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Missouri Legislature considers $1.2B for virus response

November 5, 2020 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers returned to work Thursday to debate spending more than $1.1 billion in federal coronavirus aid.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson called lawmakers back to the Capitol to give his administration the authority to spend the federal funding.

About $752 million is general coronavirus relief funding that needs to be spent by the end of the year, according to budget documents provided by the state House. The money can’t be spent without lawmaker approval.

The money at stake also includes a $135 million federal grant for testing, contact tracing, lab equipment and data collection.

Another roughly $97 million in federal funding is available for child support, and close to $76 million could be spent on additional school meals.

Parson also asked lawmakers to set aside some state taxpayer dollars, including $10 million to help continue funding the Missouri National Guard’s work conducting COVID-19 testing.

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In total, Parson is asking lawmakers to budget another more than $1.2 billion.

House lawmakers are scheduled to debate Parson’s proposal on Monday.