By Allen Edmonds
State Rep. Jack Bondon (R-Belton) stepped across partisan lines Wednesday to support setting aside additional funding for Missourians in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House was in the process of passing House Bill 2014, the supplemental budget which authorizes spending to meet remaining obligations from the year so far, and authorizes additional spending for the remainder of Fiscal 2020, ending July 31.
According to Bondon, Republican lead budget committee chair, Cody Smith (R-Carthage), proposed an additional $33 million in funds to be authorized for the effort to confront the pandemic, a proposal that was widely adopted by voice vote.
Rep. Jon Carpenter (D-Kansas City) then proposed a plan to include the ability for Gov. Mike Parson to access, and authority to spend, an additional $87 million in other federal funds in order to support social support programs.
The hope was to avoid having to call an emergency special session of the House if the $33 million ran out before July 13, Bondon said. Bondon was one of just two Republican House members to vote in favor of the bill.
“I voted yes for three reasons: first and foremost, I thought of the good folks of Drexel, of Harrisonville, of Clinton. I thought about the healthcare workers at Golden Valley Medical Cente now in quarantine. In thinking of them, I wanted to make sure they had every resource available. Period.
“Second, I trust our Governor. And the authority to spend the money, in his hands, made me feel safe to know that we would address issues that came up without wasting our money on ineffective efforts.,” Bondon said.
“Third, I don’t want to be in a position where our healthcare and social service workers have to wait for us to assemble in the Capitol in order to authorize more money so that they can continue to do the job we ask them to do.
“I asked myself, what are we holding back that money for – in case we face an emergency? Well, that’s now. I pray we will never be in the situation to need that money, and the money we allocated will be enough.”