University administration visits Capitol Hill
University of Missouri Interim President Gordon Lamb, the four chancellors from each UM campus and Curator Cheryl Walker welcomed more than 300 alumni of the University of Missouri and members of the Congressional delegation at the annual University of Missouri alumni reception Sept. 11 on Capitol Hill. The event is held each year to bring together the hundreds of alumni living and working in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to the alumni reception, Lamb, the chancellors and Walker visited with members of Missouri’s Congressional delegation to thank them for the support they give to the University throughout the year and to discuss important issues facing higher education in the future.
Governor sets Feb. 5 for special House elections
Gov. Matt Blunt has called special elections in three House districts—St. Charles, St. Louis City and Cape Girardeau—to be held Feb. 5, 2008. The elections come following the resignations of former Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles), Fred Kratky (D-St. Louis) and Nathan Cooper (R-Cape Giradeau). In other House news, Rep. Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) is the newest member of the Missouri Senate, winning election Sept. 4. Dempsey served as House Majority Leader before he ran for the seat vacated by Chuck Gross, who resigned. Dempsey’s victory gives Republicans a 20-to-14 margin in the Senate. An additional special election is expected to be called for Dempsey’s former House seat, the 18th district in St. Charles.
Rep. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) was chosen as speaker-elect
Veto session concludes; leadership races held
Lawmakers returned to Jefferson City Wednesday, Sept. 12 for the annual veto session but conducted little legislative business because most of the work was completed during the special session earlier in the summer. Leadership races in both chambers garnered the most attention.
Republican senators filled leadership posts, including Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon) as assistant majority floor leader and Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville) as Caucus Chair.
In the House, the Republican caucus elected Ron Richard (R-Joplin) as speaker-elect to prepare him to replace current speaker Rod Jetton, who is term-limited after this session. Rep. Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs) was elected speaker pro-tem, and Rep. Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) was elected floor leader.
Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative funds begin transfer from MOHELA
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) transferred $230 million in funds to the state for higher education building projects Friday, Sept. 14, the first installment in the $335 million Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative proposal introduced by Gov. Matt Blunt and passed by lawmakers in the last session. A lawsuit filed against MOHELA earlier in the summer to try to block the transfer was thrown out Tuesday, Sept. 11 by Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan. Funds will be used to construct projects across the state, including several projects on University of Missouri campuses. See a complete list of projects to be funded by the plan.
Public schools lose latest round against the state
The latest round in the law suit between the state and a number of public school districts over the school funding formula went in favor of the state. Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan ruled Aug. 29 that the current method of divvying up funds is not unfair or inequitable. Nearly half of the state’s 524 school districts are part of the suit, and it is expected that Callahan’s decision will be appealed. Although the state currently spends $2.7 billion on public schools, the districts in the suit had argued that the level is anywhere from $480 million to $1.3 billion below what should be provided. If the districts were to win the suit, lawmakers would be left to figure out how to come up with the money, and other state agencies—including higher education—have worried it would negatively impact their operating budgets. Lawmakers passed a revised funding formula for public schools in 2005 and have increased funding each year.
President Lamb issues statement regarding proposed anti-research amendment
University of Missouri Interim President Gordon Lamb issued a statement Sept. 7 against The Cures without Cloning Amendment initiative, saying the group’s effort to eliminate somatic cell nuclear transfer research is the first step to impeding Missouri’s research agenda and could destroy the future of research in the state and its universities.
Lawmakers participate in MU Field Day activities across the state
Sen. Brad Lager (R-Maryville) and Reps. Jim Guest (R-King City), Jim Whorton (D-Trenton) and Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) join University and USDA officials for a check presentation at the Hundley-Whaley Research Center during the Field Day Sept. 5.
Legislators from across the state came to one of the University of Missouri’s many agriculture research centers to participate in Field Days in August and September. The largest events included the Delta Center Field Day in Portageville, Mo., Aug. 31; the Hundley-Whaley Field Day in Albany, Mo., Sept. 5; and the Southwest Center Field Day in Mt. Vernon, Mo., Sept. 14. See the photo gallery for additional information about legislators who attended each event.
11th annual Ellis Fischel Cancer Center gala hosts legislators
Ellis Fischel Cancer Center held its 11th annual gala on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks. Columbia area representatives Jeff Harris (D) and Judy Baker (D) were among those who attended the sold-out event. The evening featured a silent auction, dinner and entertainment from singer Patti Austin. Funds raised from this year’s gala will go toward purchasing a high-throughput DNA sequencer for cancer research. During the last 11 years, the gala has raised more than $450,000. The proceeds have been used for a variety of cancer treatment equipment and services, including a confocal microscope and a laser capture microscope for cancer research; a new cancer research area housed within University Hospital; a mobile screening van offering mammography and prostate screening throughout the state; and the Wyatt Guest House, which allows guests, patients and their families to be together during treatments.
