stateState Relations

MOHELA board holds public hearing; approves working with governor on initiative

The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) Board of Directors conducted an open meeting and public hearing on Friday, March 10 at the Lake of the Ozarks to gather public input regarding the partial sale of its assets to support the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative proposed by Gov. Matt Blunt. The board voted unanimously to adopt a new resolution pledging to work with the governor’s office on the initiative, and adopted language specifying any proceeds from MOHELA assets should go only for higher education.

Representatives of the University of Missouri testified in support of the plan, including UM Vice President for Government Relations Steve Knorr on behalf of  President Elson S. Floyd; MU School of Medicine Dean Bill Crist; Susan Koplar Brown, a cancer survivor and supporter of the MU School of Medicine; Ann Korschegen, MU Vice Provost for Enrollment Management; Jay Dade, president of the MU Alumni Association; and Justin Stanek from the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM).

The initiative would take approximately $450 million in assets generated by the sale of a portion of MOHELA’s student loans and use the funds to support scholarships, capital improvements for higher education institutions, and additional economic development and higher education initiatives. The University of Missouri would receive funding to support capital projects on each of the four campuses, as well as funding for endowed professors and scholarships. Read more on the Lewis & Clark Discovery Initiative.

In other related MOHELA news this week, Rep. Clint Zweifel (D-Florissant) filed HB1968, which requires legislative approval prior to MOHELA sale and requires that an actuarial study be conducted prior to any such sale.

House committee approves bill to restructure higher education funding

HB1865, sponsored by Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles), was voted out of the House Special Committee on Student Achievement and Finance on Tuesday, March 7. The legislation launches a new “Access Missouri” freshman-only scholarship, and also caps state operating funds for colleges and universities at 2001 levels until the Access and several other scholarship programs are fully funded. The bill does encourage the state to return higher education to 2001 appropriation levels – the high water mark for state appropriations received by institutions – but then caps operating funds and diverts all additional dollars to the Bright Flight, Access, Missouri College Guarantee and Charles W. Gallagher need-based aid programs. The University of Missouri and Missouri State University testified for informational purposes on the legislation. Read more, including testimony…

Budget voted out of House Rules Committee

The House Rules Committee met Thursday, March 9 and voted the budget out of committee. Debate on the budget will begin Tuesday, March 14 and continue on Wednesday, March 15. Ten hours for debate is allotted for both proponents and opponents. The House is expected to third read and pass all of the appropriations bills by Thursday, March 16 before adjourning for their legislative spring break. The appropriations bills will then be referred to the Senate Appropriation Committee the week of March 28.

Candidate filing continues for 2006 races

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

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Icon-UniversityUniversity Update

UM Legislative Update spring break hiatus

UM Legislative Update will not publish an e-newsletter for the next two weeks due to legislative spring break, which begins upon adjournment on Thursday, March 16. The General Assembly will reconvene on Monday, March 27, and April 1 is the last day for introduction of bills. If you haven’t subscribed to UM Legislative Update yet, click here to receive a copy directly in your inbox.


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icon question markDid You Know?

Legislative Day talking points now online

Help deliver the University of Missouri’s message to elected officials, stakeholders and other citizens at the 32nd annual Legislative Day, March 15, 2006 at the Missouri State Capitol. Did you know that the University of Missouri Extension Business Development program helped the state’s small businesses increase sales by more than $466 million in 2005? Or that the University granted nearly 13,000 degrees in 2005? Read about the University’s important role in economic development and innovation…

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icon question markLegislator Profile: Rep. Michael Brown

Rep. Brown

Rep. Michael Brown (D-Kansas City) credits his undergraduate days at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as inspiration for his service in the General Assembly. “I’ve used each lesson from my life as a student in my role as state representative in the Missouri House,” he said. “I could see my future at UMKC. I was taught to reach for a big dream and work hard toward that dream.”

“Thank you to all my professors,” Brown said. “I hope you see your lessons do pay-off!” [Read more…]

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