CAPITOL REPORT: REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget Signed into Law by Governor

Dear Citizens:  The Fiscal Year 2021 spending plan approved by the General Assembly has received the stamp of approval from Gov. Mike Parson with some spending restrictions to reflect declining state revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $35.3 billion budget was signed into law by the governor and took effect on July 1, which marks the beginning of the fiscal year.

Upon signing the budget, Parson said, “Every year, the General Assembly is committed to protecting Missouri taxpayers’ hard-earned money with a fiscally responsible budget. Although this legislative session looked very different due to COVID-19, we appreciate the General Assembly for pushing through these difficult circumstances and creating the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.”

Lawmakers had returned to Jefferson City in April with the purpose of approving a spending plan by the constitutional deadline of May 8. They faced the challenging task of balancing a budget as the state’s economy was declining and revenue was dropping because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The drop in revenue prompted budget crafters in both chambers to look for substantial cost savings to bring the spending plan into balance. In total, legislators trimmed approximately $700 million from the spending plan that had been originally proposed before the pandemic began.

The plan approved by the General Assembly made every effort to balance the budget with a minimal impact to existing state services. Lawmakers kept funding for K-12 education almost entirely preserved and provided colleges and universities with a path to avoid cuts if federal funds become available. The budget also prioritized funding for COVID-19 preparedness and response, authorizing more than $5 billion of spending authority to help mitigate expenses related to the virus, as well as vital programs that provide child nutrition and food assistance, Area Agencies on Aging, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and efforts to increase access to broadband internet in underserved areas.

While lawmakers crafted a responsible plan based on the information they had at the time, continued revenue declines because of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the governor to make additional spending restrictions to the FY 2021 budget. The governor issued line item vetoes for 17 items totaling nearly $11 million. He also announced over $448 million in budget withholds. These restrictions include nearly 150 items across state government. The complete list of vetoes can be found online at The list of budget withholds is available online at

Parson said, “COVID-19 is unlike anything we have ever experienced before. As difficult as these decisions are, we are experiencing an unprecedented economic downturn, which means we are having to make unprecedented adjustments in our budget.”

Even though the state continues to face significant budgetary challenges, Parson said he remains hopeful that the economy will recover quickly, which may allow for the release of some withheld funds later in the year. The state also anticipates opportunities in the coming weeks to help offset shortfalls.

Legislation Signed into Law to Reform Missouri’s Legal Climate and Spur Job Creation (SB 591) 

During the final week of the 2020 legislative session, the Missouri House approved legislation meant to bring much-needed reforms to Missouri’s legal climate. Last week Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill into law.

The bill that is now set to become law makes important reforms to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). The MMPA was created to protect consumers from unfair practices. Instead, it is now being used to file huge lawsuits over superficial issues such as having too much air in a package of candy. The reform passed by the legislature is meant to restore the MMPA to its original intent. It includes commonsense changes such as requiring that plaintiffs demonstrate they acted as a reasonable consumer and members of class actions must demonstrate individual harm.

Our summer office hours at the Capitol are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.   My legislative assistant, Jeff, and I are available to assist citizens regarding questions and expediting services.  Contact us at 573-751-5388 or e-mail at