With a hearing set for next Monday morning, state Auditor Tom Schweich last week again asked the Cole County circuit court to declare that Gov. Jay Nixon's budget withholdings for the current state business year violated the state Constitution.
Schweich originally made the claim in a nine-page lawsuit filed Aug. 26, asking the court also to order Nixon and his staff to restore all withheld and reallocated funds to the original budget lines lawmakers intended in last spring's budget bills, and to prohibit Nixon from making any withholds or reallocations "not in compliance with" the state Constitution's Article IV, Sections 23-27.
Those sections define the state budget and the governor's authority to recommend it to lawmakers, then administer the bills they finally pass.
When the governor signed the 2011-12 state budget in early June, he announced more than $172 million in withholdings and said about $150 million of that would be used for disaster relief following the St. Louis and Joplin tornadoes and the flooding that then was occurring along both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.