(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) State lawmakers have returned to Jefferson City after a recess.
Their first order of business will be to look at Governor Mike Parson's $180 million in withholdings he's made to this year's budget because of the coronavirus crisis.
Last week, the governor detailed a need to make the cuts due to costs associated with responding to the pandemic as well as lower tax revenues coming in due to stay-at-home orders.
In addition, Platte County state senator Tony Luetkemeyer says lawmakers will also need to decide how to best spend federal coronavirus relief dollars coming to Missouri.
"There was $150 billion in that bill that was earmarked for state budgets. Missouri's share of that is about $2.2 billion. Before the governor can spend any of that money, the legislature has to come in and appropriate it," Luetkemeyer said.
Luetkemeyer said the feeling around the state capitol building is definitely different since the coronavirus emergency began. He said that public access to the building is restricted. Anyone coming into the building now gets their temperature taken and are asked a couple of health screening questions. Despite the stay-at-home order, Luetkemeyer says that language in the state constitution requires the capitol must be open for people to view legislative debate. He said there is a small area that has been cordoned off for the public to view debate.
The senator said he has put his legislative priorities on the backburner. Before the session began, Luetkemeyer said he was focused on pushing forward legislation to reduce crime in Missouri, bring property taxes in control and also development of a prescription drug monitoring program. He said those issues will only be dealt with if and when the Covid-19 situation calms.
Luetkemeyer encourages anyone wanting to keep up with his activities in Jefferson City or with questions can reach him on Facebook or Twitter at "Tony For Missouri."