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House committee passes fiscal year 2010 budget bills

Thursday, March 12, 2009 | 1:53 a.m. CDT; updated 12:08 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 12, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — The state House Budget Committee passed the state budget for fiscal year 2010 late Wednesday night.

The House's version of the bill comprises 13 bills that will be ready for the House floor in two weeks, committee chairman Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, said.

When Icet introduced the 13 bills last week the 13 Democrats on the 29-member committee objected to his refusal to use federal stimulus dollars to support social services and health care programs.

Efforts to restore the cuts made in those programs were made even more difficult by a House rule that allows representatives to add to the proposed budget only if they produce an offsetting cut that would balance the budget, as is law under Missouri's state constitution, resulting in all amendments being made in pairs.

Icet said he hopes the bills will be ready for review by the House by March 26. The legislators' spring break begins Thursday afternoon.

Icet also said his next priority is to communicate with Gov. Jay Nixon and the state Senate about using federal stimulus dollars to supplement the proposed state budget.

The committee passed 13 bills after a 14-hour committee hearing Wednesday:

House Bill 1: Appropriates money to the Board of Fund Commissioners

VOTES: Passed unanimously in committee.

No amendments were proposed or substituted.

House Bill 2: Appropriates money to the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

VOTES: 16-13. All Democrats on committee voted against the bill; all Republicans on committee voted for it.

Six amendment pairs were proposed.

House Bill 3: Appropriates money to the Department of Higher Education

VOTES: 28-1. The only opposing vote came from Rep. Rachel Bringer, D-Palmyra.

No amendments were proposed or substituted. This bill fully complies with Nixon's January request that the Higher Education Department not receive any budget cuts next fiscal year.

House Bill 4: Appropriates money to the Departments of Revenue and Transportation

VOTES: Passed unanimously in committee.

No amendments were proposed or substituted.

House Bill 5: Appropriates money to the Office of Administration and the Departments of Transportation and Public Safety

VOTES: 20-9. The opposing votes came from Democrats.

Thirty-six amendment pairs were proposed. Of those, 29 asked that substantial budget cuts be made to Nixon's office. Instead the money would go toward funds including social services, ethanol incentives and St. Louis' Metro. Most of those 29 amendment pairs were eventually withdrawn or not offered in committee because of concern for the office's coffers and how much money was being drawn from them.

House Bill 6: Appropriates money to the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation

VOTES: 28-1. The only opposing vote came from Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield.

Twenty-six amendment pairs were proposed. Of those, 17 were withdrawn because of repetition from amendments adopted in earlier bills or concern for the funds that would lose money to offset proposed expenses.

House Bill 7: Appropriates money to the Departments of Economic Development, Insurance, Financial Institutions, Professional Registration, Labor and Industrial Relations

VOTES: 26-3. The opposing votes came from Bringer, Lampe and Rep. Belinda Harris, D-Hillsboro.

Fourteen amendment pairs were proposed. Five were adopted.

House Bill 8: Appropriates money to the Department of Public Safety

VOTES: Passed unanimously in committee.

Two amendment pairs were proposed and adopted. These amendments add a total of $479,000 to veterans' services.

House Bill 9: Appropriates money to the Department of Corrections

VOTES: 18-11. Rep. Jonas Hughes, D-Jackson County, and Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, voted for the amendment while all other Democrats voted against it.

Two amendment pairs were proposed and adopted.

House Bill 10: Appropriates money to the Department of Mental Health, Board of Public Buildings and Department of Health and Senior Services

VOTES: 16-13. The opposing votes came from Democrats.

Four amendment pairs were proposed and withdrawn. One included Kelly's $146 million proposal to support the UM System hospitals using federal stimulus funds.

Before this bill received its vote, Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis County, urged committee members to reject the bill because it did not use any federal stimulus dollars to offset the cuts that were made to programs such as Meals on Wheels.

Icet defended the bill, saying it was difficult to write but that if the committee did not "face the reality" of the struggling economy, providers will have to completely close their doors instead of having to reduce programs.

House Bill 11: Appropriates money to the Department of Social Services

VOTES: 16-13. The opposing votes came from Democrats.

Thirty-five amendment pairs were proposed. One included Kelly's $52 million proposal to support the UM System hospitals using funds cut from the Federal Reimbursement Allowance program. Kelly's amendment pair was rejected.

Before this bill received its vote, Rep. Shalonn Curls, D-Jackson County, asked the committee to reject the bill, saying, "For every dollar we cut, there's a face attached to it. We're hurting innocent people."

House Bill 12: Appropriates money to statewide elected officials, the Judiciary, Office of the State Public Defender (attorney general) and General Assembly

VOTES: 17-12.

Seven amendment pairs were proposed; three were withdrawn. One amendment pair, proposed by Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Jackson County, would have fired the Governor's Mansion executive chef, whose $45,000 salary would be channeled to compensating the families of firefighters killed while in duty. Silvey's amendment was rejected.

House Bill 13: Appropriates money for real property leases and related services

VOTES: Passed unanimously in committee.

No amendments were proposed or adopted.


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