Columbia | Kansas City | Rolla | St. Louis | Outreach and Extension

Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

April 30, 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.

Budget/Appropriations

The House and Senate Conference Committee on HB1003 made final appropriations decisions on Wed., April 28. For the first time in three years, the appropriation for the University of Missouri increased from the previous year. The University received a 3.11 percent increase, bringing the total for University operations next year to $400.8 million. The state appropriation for the current year totaled $388 million. The increase was due to an additional $20 million that was added by the Senate and distributed among the state’s public four-year institutions. The House conferees agreed to the increase. Increased support for most institutions averaged 2.40 percent. Both chambers are expected to approve all twelve appropriations bills next week and forward them to the governor.

Life sciences bond proposal advances in Senate

The Senate gave initial approval to the life sciences bond proposal on Wed., April 28, after increasing the total to $372.5 million and identifying a new funding source. Senator Jim Mathewson (D-Sedalia) successfully proposed an amendment to increase the size of the bond proposal from $350 million to $372.5 million, with the additional $22.5 million earmarked for the state’s community colleges.

Senate Minority Leader Ken Jacob (D-Columbia) also successfully proposed an amendment that provides a new funding source for the bonds by temporarily repealing a state tax deduction for corporations. Currently, Missouri corporations can deduct half their federal income tax liability from what they owe in state taxes. This amendment adds an additional legislative hurdle. The bill must now be approved by the Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee, which has previously been generally suspect of tax increase initiatives.

Language in the bill also makes the passage of the bond proposal contingent upon a name change for Southwest Missouri State University.

The full Senate must vote on the measure once more before sending the bill to the House, in addition to approving a separate Senate bill that outlines the projects funded by the bonds.

University Health Care budgets restored

On April 28, the conference committee on HB1003, regarding the state’s higher education budget, unanimously agreed to restore the 5 percent cuts that were recommended by the Senate.

The House had earlier recommended that the University Hospitals, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and the Missouri Rehabilitation Center be held harmless at their fiscal year 2004 levels. When the bill moved to the Senate, however, the Appropriations Committee recommended a 5 percent reduction in the budgets for these items, along with all other UM-related items. The University worked to restore the reductions. Ultimately, not only were the University Health Care cuts restored, but nearly all other UM-related cuts also were restored to their fiscal year 2004 levels, thus holding them harmless for fiscal year 2005.

For more information on the budget, go to:

http://www.senate.state.mo.us/senmogov/04info/house/bills/hb1003.htm

Northwest merger attached to larger Senate bill

The plan to merge Northwest Missouri State University with the University of Missouri System remains part of a larger higher education bill that is currently before the Senate. The bill, SB755, now includes name changes for Missouri Western State College (to Missouri Western State University), Harris Stowe State College (to Harris Stowe State University), and Central Missouri State University (to University of Central Missouri.)

The bill was brought up on the Senate floor earlier this week with the CMSU and Harris Stowe language added as floor amendments. A third amendment requiring that a plan for the merger be approved by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education also was adopted. A fourth amendment, which would have changed the name of Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University, was offered and defeated by voice vote. Further debate is expected should the bill be returned to the Senate floor.

HB1710, the House counterpart that includes the merger language, is still waiting committee approval in the House Education Committee.

Governor vetoes tort reform bill

On April 27, Gov. Bob Holden vetoed HB1304, which would revise current laws related to damage claims and the payment thereof. According to the governor’s veto message, the legislation delivered to him did not contain “meaningful insurance reform” and, without such provisions, he was unable to sign the measure. The governor recommended the inclusion of certain provisions that would enable him to give his approval of the legislation. Proponents of the bill have the option to amend the legislation or attempt a veto override during the next couple of weeks.

To see the governor’s full statement on the veto of HB1304, go to:

http://go.missouri.gov/press/press042704.htm.

For more information on the tort reform legislation, go to:

ttp://www.senate.state.mo.us/senmogov/04info/house/bills/hb1304.htm

Drug repository bill receives final approval

SB1160, sponsored by Senator Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), was truly agreed to and finally passed on April 29. The bill establishes a prescription drug repository within the Department of Health and Senior Services which will accept and dispense donated prescription drugs to certain Missouri residents. The program may only accept sealed and unopened drugs and a minimal fee may be charged of the recipients. This act provides a money-saving option for the state and for low-income individuals. In addition, the bill will help University-affiliated health care facilities save money while continuing to treat uninsured or underinsured individuals.

For more information on SB1160, go to:

http://www.senate.state.mo.us/senmogov/04info/bills/sb1160.htm