UMKC School of Medicine hosts legislative reception

House Speaker Rod Jetton and Rep. Sam Page visit with UMKC Interim Provost Bruce Bubacz at the School of Medicine reception.

On Friday, Feb. 3, the UM-Kansas City School of Medicine hosted a legislative reception to inform the delegation of its work on behalf of the community, region and state. Attorney General Jay Nixon, House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill), and Rep. Sam Page (D-Creve Coeur), an alum of the UMKC School of Medicine, were among the officials attending. Remarks were made by Angela Bennett, president of the University of Missouri Board of Curators; UMKC Interim Provost Bruce Bubacz; and UMKC Dean of Medicine Betty Drees. The reception culminated in a special announcement and donation of $25,000 from the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologist Educational Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to help in the planning and development of a master’s level anesthesiology assistant program at the School of Medicine.

The University of Missouri is the primary provider of health professionals for the state. In fact, between 2002 and 2012, health care will represent 10 of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations. If approved, the planned two-year anesthesiology program could train up to 17 additional students per academic year.

Icon-UniversityUniversity Update

House committee recommends governor's appropriation for University

The House Education Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Kathlyn Fares (R-Webster Groves), finished its hearings on higher education appropriations bill HB3 this week. The committee voted to endorse Gov. Matt Blunt’s recommended appropriation for the University of Missouri and other public higher education institutions in the state. The committee recommended that the University of Missouri receive $410.5 million for Fiscal Year 2007, or a 2 percent increase. The other appropriations committees will wrap-up their recommendations next week, and the Budget Committee will begin deliberations the following week. The full House of Representatives plans to finish their work on the budget by March 1.

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stateState Relations

House Republican leadership announces Access Missouri plan to provide scholarships and capital improvements for higher education

House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) and Speaker Pro-Tem Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles) headlined a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 9 that outlined their Access Missouri plan to use MOHELA proceeds to fund scholarships, pay down state debt and fund capital improvements for higher education. The proposal also includes maintenance and repair funds for community colleges. Although legislation has yet to be introduced, the leaders provided an overview of their plan, which differs from Gov. Matt Blunt’s Lewis and Clark Initiative. [Read more…]

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Senate Education Committee plans hearing on governor’s MOHELA proposal

The Senate Education Committee has scheduled a hearing for 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14, in SCR 1 for a review of the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative involving MOHELA and higher education capital and scholarship funds. Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin), who chairs the committee, called the special meeting to provide senators with an opportunity to hear more details from the Department of Higher Education and MOHELA officials regarding the proposed sale of a portion of MOHELA loans. Higher education supporters are encouraged to attend the hearing.

Missouri voters elect three new representatives in special election

In a special election held Tuesday, Feb. 7, Missouri voters elected two Democrats and one Republican to vacant seats in the House of Representatives. In District 132, which covers most of Lawrence County, Democrat Charles Dake defeated Republican Eric Seifried to replace Rep. Jack Goodman, who vacated the post after his election to the Senate. Democrat Michael Frame won over Republican Ed Groom in District 105, which is largely Jefferson County, to replace Rep. Harold Selby, who resigned to take another position. In District 93, which includes part of St. Louis County, Republican Dwight Scharnhorst defeated Democrat Genevieve Frank for the seat vacated after Rep. Jodi Stefanik took a position as the governor’s senior policy advisor on healthcare.

Senate passes omnibus higher education bill after adopting amendments

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Senate passed the first major higher education legislation of the 2006 session, sending a substitute version of SB590 to the House that would give the Coordinating Board for Higher Education more power and provide additional scholarships to veterans’ families. [Read more…]

21st Century Scholar legislation introduced in House

Rep. Rachel Storch (D-St. Louis) has introduced legislation that would award college tuition scholarships to students who pledge not to use alcohol or drugs. The bill, HB1643, is modeled after the 21st Century Scholar program first introduced in Indiana by then governor and current Sen. Evan Bayh. To be eligible for the program, students must be Missouri residents enrolled in eighth grade in public or private schools; eligible for free or reduced lunch; and sign an agreement, along with their parents, to finish high school, have a 2.0 GPA upon graduation, apply for college and financial aid, and not drive while intoxicated or use drugs. The amount of the scholarship varies based on the choice of college and the availability of other financial assistance. “This is a relatively low-cost way for Missouri to achieve the multiple goals of curbing substance abuse, reducing dropout rates and increasing access to higher education,” said Rep. Jeff Harris (D-Columbia), one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Governor appoints members to Healthcare Information Technology Task Force

Governor Matt Blunt announced members of the Missouri Healthcare Information Technology Task Force on Thursday, Feb. 9. The task force, which must provide its final report to the governor by Sept. 1, is charged with reviewing the status of healthcare information technology adoption by the state; exploring the use of telemedicine; addressing issues related to the delivery of healthcare information; identifying private resources and public/private partnerships to fund efforts to adopt interoperable health information technology; and making recommendations for implementation. Among the appointed members is Dr. Karen Edison, chair of the Department of Dermatology at MU’s School of Medicine and medical director of the Missouri Telehealth Network. Edison also serves as the co-director for the Center for Health Policy at MU. Also on Feb. 9, the Senate approved SB858 to establish the Healthcare Technology Fund, for which the governor recommended an initial $25 million in funding in his State of the State address. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) contains an emergency clause, which would enable the act to become law immediately upon the governor’s signature.

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icon question markDid You Know?

Legislative Day is March 15th

Join the University of Missouri Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension on Wednesday, March 15, 2006, for the 32nd annual Legislative Day at the State Capitol. Events include a rally, legislator visits and a display showcase featuring each campus and Extension. Rally speakers will include University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd; Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields; Senate Minority Floor Leader Maida Coleman; House Speaker Pro-Tem Carl Bearden; and House Minority Leader Jeff Harris. To register or see more information, please visit this link

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icon question markLegislator Profile

Since Sen. John Griesheimer (R-Washington) began his tenure in the General Assembly, more than one thousand high school students from his district have graduated from one of the University of Missouri campuses. “Each of those young people has added value to my district by returning there to work, live and pay taxes,” he said. “They are better off today because of the University of Missouri.” [Read more…]

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