MU interns elected House Speaker, Majority Floor Leader in mock legislative session

MU students Lie Tjoeng and Andy Babitz

Two University of Missouri-Columbia students who serve as interns at the Missouri State Capitol were elected to leadership positions Tuesday, Feb. 28 during a mock legislative session. Lie Tjoeng, a junior from Ballwin, Mo., was elected Speaker of the House. Tjoeng is majoring in biological sciences with a minor in Spanish, and works as a part-time intern for Rep. Connie Johnson (D-St. Louis), Minority Whip. Andy Babitz was elected the Majority Floor Leader. Babitz is a full-time intern for Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia), Assistant Minority Floor Leader. Babitz is a junior from Creve Coeur, Mo., majoring in political science and history. The student candidates for leadership positions each gave campaign speeches for their races and were voted on by their fellow interns. This year about 86 MU students serve as interns in both the House and Senate. Many of the students enroll through the Civic Leaders Internship Program at the MU, where they can work with a faculty advisor for academic credit and take additional coursework related to their experiences.

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Legislative Day

Join the University of Missouri Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension for the 32nd annual Legislative Day at the Missouri State Capitol, Wednesday, March 15, 2006, and help convey the University’s message to elected officials, stakeholders and other citizens. In addition to legislator visits, events include a University rally and a campus display showcase focused on economic development and innovation. For more information or to register, visit this page.

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stateState Relations

MOHELA Board plans public hearing on sale of loans

The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) Board of Directors has scheduled a public hearing Friday, March 10, at the Lake of the Ozarks to consider the partial sale of its assets to support the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative. Gov. Matt Blunt has proposed using the proceeds – estimated to be $450 million – to fund capital improvements at higher education institutions, as well as for scholarships and economic development initiatives. The MOHELA board had voted in a meeting earlier in the year to sell the assets but decided to hold another public meeting to provide opportunities for public input. The public hearing portion of the meeting will take place at 12:30 p.m., Friday, March 10 at the Lodge of the Four Seasons. Those testifying will be limited to three minutes. For more information on the MOHELA meeting, please visit:

Two bills related to MOHELA also were introduced this week. Sen. John Griesheimer (R-Washington) introduced SB1182, which creates the Missouri Discovery Alliance within the Department of Economic Development. The Missouri Discovery Alliance, part of the governor’s proposal, would facilitate and accelerate commercialization of technology companies. Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia) introduced SB1142 that explicitly grants MOHELA the ability to sell assets and specifies the manner in which proceeds from such assets may be utilized.

Candidate filing opens for 2006 races
Candidate Filing
Legislators, visitors and staff frequently stop by to check the latest candidate filings outside the Secretary of State's Office.

Candidates for state legislative office, Congress and statewide races began registering with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Filing closes on March 28. Information about the candidates who have filed can be found at the Secretary of State’s website.

House Budget Committee passes higher ed budget bill out of committee

The House Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Allen Icet (R-Wildwood), spent two days this week reviewing the budget and then passed the budget bills out of committee. The only changes in the higher education budget bill, HB1003, included a $2.3 million increase for the Gallagher Scholarship program, which provides need-based grants for Missouri citizens to access Missouri postsecondary education; a slight increase for the State Historical Society, housed in Ellis Library on the MU campus; and $150,000 to re-establish the Alzheimer’s Research Program that was not funded last year. The committee also added $25,000 to fund a project at Moberly Area Community College. The House Budget Committee Substitute will now travel to the Rules Committee for review and then head to the House floor for debate.

Health care legislation update

A number of health care-related bills have been voted out of legislative committees or have been debated on the floor in the past few weeks, including legislation to establish a Healthcare Technology Fund and a Joint Committee on Health. [Read more on health care legislation…]

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icon question markCampus Highlights

Legislators attend spelling bee hosted by UMKC School of Education
Rep. Melba Curls (left) presents a resolution from the House of Representatives to Ladd Elementary teacher Joan White.Rep. Melba Curls (left) presents a resolution from the House of Representatives to Ladd Elementary teacher Joan White.

