Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for April 25, 2019

Weekly Column for April 25, 2019

This week, the Missouri Senate passed its version of the state’s spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Our state constitution mandates that each year we pass a balanced budget, and these 13 appropriation bills are the only pieces of legislation that we are constitutionally required to pass during the legislative session. The state’s $30 billion budget will fund all functions of our state government for Fiscal Year 2020.

Senator Dave Schatz discusses legislation on the floor of the Missouri Senate.

Each year, the governor prepares their proposed budget and releases it during the beginning of the legislative session. Then the House Budget Committee drafts their own version and once it receives approval from the House of Representatives it is sent to the Senate, where our members are able to discuss and debate the proposed budget. Once the Senate gives its approval, the budget goes to a conference committee made up of members from both chambers. At this point in the process, members from both chambers have the opportunity to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions of the state budget before it is sent back to each chamber for final approval. Finally, the approved state budget is sent to the governor’s desk for their consideration. While the governor is considering the approved budget, they also have the ability to veto “line-items” within each specific budget bill.

Here are some of the important funding items that we included in the Senate’s version of the Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget:

House Bill 2 – Fully Funds the foundation formula for K-12 education. This includes a $61 million increase over last year’s appropriation and an increase of $10 million for school transportation costs. In our rural school districts, this transportation funding is vital to ensuring children in large, rural school districts safely make it to school.

House Bill 4 – Includes important funding for those suffering from the devastating floods in northwest Missouri. It also funds the Department of Revenue and the Missouri Department of Transportation. Included in this budget bill is an appropriation for the governor’s bridge repair plan that I sponsored this session.

House Bill 7 – This bill funds the Departments of Labor; Economic Development; and Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. This includes appropriations for a number of the governor’s priorities involving workforce development and the reorganization of state departments.

House Bill 9 – This bill provides funding for the Missouri Department of Corrections and includes a pay plan increase to attract and retain correctional officers. We have had a big problem with turnover among our corrections officers, and the new pay plan is a way to address this important issue.

House Bill 11– This $9.7 billion appropriation funds Medicaid and the Department of Social Services and makes up roughly one-third of the state budget. Most of this money is from the federal government and not from our state’s general revenue.

I’m very pleased by the work done by the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and by the Senate’s Appropriations staff. They have put in a tremendous amount of effort and helped create a balanced budget that reflects the priorities of the Senate. In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with members of the House to finalize the state budget and send it to the governor’s desk before the May 10 constitutional deadline.

It is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at if you have any questions.