JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri lawmakers were scheduled to return to the Capitol Monday following the legislative spring break. Their return date is in question because of COVID-19 concerns. The Missouri Capitol closed soon after State Rep. Joe Runions tested positive. The building is undergoing a deep cleaning while it remains closed to the public.
The House approved $40 million in federal and state emergency spending prior to the Capitol closing. Gov. Mike Parson indicated his priorities were to purchase personal protective equipment and expand testing.
During recent daily briefings, the Governor has been asked about a plan to bring lawmakers back to finish the process of approving the spending. A vote in the Senate is still needed. After the Senate makes expected changes, the House will be required to vote again.
“It’s crucial that we get that supplemental done,” said Parson. “I would say the drop-dead would-be April 24th.”
There have been suggestions lawmakers could meet somewhere else to vote. Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) tweeted recently, “Unfortunately, our Constitution in its current form keeps us from meeting outside the Capitol. Given our current reality, it might be something for Missourians to consider changing in the future in extreme situations like the current one.”
Parson said he’s discussed the situation with lawmakers and said legislative leaders are working on a plan to start work on approving the supplemental budget sometime next week. He said, “My understanding is the legislature is working on a plan to come back here somewhere around the first of April.”