St. Louis Post Dispatch: Next up in Capitol: Valet parking for lawmakers

By Kurt Erickson
Thursday, April 7th, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY • When it comes to perks enjoyed by members of the Missouri Legislature, valet parking at the Capitol could be next.

In action Thursday, the Senate voted in favor of spending $50,000 in the fiscal year beginning July 1 to address parking problems in a garage located in the basement of the statehouse.

As envisioned by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, the money would pay for someone to park and move cars in the cramped lot.

Parson, a former sheriff who is running for lieutenant governor, said the current set-up has armed Capitol police officers jockeying cars around in the space.

“There are times you may have to move three or four cars to get one out,” Parson said. “This is just me saying, `Hey, we need a different idea here.’”

The money is just one small part of the state’s $21 billion budget plan, which the Senate debated on Thursday. The earmark drew the attention of Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, who said she was unaware Capitol police were spending time moving cars instead of patrolling the Capitol complex.

“I park my own car,” Schupp said. “That should not be the job of our Capitol police.”

Schupp suggested senators could park in other areas around the Capitol, but Parson said he believes a garage is still the best use for the space.

“I don’t see any other use for it down there,” Parson said.

Even though the Senate approved the spending, it is still subject to further negotiations between the House and the Senate.

The legislation is House Bill 2004.

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