Providing Relief to Missourians
On Dec. 2, the Missouri Senate passed a $1.27 billion supplemental budget as part of a second extra session called by the governor to further coronavirus relief efforts in our state. The supplemental budget, as the name implies, builds upon our previous efforts in the state operating budget the General Assembly passed in May of this year. Over $1.17 billion of the supplemental budget comes from the federal government through aid packages such as the CARES Act. With these federal dollars, however, also comes the requirement that they be spent before the end of the year or else returned to Washington, D.C., prompting lawmakers to act.
Much of the budget bill, House Bill 14, goes toward our continued fight against the coronavirus. The largest item contained in the budget bill is $764 million to the State Emergency Management Agency to help it respond to the ongoing pandemic. But just as the coronavirus has impacted our lives in a myriad of ways, our response to it must also be wide-reaching as well, with the bill touching on several important aspects of Missourians’ lives. For instance, $75 million is going to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the School Nutrition Services Program to reimburse schools for feeding students during this difficult time. Another $96 million will help ensure struggling parents receive the vital child support they need. And among several other line items, $23 million goes toward Community Development Block Grant Program to support local community projects.
Now that the Senate has signed off on HB 14, it heads to the governor for his consideration. With extra session over, the General Assembly will now begin shifting gears and preparing for the First Regular Session of the 101st General Assembly, slated to begin in January of 2021. Lawmakers have already begun to file priority legislation, and recently elected officeholders are preparing to take the oath of office. I look forward to working with my colleagues, both old and new, as we continue to move our state forward. I will be sure to share more with you in the coming weeks as the 2021 legislative session gets underway. As always, it’s an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate.
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.