University of Missouri Legislative Update University of Missouri

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

Governor calls on higher education institutions to help cover cash shortage

To help shore up a cash flow challenge for the state, Gov. Matt Blunt on Wednesday, February 23 sought the help of the University of Missouri and five other public higher education institutions to defer a portion of their monthly state payments in March, April and May to help balance the state’s budget now that many Missourians are filing tax returns that require refunds. Blunt indicated the state would restore the funds in June, after state income tax payments have come in. The institutions will use funds in reserves to make payments to vendors, students and employees until state dollars restore those funds in June. Other institutions included in the plan are Central Missouri State, Northwest Missouri State, Southeast Missouri State, Southwest Missouri State and Truman State universities.

House Committee restores some funding for higher education

The House Appropriations-Education Committee this week completed its work on the University of Missouri budget, which holds most operating funds at 2004-2005 levels. However, the Committee did vote unanimously to restore $618,000 for MOREnet, which had previously been reduced by $2.9 million in the governor’s recommendations. The panel also voted to place $500 in the Alzheimer’s Research Fund which assures its place in next year’s budget, and to restore funding to the First Steps program. The governor had recommended no funding in those programs.

The bill now goes to the full House Budget Committee for consideration. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin hearings on the higher education portion of the budget next week, with the University of Missouri slated for consideration on Wednesday, March 2.

House Committees advance name change legislation to the floor

Legislation changing the name of several higher education institutions has now moved to the House floor after the Higher Education and Rules Committees both considered SB 98 in separate hearings this week. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Norma Champion (R-Springfield) includes a name change to Missouri State University for the Springfield institution as well as modifications in the names of four other schools. [Read more…]

Profile: Rep. Clint Zweifel, Vice Chair of the UM Caucus

Rep. Clint Zweifel (D-St. Louis)

We plan to feature different members of the University of Missouri Caucus throughout the rest of the session. This week we focus on Rep. Clint Zweifel (D-St. Louis), who serves as a vice chair of the UM Caucus. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college,” Zweifel said. “The University provided me with an opportunity to attend and experience an education at a great research institution for a reasonable cost.” [Read more…]

Proposed federal budget cuts agricultural research funding

Earlier this month the Bush administration released the FY06 budget, which now has been submitted to Congress. The proposed budget reduces funding for the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CSREES receives federal funds that it awards to universities, other institutions and individuals for research, education and extension activities. [Read more…]

Joint Committee on Education nearing completion of foundation formula framework

After months of hearings across the state and weekly meetings over the past month, the Joint Committee on Education chaired by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) is about to provide a draft plan for revising the school foundation formula. The Committee met Tuesday, February 22 to see early scenarios of the new calculations, which are largely based on funding per-student with variations in the sales and property tax burdens in districts and sliding scales to compensate for poorer students and other factors.

Committee members are trying to finalize the definition of several variables in the formula before running scenarios for each district in the state, and the Committee hopes to have some final questions answered over the next week before signing off on a framework bill that will then move to both chambers for debate. [Read more…]

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