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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Missouri lawmakers working on budget and other bills as May deadlines loom

Missouri Capitol on April 24, 2018
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Capitol on April 24, 2018

There are only three weeks left in Missouri’s 2018 legislative session.

Lawmakers are continuing to work on major legislation, including the fiscal year 2019 state budget. But they still have to figure out how much to spend on public schools.

Back in March, the House sent the Senate a budget that included a $98 million spending hike for K-12 institutions. But the Senate this week essentially cut that allocation in half. They approved a $48 million spending increase for classrooms and shifting the rest of it towards school buses and to non-educational budget needs, such as nursing homes.

Republican Dan Brown of Rolla is the lead budget writer for the Senate.

“There may be some difference of opinion,” he told reporters Thursday. “Rep. [Scott] Fitzpatrick and I have had a few conversations, [and] we’re both willing to work really hard to get the best budget that Missouri could imagine, given the dollars we’ve got to work with.”

Lawmakers have two weeks to send the state budget to Governor Eric Greitens.

The House this week gave first-round approval to a bill that would legalize medical use of marijuana, and sent the Senate a wide-ranging bill making several changes to the state’s foster care system.

House and Senate members are also preparing to negotiate a final version of a bill that would create an online map of Missouri that shows where special taxing districts are located around the state. It’s sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters.

“The use of digital resources to make big shopping decisions is becoming more and more prevalent,” he said. “If you’re going to buy something at this Best Buy, or the one down the street, you could see a 2 percent difference in your sales tax rate – that could mean a significant amount of money to a taxpayer and could affect their decision-making process.”

So far, 14 bills have been sent to the governor’s desk, including a budget bill that provides funding for state-issued bonds. The 2018 legislative session ends May 18.

Follow Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallGReport

Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.