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Missouri Lawmakers at Loggerheads over Budget

Andrew Weil and Stephanie Ebbs, KMOX Capitol Bureau
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JEFFERSON CITY (KMOX) -- The Senate met briefly three times Tuesday without taking up a single bill, finally calling it quits around 4 p.m. They adjourned for the day approximately 12 hours after a day long filibuster which blocked any action on Monday and went into early Tuesday morning.

Passing the state budget is the only thing the Missouri Constitution requires the General Assembly to accomplish during the session. The legislature is facing a Friday 6 p.m. deadline to send the budget to Gov. Jay Nixon.  The budget must be sent to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk by May 11 at 6 p.m.

Sen. Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said an appropriation to Southeast Missouri State University remains a sticking point in the budget debate but there might be a possibility of a way through that. Dempsey wouldn’t elaborate but said ideas were being discussed to resolve the issue.

During Monday’s debate, Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, vowed to block votes on the budget and every other piece of legislation unless there are several changes in the budget including $2 million increase passed by the House for SEMO.

While no action was taken on the Senate floor, work on the budget continues behind the scenes.

“I’m allowing other avenues to try to reach an agreement and allow other senators to maybe see if they can bridge the divide that we have, and we’re getting closer,” Dempsey said. He said the next time the Senate convenes it will take up another point of contention on the budget, increased funding for veterans’ homes.

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