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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has released more than $126.9 million that had been withheld from the current state budget because of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state had restricted approximately $449 million from the 2021 budget, according to Parson's office.

The restrictions were made at a time when the state's unemployment rate was projected to be almost four times higher than it currently is.

Parson has previously released some withholdings and has supplemented others with emergency federal funds.

The money released Wednesday includes nearly $26 million for the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development and $1.5 million for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Parson said the remainder is for the Office of Administration and departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economic Development, Public Safety, Mental Health, Health and Senior Services, and Social Services.

A news release from his office also included the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

The full list of which offices and departments' projects or programs are getting back how much is available at

Parson's other announcements Wednesday included the availability of more than $68 million in Federal Budget Stabilization Fund appropriations for infrastructure and capital improvement projects at Missouri's public universities and State Technical College of Missouri.

Parson and state health director Dr. Randall Williams continued to be pleased with the progress of the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, with Williams saying in approximately 10 days, the vaccination program for long-term care facility residents and staff will have received all the vaccine allocated to it, and afterward, that freed-up supply of Moderna's vaccine would go toward vaccinating more health care workers.

On the unrest Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol — where supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building and interrupted the final certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory in November — Parson said, while he was still catching up on information of what had happened: "I am a law and order guy," no matter where unrest takes place.

"You don't violate the law. There are rules and regulations, and you have to abide by them," he said.

No matter people's politics or who they support, "You have to be responsible for your conduct," he added.

Parson did not, however, think that Trump had emboldened the behavior of the people who stormed the Capitol.

"My understanding is the president told them not to commit any crimes," he said.

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