JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Senate passed a $2 billion supplemental budget bill Tuesday, the first budget item to make it through both chambers this week.
HB 15 appropriates supplementary funds for education, transportation, and workforce development, among other items. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee last week with Sen. Bill Eigel the sole member voting in opposition. Eigel also spearheaded the opposition Tuesday, decrying the power of the executive branch and the use of funds for the state’s COVID-19 response.
“When we approve these large, overarching authority spending bills, we’re giving away the power of the legislative body, defeating arbiters of what we should be spending money on in favor of expanding the power of the executive branch,” Eigel said.
Eigel briefly held the floor with fellow Conservative Caucus members Sens. Mike Moon and Rick Brattin before the item came to a vote. The measure passed 26-6 with Eigel, Moon, and Brattin joining Sens. Eric Burlison, Andrew Koenig, and Bob Onder in opposition.
The state’s vaccination plan would receive more than $26.4 million in federal stimulus money under the bill with $19.8 million going toward services and equipment while Missouri’s testing services would be bolstered by nearly $3.05 million in federal funds.
The bill would also appropriate funding for the state’s Medicaid program with $51 million going toward physician services and more than $90 million earmarked for pharmaceutical payments. The state’s Transportation Construction Program will also receive $100 million from the State Road Fund
Another line item resulted from a bicameral push last month. Lawmakers called on Gov. Mike Parson to request the $50 million loan fund, known as the Municipal Utility Emergency Loan Program, to allow citizen-led utilities to borrow for up to five years without interest to address the impact of February’s winter storm. A bipartisan majority in the House signed a letter requesting the fund with 16 senators also backing the effort.