Governor Blunt holds press conference to support autism funding

Gov. Matt Blunt with children at the press conference to discuss autism funding.

Gov. Matt Blunt held a press conference on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at MU to discuss his recommendation for $3.9 million in funding. Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia), vice-chair of the Budget Committee, introduced the governor and promised to promote the recommended funding as it makes its way through the budget process. The funding would help foster early diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The state currently serves 4,200 children who have an ASD diagnosis; however, there remains a long waiting list for services. The governor’s recommendation is intended to reduce that waitlist and enhance early intervention services by expanding staff and training across the state. MU’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders stands to receive approximately $800,000 of the proposed funding. The center was established on April 29, 2005, through the philanthropy of William and Nancy Thompson, to promote research, teaching, and service innovations designed to improve the lives of children with ASD and other neurological disorders.

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Senate poised to continue floor debate on omnibus higher education bill next week

Higher education capital improvements, financial aid, tuition restraint and governance will take up considerable time on the Senate floor next week as the upper chamber continues debate on SB389, the omnibus higher education bill sponsored by Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin). A floor substitute of the bill was brought before the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 13, and a second substitute bill has now been introduced to be taken up as early as Monday of next week.

The latest version of the bill restores the six University of Missouri projects that were taken out in committee action last week over concerns regarding stem cell research. The new version contains all of the original projects listed in the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative. [Read more…]

House Higher Education Committee passes bills related to Bright Flight; engineering equipment

The House Higher Education Committee heard two bills in open session and passed two bills in executive session during a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 13. The panel heard HB442, sponsored by Rep. Gayle Kingery (R-Poplar Bluff), which creates the Missouri Legacy Fund through the state treasurer’s office for participants in Missouri’s MOST 529 plan. The program would provide matching grants to participants in the savings program that would be funded through the treasurer’s unclaimed property fund. The committee also heard HB613, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Pratt (R-Lee’s Summit), which would replace a member of the University Board of Curators with a full-time voting student. The committee took no action on the bills.

In executive session, the committee passed HB250, sponsored by Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia), which would double the Bright Flight Scholarship; and HB134, sponsored by Rep. Jim Guest (R-King City), which extends the sunset on the University of Missouri’s engineering equipment grant program.

Senators discuss proposal to eliminate gaming loss limits to fund new “Smart Start” scholarship

Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) presented SB430 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday, Feb. 12. The act would set up the Smart Start Scholarship Program to provide grants for education expenses for students attending post-secondary education for up to two years. To provide funds for the program, Shields recommended repealing the maximum loss limit of $500 per individual player per gambling excursion at the state’s gambling boats and imposing an educational allowance of 1 percent on adjusted gross receipts in excess of $30 million for gaming licensees. The proposal also caps the number of gambling boat licenses in the state at 13. [Read more…]

House, Senate committees consider veterinary medicine loan program

Missouri is one of several states that is facing a growing shortage of veterinarians who are in large animal practices. Legislation has been introduced that would provide a financial incentive for Missouri veterinary medicine students to stay in the state after graduation and work in large animal practice in high-need areas. Committees in both the Senate and House this week took action on legislation to establish a loan forgiveness program for students who receive a veterinary medicine degree and go on to large animal practices in high-need areas of the state. On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the Senate Education Committee passed a substitute version of SB320, sponsored by Sen. Dan Clemens (R-Marshfield), which was heard the previous week. On Thursday, Feb. 15, the House Agriculture Policy Committee heard HB693, sponsored by Rep. John Quinn (R-Chillicothe), which establishes a similar program. [Read more…]

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Ambassador Sen speaks at UMKC.
Ambassador of India visits UMKC

Ronen Sen, ambassador of India to the United States, visited the University of Missouri-Kansas City on Friday, Feb. 9, for a luncheon with campus leadership and a speaking engagement at UMKC’s Pierson Auditorium. Sen visited UMKC to be introduced to the institution and become more familiar with its programs. Additionally, UMKC officials spoke of the important partnership they would like to continue to build with the ambassador and India. Indian students at UMKC represent the largest international student body on campus, and the Indian Students Association is the largest student association on campus.

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icon question markLegislator profile

Mike Talboy
Rep. Mike Talboy

As a Kangaroo, Rep. Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City) has a passion for his alma mater and wants to see the University of Missouri-Kansas City continue to grow to meet the needs of the urban community it serves. Talboy graduated from UMKC in 2000 with a communications degree and then went on to attain his juris doctorate in 2002, also from UMKC. He now represents the district that UMKC’s Hospital Hill calls home and views the campus as a leader in a community. “UMKC plays an immense role in Kansas City and has a very large responsibility because we’re well beyond the six-year medical school program and pharmacy program,” he said. [Read more…]

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