SC rules lawmakers had no power to limit conservation spending

By Rudi Keller

Lawmakers “invaded” the authority of the Missouri Conservation Commission (MCC) when they tried to limit the use of its dedicated funds, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in mid-June.

In the long-anticipated decision, the court split 4-3 over whether appropriation bills could bar the commission from spending money on land acquisition or for payments to replace lost property taxes from conservation lands.

The majority decision, unsigned but supported by Chief Justice Paul Wilson and Judges Mary Russell, Robin Ransom and George Draper, upheld a decision from Cole County Circuit Judge Cotton Walker, who found the commission can spend appropriated funds for any constitutional purpose.

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