UMKC School of Medicine hosts Sen. Claire McCaskill
Sen. Claire McCaskill with UMKC medical students and Dr. Steve Griffith, chair of community and family medicine, Truman Lakewood.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) joined the UMKC chapter of the American Medical Students Association early this month to discuss the impact of legislation she is co-sponsoring with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.). The legislation would create a national registry where pharmaceutical companies would be required to disclose all gifts and payments made to physicians, hospitals and academic institutions. The forum, hosted by the AMSA, was attended by UMKC students, faculty, staff and administrators. Speaking to a room of future doctors, pharmacists, nurses and dentists, Sen. McCaskill laid out her support for the Federal Registry bill, which would create a system for monitoring an industry where 94 percent of doctors acknowledged some type of relationship with the industry, according to a report McCaskill sites from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Governor discusses new scholarship program at UMSL
Gov. Matt Blunt visits with UMSL student Traci Clark during his visit to the campus to speak about scholarship opportunities.
Gov. Matt Blunt met with students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Aug. 22 to discuss scholarship and financial aid opportunities. With the new Access Missouri scholarship program approved by lawmakers this past session, the number of University of Missouri students receiving aid is expected to increase from approximately 2,785 to 9,884. To support Access Missouri, the governor increased funding for needs-based scholarships, taking the current program from $27.5 million to more than $72.5 million. “We are working to ensure that more students will have access to a higher education by providing more scholarship funding for students in need,” Blunt said. “Students working toward a degree in higher education are laying the foundation for their future success.”
UMSL chancellor presents legislator awards
UMSL Chancellor Tom George presents the Statesman Award to Rep. Allen Icet. Photo credit: Bueltmann Photography.
University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George presented the 2007 Lewis and Clark Statesman Award to Rep. Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) Aug. 20. The award presentation was hosted by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), of which the University of Missouri is a member. Statesman Awards are presented to legislators who championed the St. Louis regional agenda. Award winners were recognized for their accomplishments on important initiatives regarding economic development, education, transportation and the environment. Other Missouri honorees included Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington); Sen. John Griesheimer (R-Washington); Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton); former Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles); Rep. Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles); Rep. Steve Hobbs (R-Mexico); Rep. Ted Hoskins (D-St. Louis); Rep. Rodney Hubbard (D-St. Louis); Rep. Connie Johnson (D-St. Louis); Rep. Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs); and Rep. Neal St. Onge (R-Ballwin).
UMSL hosts Missouri blue ribbon panel on autism
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, Sen. Scott Rupp and Parents As Teachers Executive Director Sue Stepelton meet to discuss autism in Missouri.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis hosted the fourth meeting of a five-part series on autism Friday, Aug. 31. Parents, professionals and legislators attended the event to explore solutions that address the status of autism in Missouri’s children with the hope of making Missouri a national leader in autism awareness. The meeting series is being chairedby Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville) and U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, who testified on behalf of national efforts, and Parents As Teachers.
Rep. Judy Baker gives new Extension faculty communication tips
Rep. Judy Baker visits with Kay Sparks, MU Extension 4-H youth development specialist headquartered in Pettis County, during an orientation session for new extension faculty at the Capitol.
Rep. Judy Baker (D-Columbia) visited with a group of new University of Missouri extension faculty at the Capitol Friday, Sept.7 to discuss perceptions of extension among her legislative peers and offer tips on how to communicate effectively with them. Baker said that many legislators are unaware of all that extension is and does. While many are familiar with extension's agriculture program, they are less aware of programs such as business development. She encouraged new faculty to make their local legislators aware of extension’s role in the state. She said door-to-door visits, particularly by clients and learners who benefit from extension programs, are an effective way to gain legislators' attention and understanding.
Missouri Rehabilitation Center celebrates centennial
Sen. Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon) presents a senate resolution to an MRC official.
University of Missouri Health Care’s Missouri Rehabilitation Center (MRC) in Mt. Vernon, Mo., celebrated its 100-year anniversary Saturday, Sept. 8. The day-long event included a parade, food, entertainment and prizes. Sen. Jack Goodman (R-Mt.Vernon) and Rep. Don Ruzicka (R-Mt. Vernon) presented proclamations from the Missouri Senate and House. Former State Sens. Emory Melton and Morris Westfall also spoke about the center’s move toward a rehabilitation mission and its transfer to the University of Missouri in 1996. For additional photos from the 100-year celebration, click here.