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Missouri House passes $27 billion state budget

From St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s $27 billion state budget is on its way to the Senate.

The House Thursday passed all 13 budget bills, which includes a nearly $9 million cut to higher education.

For that reason, several state representatives voted against the higher ed bill, HB 2003.

“I believe that we’ve spent more time over the last few months talking about Melissa Click than we have spent talking about the important issues that face our state,” said Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia. “I’m starting to wonder if Melissa Click is the reason why our infrastructure is in disrepair. … I’m starting to wonder if she’s the reason why we don’t see the job growth that we should at times. … I’m starting to wonder if she’s the reason why we’re having difficulty expanding access to health care to 300,000 Missourians.”

Click is the former Mizzou professor who was recently fired after video footage showed her “calling for muscle” to prevent a photo journalist from interviewing protesters during last fall’s racial unrest. She is appealing her dismissal.

Speaker Pro-tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, argued that the state should not reward the University of Missouri’s “bad behavior.”

“MU is going to learn a hard lesson,” he said. “I think everyone in this body wants MU to succeed, but the problems that are out of control at the MU campus need to be fixed.”

The GOP-controlled House also voted to cut $380,000 in Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood.

“The taxpayers in the state have made it very clear; they do not want their tax dollars going to support abortion services,” said Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville. “That’s the purpose of that language.”

Democrats argued that the anti-Planned Parenthood language is too broadly written, and that Missouri could lose all of its federal Medicaid dollars as a result. The state budget also diverts $88 million from Medicaid into a surplus fund that could be used to pay for other state needs, including transportation.

Original story – The Missouri House has given first-round approval to the 13 bills that make up next year’s $27 billion state budget.

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