Source: US State of Missouri
Returning to the Capitol
From my perspective, passing a balanced state operating budget remains the primary focus of lawmakers as they return to the Capitol following several weeks away as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. While the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and businesses across the state and the country is still being felt, lawmakers are working to pass a balanced state budget for the upcoming fiscal year that funds state government and the services it provides by the constitutional deadline of May 8.
On its first day back this week, the Missouri House of Representatives finalized its revised version of the state budget, and later in the week, voted to send the various budget bills to the Missouri Senate. The Senate’s Appropriations Committee is now tasked with reviewing those budget bills before voting to send the entire budget to the full Senate for consideration.
As the House worked on finalizing its version of the state budget, the Missouri Senate continued working to pass legislation to help Missourians.
In the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, which I chair, we heard House Bill 1711. This bill is the House counterpart to legislation I filed to allow deer jerky to be donated to local food pantries. Now more than ever, I believe we should be trying to ensure that struggling families have the resources they need to support themselves. Allowing deer jerky to be donated to food pantries gives these families access to an important source of shelf-stable protein. House Bill 1711 was approved by the committee, and later the full Senate. It now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Additionally, on the Senate floor, we passed my Senate Concurrent Resolution 32. This resolution calls on Missouri’s congressional delegation to support and help pass the “Bring Our Heroes Home Act,” which would declassify certain POW/MIA information. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, more than 2,000 Missouri service members remain unaccounted for from wars stretching back all the way to World War II. It is my hope that through SCR 32 and the “Bring Our Heroes Home Act,” the families of these service members will finally have the answers and closure they have been searching for all these years.
Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.