Jefferson City - The Missouri House of Representatives has passed the state's more than $27 billion budget on to the Senate for consideration.
State Representatives voted last week to pass the thirteen bills making up the state budget on to the Senate, with hopes both chambers will have it completed before the legislative session ends in May. State Representative Tom Flanigan of Carthage, who chairs the House Budget Committee, tells us roughly a third of the budget is marked for education, with another third for social welfare programs. Elected officials from southwest Missouri say taking time to make sure the state's budget is as efficient as possible is the right thing to do.
"For us, if we were to just take last year's budget bill, and then without even looking at it, without even debating it, just send it to the Senate, I think that would be a dereliction of our duty," says State Representative Charlie Davis of Webb City.
"But it's still not complete," Flanigan says. " It still has to go to the Senate, it still has to be perfected over there. They'll send it back to us, there will be differences that have to be ironed out."
"We try in the Senate to make sure legislation is as good as we can, and to take it slow and make sure there are no errors in it," says Senator Ron Richard of Joplin.
While there was some fear work could be stalled on the Senate side following a failed filibuster by Senate Democrats earlier this month, Democrat leadership in the Senate says that will not be the case. They are hoping to begin working on the budget when they return from spring break on March 29.