The Missouri House took only an hour to debate and pass the state's budget for next year. The $23 billion spending plan holds K-through-12 spending in place while cutting higher education funding by seven percent. The full Missouri House is scheduled to take up the state budget the week of March 28th, right after lawmakers return from spring break.
A task force focused on rural Missouri crime has recovered more than $2.5 million worth of stolen property in the past year and a half.
Good morning! Here are a few of today's starting headlines:
Missouri lawmakers are preparing to start redrawing the state's congressional districts. Officials said Monday they expect to get more detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau this week. Missouri is losing one of its nine congressional districts, based on the statewide population figures released earlier. The new details of where people are living will hep the Legislature as it draws the eight new districts. The chairmen of the House and Senate redistricting committees are planning to hold public hearings in several places around Missouri. They hope to complete the hearings in the next couple of weeks and will begin developing new congressional maps after that.
The Missouri House is to begin debate soon on a plan to use $189 million of additional federal stimulus money for public schools. The House plan would use some of that money to offset shortfalls in casino tax revenues that were to go to schools. But most of the additional federal money would be used to offset state revenues already budgeted for schools this year - allowing the state money to be saved and distributed to schools next year. House Majority Leader Tim Jones said the chamber could debate the legislation as soon as Tuesday. The House plan would maintain a more steady funding stream for schools than one originally proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon. His plan would have boosted school funding this year and cut it next year.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Humane Society of Missouri has received custody of 74 dogs from a licensed breeder after investigators found the dogs malnourished and living in their own waste. State investigators found the Collies and Bichon Frises living in crates in a double-wide trailer on the breeder's Stone County property in southwest Missouri. One dog had to euthanized. The Post-Dispatch reports that examinations found several of the dogs suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, ear and respiratory infections, as well as internal parasites.