Missouri lawmakers called on to release restricted funding
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri groups are asking for state lawmakers' help in releasing millions of dollars in funding withheld by the governor.
Members of the state Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday listened for three hours as groups fighting for arts education, help for victims of domestic violence and other programs pleaded for lawmaker assistance.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon withheld roughly $700 million this fiscal year, but Missourians in November amended the state constitution to allow lawmakers to override a governor's budget restrictions.
It's unclear whether lawmakers can use those powers on budget restrictions made by Nixon before that amendment passed.
Appropriations Committee chairman and Republican state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia says if lawmakers act, they'll prioritize money for many of the programs discussed Tuesday.