Governor sets post-election special session
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is calling lawmakers back to the capitol Nov. 5 – two days after the election – to make some adjustments to the state budget.
In a news conference Wednesday, Parson said the focus would be on allocating additional federal money that’s become available, including some from the federal coronavirus relief bill.
Specific budget items that need adjustment are school nutrition service programs, child support payments and grants for job training, homeless prevention and domestic violence, Parson said.
The legislature would normally make those adjustments in a “supplemental budget” shortly after reconvening in January.
But Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Hegeman said the uncertainty of the pandemic all but guaranteed lawmakers would need to do things earlier this year.
With a special session soon, he said, state accounts could run out of money or spending authority by the end of November which could, for example, freeze child support payments.
Hegeman said the special session could also see some action on other important budget priorities, such as putting money into a new crime witness protection program the legislature approved in a special session in September.
“We passed that, and now we can fund that and try to provide some tools to help witnesses who come forward.”
Parson said he’s also open to dealing with other policy priorities, such as a proposal to shield nursing homes and other businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19.
Many businesses have sought such exemptions here and in other states in an effort to stave off claims they’re responsible for people getting sick or dying.
Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader's politics reporter. Got something he should know? Have a question? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also support local journalism at News-Leader.com/subscribe.