A Missouri Senate committee has approved a plan that would give the governor access to 1.3 billion dollars in additional federal COVID-19 relief. Governor Parson wants to use the money for school nutrition programs, job training grants, among other things related to the state’s response to COVID-19. During Tuesday’s hearing, State Budget Director Dan Haug says the plan would also designate 400 million dollars for Missouri’s unemployment trust fund. Since March, the fund has dropped by more than 500 million dollars.

Springfield Republican Lincoln Hough says the state should use the funding for current local needs instead of propping up a fund for unemployment problems down the road. The full Senate plans to take up the bill Wednesday. The Missouri House has already approved the measure.