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.

House and Senate committees consider student curator legislation

Education committees in both the House and Senate on Tuesday, March 8 heard bills that would give the student representative to the Board of Curators the right to vote on University issues. The legislation also applies to the governing boards at Southwest Missouri State University and Truman State University. HB 440, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs) was heard before the House Higher Education Committee and SB 417, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington), was heard before the Senate Education Committee. Speaking in support of the proposal were representatives of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, a member of the Southwest Missouri State University governing board, current student representatives to the Board of Curators and the SMSU governing board, and Rep. Brian Baker (R-Belton). There was no opposition to either proposal.
 
For the University of Missouri, the bills would replace one of the current nine curators with a full-time student curator who would serve a two-year term and have full voting privileges. Currently, the board has a student representative who attends meetings and participates in closed meetings, but the student does not have a vote. Neither committee took any action on the bills.

Governor appoints three new members of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education

Gov. Matt Blunt has appointed Gregory Upchurch of St. Louis, Jeanne Lillig-Patterson of Kansas City, and Martha Boswell of Columbia to six-year terms on the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). Upchurch was confirmed earlier this session by the Senate and has taken his seat on the panel, while Lillig-Patterson and Boswell appeared this week before the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee and still await formal confirmation from the full Senate. [Read more…]

Government Reform Commission holds organizational meeting

Gov. Matt Blunt's commission to review and reform all departments of state government held an organizational meeting in Jefferson City on Tuesday, March 8 to devise a schedule in anticipation of a full report to the governor by the end of the year. The commission, co-chaired by Steven Bradford of Cape Girardeau and Warren Erdman of Kansas City, will conduct a full review of state government with a goal of restructuring, reducing and eliminating some services.
 
The commission has organized a set of subcommittees which will meet in April, conduct public hearings around the state later in the year, and report back to the commission. The subcommittee on education and higher education will be chaired by Charles McClain of Columbia, who previously had served as commissioner of higher education and president of Northeast Missouri State University before it was renamed Truman State. McClain's panel will take a close look at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education. Read more information on the commission and see a list of members.

Joint Committee on Education completes initial foundation formula proposal

After five hearings in a month, the Joint Committee on Education adopted a motion Tuesday, March 8 to forward its draft foundation formula to House and Senate committees to continue the work of rewriting the blueprint for funding the state's public elementary and secondary schools. The final version of the proposal, drafted by committee chair Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), makes significant changes in the way state funds are distributed. Two committee members voted against the motion. [Read more…]

Tort reform legislation moves a step closer to passage

On Wednesday, March 9, the Senate passed tort reform bill HB 393, sponsored by Rep. Richard Byrd (R-Kirkwood) and Sen. Delbert Scott (R-St. Clair), with a few differences from the House version. The bill modifies a number of provisions relating to tort reform, including venue, joint and several liability, and damages. The Senate reported the bill to the House and the House refused to recede from its position, asking for a conference instead. The conference committee should be appointed next week to resolve the differing positions. [Read more on the major provisions of the Senate version…]

Medicaid reform proceeds in House and Senate

The Senate Pensions, Veterans' Affairs, and General Laws Committee passed SB 539 on Thursday, March 10. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield) and is scheduled to be debated by the full Senate on Monday, March 14. The bill makes a number of statutory changes that would be necessary to implement the governor's recommended budget cuts to the Medicaid program. In its major provisions, the bill reduces eligibility levels, eliminates some optional services, allows the state to apply for additional Medicaid waivers, and allows providers to terminate certain services due to unclaimed debts. [Read more…]

House passes legislation to provide grants to survivors of war on terror

On Tuesday, March 8, the House passed HB 94, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cunningham (R-Marshfield), which provides educational grants for tuition at Missouri public or private colleges or universities to children or spouses of veterans who have been killed in action or who are 80 percent disabled as a result of injuries. The tuition grant cannot exceed the cost of attending the University of Missouri-Columbia, and students cannot receive total aid that exceeds 100 percent of the cost of attending. The grants also would include $2,000 for room and board and the actual cost of books up to $500. Children can receive the scholarship up to age 25, and spouses are eligible until age 45. There is a six-year sunset clause on the legislation. Similar proposals have been filed and considered in the Senate.

Profile: Rep. Jim Guest, Co-chair of the UM Caucus

Rep. Jim Guest

We plan to feature different members of the University of Missouri Caucus throughout the rest of the session. This week we focus on Rep. Jim Guest (R-King City), who serves as a co-chair of the UM Caucus. Guest holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in engineering management, both from the University of Missouri-Rolla. "I chose the engineering school at UM-Rolla because I wanted to obtain my degree from the top and most highly respected engineering school in the Midwest," Guest said. [Read more…]

31st Annual Alumni Alliance Legislative Day

Join the University of Missouri Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension next Wednesday, March 16 at the State Capitol for the 31st annual Legislative Day. Events include legislator visits and a rally featuring Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons, Speaker of the House Rod Jetton, and UM President Elson S. Floyd. Outstanding Alumni Service awardees also will be recognized at the rally. This year's display showcase will focus on economic development at each campus and Extension. Visit the new Legislative Day website for information on the awardees, talking points and more.

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