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Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 26, 2004

Welcome to UM Legislative Update

Legislative Update is published by UM System Government Relations and University Relations to inform our stakeholders of important government activities affecting the University of Missouri.

Governor's State of the State Address

As part of Gov. Bob Holden's State of the State Address on Wednesday, Jan. 21, the governor announced his funding recommendations for all of Missouri higher education, including the University of Missouri System. The budget recommends a total higher education funding increase of $34.2 million, including an increase of $22.4 million, or 5.7 percent, for the UM System. In order to fund this and other increased expenditures, the governor called on the General Assembly to place several tax increases on the Aug. 2004 ballot, similar to those he proposed in 2003. The state's total general revenue for the current year and the projections for 2005 will become clearer as the session progresses.

 

Name Changes Approved by Senate Committee as UM weighs in

The University of Missouri outlined its position on the proposed Southwest Missouri State University name change this week as bills changing the institution's name to Missouri State University in both the House and Senate began to move through the legislative process. UM System President Elson S. Floyd sent a letter to SMSU President John Keiser that reaffirmed UM's role as the state's only land-grant and public research institution and called for clarifications and qualifications to be incorporated in any legislation that would change the SMSU name. Meanwhile, a Senate committee combined two name change bills into a substitute bill that could face floor debate soon, while a House counterpart was assigned to committee with a hearing expected soon. For more information, please click here.

Columbia group announces support for long-term land lease to build hotel and convention center

UM-Columbia officials joined community leaders Friday, Jan. 23, to announce plans to seek approval by the General Assembly for long-term lease of land currently owned by the University of Missouri. Because it is considered a conveyance of state property, UM must seek approval from the General Assembly to proceed. The University wants permission to seek requests for proposals from private bidders for a 50-year lease of about seven acres of land near the corner of College and Stadium for construction of a hotel and conference center, which would be built, owned and operated by the private bidder. Proceeds from the lease would be applied toward costs of a performing arts center to be constructed nearby. Private contributions would complete the performing arts center project. The citizens group, Community Leaders Supporting Cultural and Economic Growth, was on hand Friday to announce its strong support for the project. Resolutions seeking approval to enter into a long-term lease will be introduced in the legislature in the coming days. The project involves no state funds, and group leaders emphasized that it would generate considerable revenues through hotel and property taxes as well as additional economic activity resulting from conferences, meetings and additional guest stays. For more information, please click here.

UM-Columbia Medical School Forum Held Jan. 20

At a forum held Jan. 20 to discuss the future of the UM-Columbia School of Medicine, UM System President Elson S. Floyd spoke of the unique enhancement the school brings to the University and to the community. UM-Columbia Provost Brady Deaton hosted the standing-room-only event held in Acuff Auditorium. Missouri State Representatives Chuck Graham (D-24th) and Jeff Harris (D-23rd) were among the participants. Graham said the school serves not only Columbia, but also the entire state. Cynthia Grueber, director of University and Children's Hospital, said that the hospital and the School of Medicine are a cohesive unit. The forum also discussed the school's potential in life sciences research. The UM System has proposed a $190 million life sciences legislative package, which includes a new health sciences research building at UM-Columbia. UM-Columbia School of Medicine Dean William Crist cited the necessity of the bond package to build state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge equipment and to attract top-notch researchers. James Coleman, UM-Columbia's vice provost for research, said the medical school is key in the life sciences initiative because of its collaborative relationship with numerous departments on campus – all of which play a part in furthering medical research.

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