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.

University of Missouri supporters converge on the Capitol for Legislative Day

More than 300 alumni and supporters of the University of Missouri came to Jefferson City on Wednesday, March 16 for the annual Legislative Day. A morning rally featured several legislative and University leaders, including President Pro-Tem of the Senate Mike Gibbons (R-Kirkwood), Speaker of the House Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill), UM President Elson Floyd, and Matt Coco, president of the Alumni Alliance of the University of Missouri. [Read more…]

Bill to alter method of higher education funding introduced in House

Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles) has introduced HB 742, which addresses financial aid delivery, the higher education funding formula, and performance measures and contracts for public and private institutions. The bill was introduced March 10 and has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee, where it is expected to be heard in late March or early April. [Read more…]

House Budget Committee holds hearings

The House Budget Committee is one step closer to developing their budget for higher education and other state departments. Chairman Brad Lager (R-Maryville) heard reports from the various appropriation committee chairs this week. Rep. Kathlyn Fares (R-Webster Groves) reported for the House Education Appropriations Committee. The House and Senate adjourned Thursday, March 17 and will return on Tuesday, March 29 after their Spring Legislative Break. The Budget Committee has scheduled their "mark-up" to begin that day. Once the entire budget has been reviewed, the Budget Committee will forward its recommendations to the full House for a vote. The Senate Appropriations Committee continues to review the governor’s fiscal year 2006 budget but is not expected to vote until the House has finalized their position.

House Education Committee passes American Sign Language bill

The House Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, March 15 considered and unanimously passed a bill encouraging acceptance of American Sign Language (ASL) as a foreign language requirement for high school and colleges in Missouri. HB 530, sponsored by Rep. Danielle Moor (R-Fulton) says colleges and universities may accept ASL courses as foreign language credit, although it does not require them to do so.

Earlier versions of the bill considered in previous legislative sessions drew opposition from the education community because they would have forced colleges to treat ASL credits the same as those of other languages. This year’s legislation provided an opportunity for many in the deaf community to testify related to the difficulties they face receiving bachelor’s degrees in Missouri and highlighted the shortage of interpreters in the state. The hope is that this legislation will encourage additional courses in ASL that would lead to more interpreters as well as expanded opportunities for the hearing impaired.

Profile: Rep. Cathy Jolly, Co-chair of the UM Caucus

We plan to feature different members of the University of Missouri Caucus throughout the rest of the session. This week we focus on Rep. Cathy Jolly (D-Kansas City), who serves as a co-chair of the UM Caucus. Jolly holds degrees from both the Columbia and Kansas City campuses. "The University of Missouri had everything I wanted for my college experience," Jolly said. [Read more…]

Federal update: Higher Education Act

Last month members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced The College Access & Opportunity Act of 2005 as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). The purpose of the Higher Education Act, which authorizes the federal government’s major student aid programs and other significant initiatives, is to help students gain access to post secondary education.

The bill, introduced in the House by Chairmen John Boehner (R-OH) and Congressman Howard McKeon (R-CA), would allow the maximum Pell Grant award to be increased to as much as $5,800 per award and provide year-round Pell Grant aid for students attending school throughout the year. The bill also would increase the limits on student loans, phase out the current formula for Campus Based Aid, expand student loan relief for teachers and establish accountability measures for universities in regards to information about cost, accreditation and transfer of credit policies.

No date has been set as to when Congress will attempt to pass the HEA; its reauthorization expired last year. The Senate has not yet introduced their HEA reauthorization bill.

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