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Missouri legislature approves $2.2 million for troops and police to patrol Texas-Mexico border

The Missouri State Capitol on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Jefferson City.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The Missouri State Capitol on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Jefferson City.

The Missouri legislature passed a $2.2 million supplemental budget bill funding Gov. Mike Parson’s effort to send National Guard troops and highway patrol officers to the Texas-Mexico border.

The Missouri Senate voted 30-2 Wednesday to pass the House bill. Because the Senate did not make any changes, it now goes to Parson for his signature.

Presenting the bill on the Senate floor, Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said the funding will go toward expenses associated with sending 250 Missouri National Guard Troops and 22 State Highway Patrol officers to help Texas with border control.

“This is essentially us just paying the bills on an ongoing operation that the governor initiated, you know, at the beginning of March,” Hough said.

In February, Parson issued an executive order to send hundreds of state troops to the Texas-Mexico border.

Missouri joined other Republican-led states in sending personnel in response to Texas’ request for support in its Operation Lone Star.

State troops have been at the border since March. The executive order issued by Parson is in effect until June 13, though it could be extended.

Little conversation over the funding occurred on the Senate floor Wednesday. It had also passed the House with few objections.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, questioned Hough on details over the funding for the state troops.

“I want to make sure that we have enough money in here to cover their expenses,” Hoskins said.

Hough responded that if this bill doesn’t fully cover the expenses, Parson has access to extra funding. Hough also said he was not in favor of a possible amendment by Hoskins that would increase the funding.

“It's my belief right now that we have the opportunity here to do something and move this along and not send it back over to the House and then have them redo it,” Hough said.

Hoskins ultimately did not offer the amendment.

The passage of the supplemental bill marks the first time this session that legislation has made it through both chambers.

With roughly four weeks left in the 2024 legislative session, the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year and the reauthorization of a tax on hospitals to fund Medicaid, known as the Federal Reimbursement Allowance, are two key priorities that have yet to pass.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Hough said the Senate Appropriations Committee is likely to tackle the House version of the budget next week, with the full Senate debating the set of bills the following week.

Copyright 2024 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Kellogg is a first year graduate student at the University of Missouri studying public affairs reporting. She spent her undergraduate days as a radio/television major and reported for KBIA. In addition to reporting shifts, Sarah also hosted KBIA’s weekly education show Exam, was an afternoon newscaster and worked on the True/False podcast. Growing up, Sarah listened to episodes of Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! with her parents during long car rides. It’s safe to say she was destined to end up in public radio.
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