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Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 16, 2004

Welcome to UM Legislative Update

The second regular session of the 92nd Missouri General Assembly convened January 7, 2004 in Jefferson City. University of Missouri System Government Relations and University Relations will provide you with periodic updates, in the form of this e-newsletter, throughout the legislative session.

UM Legislative Update will carry brief items on legislative hearings, status of budget proposals and bills, events such as Alumni Alliance Day, profiles of key legislators, and much more. The e-newsletter also will provide links to websites where readers can obtain more information. We encourage you to forward UM Legislative Update to University of Missouri stakeholders.

Life Sciences Initiatives

The growing field of life sciences provides opportunities to improve the lives of Missourians by creating jobs and capitalizing on innovations in health, agriculture and the environment. If the State of Missouri is to become a life sciences state, the University of Missouri must strengthen its ability to compete nationally for external research funding and the best researchers through increased investments in facilities, equipment and people. The UM System has proposed a life sciences legislative package to acquire state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment that will enhance our ability to recruit and retain the nation’s top research scientists. The University’s life sciences legislative proposal already has attracted bipartisan support.
To read more about life sciences initiatives and the University, click here.

General Revenue Collection Estimate

During the first week of session, Missouri House and Senate leaders, along with the Governor’s Office, came to an agreement on revenue projections for fiscal year 2005. The FY05 projections show a 4.5 percent, or $277 million, increase from the FY04 revised estimate. The revenue projection will form the basis for FY05 budget decisions during the legislative session.

FY04 revenue projections will be reevaluated in mid-April, when tax collection and refund data is known.

The governor will release his budget for FY05 on Wednesday, Jan 21, following his State of the State Address.

Higher Education Commission releases report

The Governor’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, chaired by R. Crosby Kemper of Kansas City, released its report to the governor Dec. 31. The report includes a series of recommendations for improving the participation rate and quality of higher education. For more information on the report's recommendations, click here.

K-12 funding situation

A joint Senate-House committee has been meeting to gather information to help rewrite the school foundation formula, the calculation used to distribute funds for elementary and secondary education in the state. Chaired by Missouri State Senator Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, the committee has hired an outside consultant to come up with recommended formula revisions with a goal of having a new formula for legislative consideration next month. A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of more than 200 school districts across the state that challenges the adequacy of the 10-year-old formula. UM has encouraged policymakers to view education as a seamless system embracing pre-school through college and beyond.

Name change bills filed

Southwest Missouri State University is again seeking the Missouri State University name. A bill filed by President Pro-Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, was recently heard before the Senate Pensions and General Laws committee. The bill proposes to give SMSU a statewide board consisting of a representative from each of Missouiri’s congressional districts. A similar bill in the House has been filed with more than 100 sponsors. The SMSU bills are SB761 and SB714, which will be combined into one bill soon. In the House the bill is HB777.

Other bills submitted for this session would change the name of Missouri Western College to Missouri Western State University and Harris-Stowe State College to Harris-Stowe University. The University of Missouri has taken no formal position on the name change bills.

Governor introduces Jobs Now plan

Governor Bob Holden last month introduced the Jobs Now program. The plan provides grants and loans to cities and public institutions for infrastructure improvement and development including investments in the life sciences. The Department of Economic Development, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture would establish application procedures for the grants. The improvements would be funded through a reorganization of several tax credit programs that would generate enough income to underwrite $150 to $200 million in bonds. The governor stressed that the plan would have no negative impact on the current budget due to the funding stream. The program also provides funding and support to match federal funding for life sciences and other infrastructure improvements, encourages job training programs in community colleges, and targets the plant and life sciences for earmarked funding that would support research and scholarships for students studying in the life sciences areas. The program will be formally introduced next week as part of the governor’s State of the State address.

UM-Columbia School of Medicine Forum

The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine will hold a forum on Tuesday, Jan. 20 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Acuff Auditorium, School of Medicine. The forum will provide an opportunity for open discussion regarding the future of the UM-Columbia School of Medicine and its expanding potential in the area of life sciences research. The University has established life sciences as one of its major priorities, and biomedical research at the medical school is an integral part of that goal. UM System President Elson S. Floyd and Missouri State Representative Chuck Graham (D-24th) will open the forum. Participants will include UM-Columbia Chancellor Richard Wallace, UM-Columbia Provost Brady Deaton, and Dean of the School of Medicine Bill Crist. Other area legislators, University faculty and staff, and the public are invited to attend.

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