Spring break is over. And Missouri lawmakers return to the Capitol Monday afternoon with just seven weeks to go before the Constitution says they must end for the year.
And just six weeks to go before the budget for the 2011-12 business year must be adopted.
"The budget is going to take some time," Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said. "There will be tough decisions that have to be made, and can we get a consensus on those tough decisions?
"We've looked at over $500 million in (budget) reductions" from last year.
In most years, passing the budget is the only thing the Constitution requires lawmakers to do.
But this year, the first after the nation's every-10-years census was completed, lawmakers also must redraw the boundary lines for congressional districts - so that each district again has roughly the same number of residents as every other congressional district in the state.
And, this year, that work includes cutting the number of districts from nine to eight, because other states grew more than Missouri did since 2000.