JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri lawmakers will face a number of COVID-19 related changes when they convene at the Capitol on Monday.
It's the first time they will convene since April 7 and only the second time since leaving in March due to the impact from COVID-19.
"It will be a historic budget," said state Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland. "I believe it's so important that we do convene though because it is our constitutional obligation that we all took an oath to support."
Lawmakers will have to work with a $700 million cut which state Rep. Chuck Basye R-Rocheport says will likely set back higher education.
"Well, it's gonna be hard on higher-ed, I think they're gonna take the brunt of the cuts but the house version right now does not have any cuts to K-12 education," Basye said.
Budget cuts won't be the only changes in the Capitol. Lawmakers will be screened before entering the building, they have been asked to wear face masks and tune into the state budget hearing from their offices.
"They have asked us to, with the exception of voting there they're wanting us to let this listen to the debate in our offices, if at all possible, so I'm going to honor that," Basye said. "They're still going to allow amendments to be offered but if you want to speak on a bill or a particular subject of one of the amendments, you're gonna have to send a message to somebody in leadership and they'll have to call you in."
Above all, legislators only have until May 8 to approve a budget for 2021.
"It's always tough when you have to cut things from the budget, and there's always impacts to that," Walsh said. "The chairman though as you know made some tough decisions but as much as possible, trying to make the least painful cuts, and we'll, we'll see kind of how things progress as we move through the process, it will be a historic budget."
We also reached out to democratic leaders but did not hear back.