Senators make progress on state budget after seven-hour filibuster
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Several votes are still needed in order for the Missouri Legislature to meet the constitutional deadline for the state budget.
With one day until the constitutional deadline for the state budget, State Senators spent seven hours on Thursday filibustering, preventing the budget from moving forward. Just after 7 p.m., Senators ended the filibuster and reported the four remaining budget bills the upper chamber still needs to pass.
Several votes are still needed in order to pass all of the state budget bills, but a group of senators refuse to give up the floor until a bill impacting Cass County is brought back up for a vote. The budget deadline is 6 p.m. Friday.
House Bill 909 would prevent landfills from being built within one mile of a residential area. There is a proposed landfill in Cass County near Kansas City that would be a little more than a half mile away from a neighborhood.
Sen. Rick Brattin (R-Cass) pushed for this piece of legislation after an outcry from residents. For several hours, senators read letters from those residents explaining why they want to block this landfill.
"I will now have to listen to loud machinery and smell the result of garbage and trash being dumped so close to our home. Working in my garden will be out of the question when the wind is blowing our way, and my grandchildren will not be able to visit and play outside as their parents did growing up here," one letter read by Sen. Jill Carter (R-Jasper) said.
On Wednesday, after several delays, lawmakers from both chambers finished negotiations over 13 budget bills and came to agreements on several impactful issues in the state budget, including highway expansion projects, library funding and diversity, equity and inclusion language.
"We've got 13 bills that need to pass tomorrow, actually more than that. It wouldn't take much for one senator or two actually to filibuster that whole thing through the day and that would create a pretty massive problem for us," said Rep. Peter Merideth from St. Louis, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
There are four budget bills that still need to be approved by the Senate and sent back to the House for approval, and both chambers need to give final approval to the bills from the conference committee.
If lawmakers do not meet the deadline, they will have to go into a special session until they complete the bills.
"The budget process would technically start over with new bills filed in the special session, although my expectation would be those bills would be filed largely based on what the agreements were here," Merideth said. "But there'd be a whole another chance for amendment and debate on everything that we've done in this process. And it would have to all be passed again."