimated 8,000 senior citizens, disabled, and veterans.
While the House on Wednesday afternoon debated an override of the controversial HCB 3, a bill that would have restored those cuts by sweeping state funds from other agencies to shore up the funding, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard and House Speaker Todd Richardson issued a joint press release announcing their intent for the two chambers to work together to develop an alternative solution.
Sen. Mike Cunningham and House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick have been tapped by leadership to work together to put together a fiscally responsible plan to make sure those services to some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.
“It’s our job even in tough budget years to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Richard said. “Preserving funding for in-home and nursing care is important to both chambers, and together with the House, we can come up with a plan to keep those funds for senior services intact.”
“Finding a viable solution to preserve these critical services for disabled Missourians has been, and continues to be, a top priority for the Missouri House and for the General Assembly,” Richardson stated. “I’m confident that Rep. Fitzpatrick can work with Sen. Cunningham and with Republicans and Democrats in both chambers to find a fiscally responsible solution.”
Leadership asked the two lawmakers to put together a proposal over the course of the next three weeks, and once they have produced an acceptable plan, they will discuss the options to put their proposal into effect.
To address this, the Legislature would need to call themselves into a special session, which would require a 3/4 vote from each chamber, or they would need to receive a call from Gov. Eric Greitens for a third extraordinary session this year.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.