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Missouri lawmakers argue over funding for coronavirus response

Missouri lawmakers are sparring over an emergency spending plan passed by the House. The plan includes $33 million in federal funds and also frees up another $7 million in state funding that already is in the budget.

During floor debate this week on the legislation, several Democrats said the amount is not enough to respond appropriately to a global pandemic. Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, said lawmakers might not get the opportunity to adequately fund response efforts later.

READ: Missourians now have a coronavirus hotline

“Guess what folks— in a few weeks, we may be in a shelter-in-place order,” he said. “It’s not safe for us to be here today. Our cities are acting. Our federal government is acting. We’re passing the buck.”

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, fired back. ”The plan is to remain calm,” he said. “The plan is to take a measured approach to crafting an appropriate response based on what we know at the time.”

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During a press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson said the respiratory illness is like viruses the state has dealt with before – it will take time to respond to and people need to follow health guidelines. Missouri Lawmakers are looking at other ways to respond to the crisis as well.

“I don’t think there is a doomsday for the state of Missouri or the United States over the COVID-19,” Parson said. “I said yesterday I think it’s something we all have to be concerned with, but to try to put that into a fear category is wrong. We can conquer this. We can get through this. It’s not going to be a week-or-two process. I do believe for the short-term outlook it’s probably two to three months.”

At least 183 people have tested positive in Missouri for the coronavirus.

For info on Missouri and coronavirus visit the state website.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice