This week, my fellow senators and I focused on the state budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Creating and approving a balanced budget is the only constitutional requirement of the Legislature during session. The Missouri House of Representatives prepares the budget as a series of House bills, with the governor’s recommendations in mind, and then the Missouri Senate is tasked with making recommendations and improvements to the House’s version of the state budget.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is instrumental in preparing the budget for the Senate’s consideration, and I would like to thank the members of the committee for their hard work on the budget. Prior to passing the Senate’s version of the state budget, I met with the chair of the Appropriations Committee to discuss the education budget and to ensure that sufficient funding was allocated for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education. Education is one of my top priorities, so it was important for me to ensure that early childhood programs, K-12 schools and higher education would receive the funding they need for the upcoming school year. Also, I was able to increase by $50,000 what the House recommended for the Public Placement Fund for Lesterville School District.
The proposed funding for higher education has increased by approximately $28 million from last year’s budget. I am also pleased to see that the foundation formula for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received a funding increase of $61 million from last year, again fully funding the foundation formula for the third year in a row. Increased funding allows schools to grow and improve the education they provide our students. It also gives teachers additional resources when it comes to educating our students, as well as the opportunity to participate in professional development opportunities.
On Wednesday, April 24, the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee heard the appointments of two of my constituents. Lindell Lindsey was appointed to the Well Installation Board, and Deborah Sue Peterson was appointed to the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee. On Thursday, April 25, they were both confirmed before the entire Senate. I want to congratulate both of these individuals for this achievement and wish them the best of luck as they begin their service to our state.
I always appreciate hearing your opinions and concerns regarding your state government. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4008. You may write me at Gary Romine, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit my official Senate webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/romine.