JEFFERSON CITY - A House committee voted to authorize bonds for various building projects across the state including rebuilding the state's oldest mental health hospital.
The bill would add $400 million to state bonds cap making its limit $1.175 billion. The extra $400 million will be added primarily for renovation of existing buildings and a new mental health hospital in Fulton, Missouri.The bill passed was passed by the House Budget Committee Tuesday, April 22.
In an earlier hearing in January, members of the House Budget Committee had criticized Gov. Jay Nixon for proposing borrowing money through bonds to fund the new facility rather than just paying for it with existing state funds.
One question was whether the state could increase its debt without seeking voter approval.
The bill passed by the Senate included another $200 million in bonds for higher education.
According to the Missouri Department of Mental Health the Fulton State Hospital opened in 1851, making it the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi river. The department cited poor working conditions as being dangerous to both patients and staff.
The measure has been approved by the committee and awaits debate on the House floor.