Sen. Gary Romine’s Capitol Update – April 27, 2018

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April 27, 2018

Missouri Senate Turns Focus to State Budget

Senate approves preliminary budget

Passing the state budget is the biggest and most important constitutional responsibility laid on the Missouri General Assembly. It is the only action explicitly mandated by the Missouri Constitution, and we are tasked with creating a balanced, fiscally responsible budget to support work done by various state agencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee has worked hard throughout the past few months to work with the Missouri House of Representatives and agency leaders to find compromises that maintain essential services while reducing waste.

This week, the Missouri Senate approved our version of the state budget after considering the House of Representatives’ version of the state’s spending plan for 2019. There are several differences between the Senate and House’s proposals, so the next step in the process is to conference with leaders from the House of Representatives and negotiate a compromise on the state budget. I will be serving on the budget conference committee, and I look forward to working with my colleagues from both the House and the Senate to find common ground.

As the Senate Education Committee Chair, I will advocate to fully fund the education formula. In the Senate’s version of the budget, $50 million is being transferred from Elementary and Secondary Education to cover transportation, nursing care and state employee health care. Last year, for the first time, the General Assembly was able to create a budget that fully funded Elementary and Secondary Education. I believe we will be able to find a compromise again this year. Our public schools must be fully funded so that students have the resources, staff and facilities they need in order to reach their full potential. As a member of the budget conference committee, I intend to advocate strongly for prioritizing education and fully funding the formula in this year’s budget.

Board of Education appointee blocked

I remain firm in my resolve to block current appointees to the State Board of Education because I believe all five appointees demonstrated a lack of independent thought and did not display sound judgement when they fired the commissioner without thoroughly considering the entire situation. I believe Eddy Justice, who was presented to the Senate this week for confirmation, was instrumental in the last-minute decision to fire the commissioner after several other appointees were removed from the Board due to their hesitation to take hasty action. My colleagues and I have repeatedly asked the governor to withdraw these five appointees and appoint a new set of qualified, independent candidates. His refusal to do so has left us no other recourse than to block these nominations. I will continue to hold this position.

The State Board of Education is responsible for overseeing our public school system and must be an independent body. The responsibility of this Board should not be taken lightly, which is why I remain steadfast in my commitment to block any appointee who has already demonstrated their unwillingness to operate in an independent, thoughtful manner.

Contact Me
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4008. You may write me at Gary Romine, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101; or email me at; or