Missouri House of Representatives passing budget piece by piece

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JEFFERSON CITY – Lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives are working to push the budget through their chamber and into the Senate.

According to previous KOMU reporting, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee said he wanted to finish the budget by the end of Wednesday.

As of Wednesday evening, the House has passed House Appropriation Bills 2001-2010.

Those bills cover the budget for the Board of Fund Commissioners, K-12 education, higher education, the Department of Revenue, MoDOT, Public Safety, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Conservation, Corrections, and several departments related to the state's economy.

The Vice-Chair of the House Budget Committee says in this current draft of the budget, kindergarten through 12th grade education is receiving a enough money to operate smoothly.

"It is the highest level of K-12 spending we have ever had in the history of the state of Missouri," Vice-Chair of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann said.  "An additional $98 million will be spent on K-12 education this year, and I think that's a win for taxpayers and I think it's a win for students in the state of Missouri as well."

The K-12 budget passed by an overwhelming majority.

"An overwhelming bipartisan majority of individuals in the chamber supported the bill. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of the bipartisan work we've had," said Alferman.

After HB 2002 passed, the House started debate on HB 2003, which determines the funding for higher education.

HB 2003 caused some contention among lawmakers because some representatives felt that two universities in particular, Lincoln University and Harris Stowe State University, would not be getting enough funding.

"Our historically black colleges serve everyone in the state, both in research and agriculture, and this should be a priority for this body." DaRon McGee, D-Kansas City

"I am quite upset with this legislature giving away money that would fully fund Lincoln University as land-grant status," said Rep. Joe Adams, D-University City. "That money would be going into the state so Lincoln University could be going out to help the farmers in the state to become super productive."

Another representative suggested that the state should consider breaking up the University of Missouri system because of recent problems the Columbia campus has dealt with.

"For a flagship institution to lead a system and not live up to the vision or to the definition of a leader means that they are maybe even unwillingly bringing in negative attention to those other institutions within that system," said Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Ferguson.

That discussion didn't go anywhere, and HB 2003 passed by a vast majority.

The House of Representatives still has to pass HB 2011-2019, then the Senate has to approve the bills.