Senators vote to restrict governor's budget power

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri governors could not restrict money from public schools under legislation endorsed by the state Senate.

Senators voted Monday to give first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent the governor from freezing money budgeted for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Sponsoring Senator Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, says the change would mirror another constitutional provision that prevents the governor from using a line-item veto for "free public schools" or payment of debt.

The constitution allows governors to control the rate of spending and to withhold funds if revenues aren't performing at the projected levels.

The measure needs another vote before moving to the House and would need to be approved by Missouri voters this year.

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