|This week, the Missouri Senate approved budget bills to fund the various state departments and agencies of Missouri government for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1. Included in HB 2011, the proposed budget for the Missouri Department of Social Services, is $6.3 million for the Alternatives to Abortion (ATA) program. This program provides grants to pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) located in communities throughout Missouri. PRCs offer counseling, emergency housing, prenatal care and many other services to women facing crisis pregnancies. The Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) spearheaded passage of the ATA program many years ago and works to ensure adequate funding each year.
As passed by the Senate, HB 2011 also provides over $30 million for the Show-Me Healthy Babies program, which ensures that lower-income women have insurance to cover their prenatal care. HB 2011 also provides $2.5 million for the Healthy Marriage and Fatherhood Initiative program. The funding for this program comes from the budget of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Children (TANF) federal program and involves federal dollars only. The MCC obtained an earmark from the TANF federal dollars when the general assembly updated the TANF program in 2014; however, each year these earmarked federal funds must be formally appropriated by the general assembly.
The Senate’s version of the proposed budget bills differs in some provisions from those passed by the House, which is not unusual. The bills will now go to conference so the two chambers can reconcile their differences. Stay tuned for more.