The UM-Kansas City School of Education played host to the Kansas City, Mo., school district’s fourth grade spelling bee on Friday, Feb. 24, as part of a celebration of African-American History Month. Sen. Yvonne Wilson (D-Kansas City), Rep. Craig Bland (D-Kansas City), Rep. Melba Curls (D-Kansas City), and Rep. Sharon Sanders Brooks (D-Kansas City) attended the spelling bee, where they presented state resolutions from the House and Senate to recognize the participating schools for their achievements. “We want to be sure that the community knows that the state supports and acknowledges the efforts of the students, the teachers and the parents,” Wilson said. This was the first year the campus served as host to the spelling bee, but UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey said it won’t be the last. [Read more...]

UM-St. Louis hosts event for women legislators
Rep. Esther Haywood, Rep. Yaphett El-Amin, and St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby speak at UMSL.
Rep. Esther Haywood, Rep. Yaphett El-Amin, and St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby speak at UMSL.

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life hosted their annual “Statehouse Sisters: Changing the Face of Leadership” program at UM-St. Louis on Friday, Feb. 17 as part of Black History Month. The program was moderated by Rep. Esther Haywood (D-St. Louis) and featured a panel of St. Louis legislators including Rep. Amber Boykins (D-St. Louis), Rep. Yaphett El-Amin (D-St. Louis) and County Councilwoman Hazel Erby. The legislators discussed public service for women as well as legislation they consider vital to the state. Other event sponsors included the Institute for Women’s & Gender Studies, Office of Multicultural Relations, Office of Equal Opportunity, Center for Human Origin and Cultural Diversity, the African-American Chapter of the UMSL Alumni Association, Office of Student Life, Student Legislative Association and Executive Leadership Institute.

House resolution recognizes Extension volunteers
Carole Bainbridge is congratulated for her service to the Montgomery County Extension Council by Rep. Mike Sutherland.
Carole Bainbridge is congratulated for her service to the Montgomery County Extension Council by Rep. Mike Sutherland.

The Missouri House of Representatives recognized two University of Missouri Extension volunteers with a resolution during the Montgomery County Extension Council annual dinner, Monday, Feb. 20, in Montgomery City. Rep. Mike Sutherland (R-Warrenton) honored Carole Bainbridge and John Noltensmeyer for their service. Bainbridge helped organize the county’s Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership (EXCEL) program, which is responsible for developing a trained cadre of volunteer leaders in the community. Noltensmeyer represents the Montgomery County commission on the extension council. Through his active participation, he has helped connect extension resources to other agencies and organizations. Both volunteers also encouraged the development of new-generation, farmer-owned co-ops, which benefit the people of the county.

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icon federal eagleFederal Update

Talent & Emerson hold earthquake preparedness hearing at UM-St. Louis
U.S. Senator Jim Talent testifies before the committee.
U.S. Senator Jim Talent testifies before the committee.

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a field hearing at UM-St. Louis on Friday, Feb. 24. U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) was part of the congressional panel, and U.S. Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) testified on earthquake preparedness along the New Madrid Fault. The purpose of the hearing was to gather input from state and local governments to improve coordination of the federal government’s readiness and response capabilities in the event of a disaster. In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the panel focused on potential outcomes to the region in the event of a natural disaster.

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icon question markLegislator Profile: Sen. Jack Goodman

When Sen. Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon) is asked to recall his favorite memory from his days as a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the answer is easy: “The first time I asked my wife for a date – and she said yes!” Goodman received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from MU in 1995 and a juris doctor degree from the MU School of Law in 1998. He now lives in Mount Vernon with his wife, Laura, and their son, Jack Elliott.

Goodman’s favorite professor from his MU days is Bill Bondenson, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy. “He had a remarkable ability to engage students, not only in class, but also in the assigned work,” he said. “He effectually stimulated objective dialogue and encouraged all students to promote and examine our ideas.” [Read more…]

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