Budget Battle Passed Just After 2:30 A.M.

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JEFFERSON CITY- The Senate discussion of Missouri's $24 billion budget went strong until just after 2:30 a.m. The Missouri House wrote the budget, sent it to the Senate for approval, and they worked late into the evening at the capitol on the state's spending plan for the coming year.

A group of senators held the budget at bay, but after a filibuster the progress continued. Some of the last bills up for discussion were an amendment to a social services bill and funding a program that provides free health coverage to 2,800 blind residents. This pays $707 a month to blind residents 18 years or older who do not own real or personal property. This includes a car or recreational items worth more than 2,000 dollars if single and 4,000 if married. A House version of the budget would have cut the program.

The senate passed nearly half of the state's budget before adjourning just before midnight.
Lawmakers held private budget discussions much of Tuesday and powered through the budget until 2:30 a.m. Even though they voted, they are not done yet. Now the conference committee will fight over the two versions of the bill since the Senate's changes and come up with the final copy.

Boone County Senator Kurt Schaefer is the Senate Appropriations Chair, meaning he is in charge of the committee that first sees the House's budget before the Senate votes. The Missouri Constitution requires the budget to be finished and sent to Governor Jay Nixon by May 11, 2012.
The budget will go into effect July 1.