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.

Senate Appropriates Committee makes budget recommendations

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday, April 21 to recommend to the full Senate that the University of Missouri’s appropriation be reduced by 5 percent or $18,197,488 million for next year. The House of Representatives has previously passed their version that provides for a flat appropriation, or the same amount the University received for the current year. The Senate Committee also voted to reduce all other higher education institutional budgets by the same percentage to total $43.5 million across the state.

In “UM Related” items, the Senate voted a 10 percent cut to the University Hospitals and Clinics and Missouri Rehabilitation Center budgets. As the House did not recommend any reductions from 2005 funding levels, approximately $2.3 million in funding will be available for negotiation during the conference committee. The Senate Committee also reduced by $1.4 million a "UM Related" budget amount for MOREnet, the statewide telecommunications network managed by UM that provides Internet computing services for nearly all public and private universities in Missouri, all public libraries, and 514 of the  524 public school districts in the state. This reduction is in addition to a $2.9 million reduction recommended by the governor in January. The Senate Committee did, however, vote to restore a $459,970 core cut recommended by the governor for the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, an MU School of Medicine operation that provides mental health training programs for the Department of Mental Health, among other services.

The full Senate is expected to begin consideration of all appropriations bills early next week. The final step involves appointment of a Conference Committee composed of both House and Senate members. The Missouri Constitution requires that the General Assembly must complete all appropriation bills by May 6, 2005.

House Higher Education Chair calls for interim committee

Rep. Gayle Kingery (R-Poplar Bluff) this week asked House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) to form an interim committee to study higher education funding in Missouri. Kingery, who chairs the House Higher Education Committee, requested the interim committee after his panel considered legislation setting up a new funding formula for higher education and calling for changes in the allocation of financial aid dollars. The bill, HB 742 [], was sponsored by Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles) and generated considerable discussion in the higher education community this year.

"I indicated to the Speaker that although the proposal is a great idea it needs a lot of investigation and study before it can be molded into a good bill," Kingery said. "We need to take the time to do the research so that we can develop the best funding formula for higher education in the nation. It must be equitable, adequate and stable." Kingery added that he hoped the Speaker would name the interim committee this summer so it can begin the task of gathering information.

Although HB 742 did pass the Higher Education Committee and is on the House calendar, Kingery said he and Bearden had agreed it would not be brought up for debate and the interim committee would be the most logical next step.  

MU Alumni Association honors Graham, Sterling with Geyer Awards

The University of Missouri-Columbia and the MU Alumni Association presented the 2005 Geyer Public Service Awards on Friday, April 15 to Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia) and Jim Sterling for their efforts on behalf of higher education and the University. The awards are given each year to an elected official and a citizen in recognition of their support of the campus, and are named in honor of the legislator who sponsored the bill that formed the University of Missouri in 1839.

Chancellor Brady Deaton, Geyer Award recipients
Sen. Chuck Graham and Jim Sterling,
and MUAA President Doug Crews.
Graham was recognized for his efforts to support higher education funding and University of Missouri Health Care, as well as for his work to represent the MU Alumni Association's concerns regarding the renaming of Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University. He also has supported various scholarship programs and secured the funds to launch a wheelchair basketball program on the campus.

Former University of Missouri Curator Jim Sterling was honored with the citizen award. Sterling is an advertising professor and holds the Missouri Community Newspaper Management Chair in the School of Journalism. He is a past president of the Missouri Press Association and a School of Journalism Honor Medal recipient. Sterling has been involved in advocacy efforts on a number of campus issues over the years.

Education lawmakers hear from Midwest Higher Education Compact president

Members of the Senate Education Committee and the House Higher Education Committee met Wednesday, April 20 to hear from representatives of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) [], an organization of states that encourages interstate cooperation and resource sharing. Larry Isaak, president of MHEC, addressed the joint meeting of the committees along with Missouri commissioner Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College. Other commission members present included UM President Elson S. Floyd and UM-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George. [Read more…]

Governor names Advisory Council for Plant Biotechnology

Gov. Matt Blunt last week announced the creation of the Governor's Advisory Council for Plant Biotechnology to help Missouri secure its place in the developing plant science and agricultural industries. "Value-added agriculture and plant life sciences hold phenomenal potential to promote economic growth that will sustain Missouri's economy for generations to come," Blunt said. "To position our state at the top of this burgeoning industry, we must forge a strong partnership among Missouri farmers, business, scientists and government to provide innovative and dynamic leadership." [Read more…]

UM-Columbia student presents research at U.S. Capitol

On Tuesday, April 19, University of Missouri-Columbia senior psychology major Andrew Littlefield presented his research, “Individual differences in alcohol and tobacco users: Self-classification and problem recognition,” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Littlefield was one of 60 student researchers selected from more than 200 applicants for participation in the Council on Undergraduate Research's 2005 Posters on the Hill Program. The program offers undergraduate researchers the opportunity to present to Congress contemporary research that could have important implications for public policy and future legislation. Littlefield worked with Kristin Jackson, assistant professor of psychological sciences, to research students' perceptions of personal substance use and the problems associated with this alcohol and drug consumption.

Profile: Rep. Judy Baker

judy bakerWe plan to feature different members of the University of Missouri Caucus throughout the rest of the session. This week we focus on Rep. Judy Baker (D-Columbia), who holds a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and a master’s degree in health administration, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. “There is a deep respect for the University of Missouri and its heritage,” Baker said. [Read more…]

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