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Parson OKs supplemental budget bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson signed off on the supplemental budget package from the extraordinary session Friday afternoon.

Parson praised the work of leadership in both chambers, including the heads of the Budget and Appropriations committees. 

“I want to thank Sen. Dan Hegeman and Rep. Cody Smith for their leadership as well as all of our legislators for their work to get this done during special session,” Parson said. “COVID-19 has had an overwhelming impact on our state, but we are already making great progress. This additional funding will be critical as we continue to respond, recover, and move Missouri forward.”

Parson initially recalled the General Assembly to consider the supplemental budget in October. The budget will distribute the state’s remaining CARES Act funds to state agencies, including the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The federal funds must be used by the end of the year. 

The budget also included $2 million for the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund, which the legislature approved over the summer without a fiscal note attached.

The Senate passed the bill last week, more than a month after its approval in the House. Session was delayed for two weeks after positive COVID-19 cases were reported among members of the upper chamber last month.

The scope of the session was expanded to include a provision on COVID liability protection in November. But Parson ultimately reversed course on the order, relegating the provision to the 2021 legislative session. 

Republican legislators, including Rep. Nick Schroer and Sen. Andrew Koenig, called on Parson to expand the scope again to address county executives’ power in the wake of a controversial ordinance banning indoor dining in St. Louis County. The provision was not taken up in either chamber. 

The legislature is already gearing up for the next legislative session. Koenig’s local control bill was among the first filed in the Senate, as was a COVID liability bill from Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer.