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Missouri Senate panel OKs budgets for 3 departments

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a budget plan that its chairman says will constrain the state’s fastest-growing costs.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a measure creating lump-sum grants for most programs in the Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Health and Department of Health and Senior Services.

The proposal would reduce the totals for the Social Services department by 6 percent _ or about $100 million _ compared with the House’s version, and a combined 4 percent, about $30 million, for the others.

It would still be a net increase over the current budget. Committee chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer says the departments should be able to find efficiencies.

The proposal exempts some programs from the reductions, including medical care for pregnant women and adult dental care.

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