Governor announces budget for forensic medical examination costs

Gov. Matt Blunt announced that he is recommending more than $4 million in his FY 2009 budget to cover forensic medical examination costs associated with rape or sexual assault during a press conference Oct. 17 at University Hospital and Clinics in Columbia. In July, the governor signed HB 583 into law. Rep. Connie Johnson (D-St. Louis) sponsored the bill, which prohibits sexual assault victims from being forced to pay for a medical exam in order to obtain an assailant’s DNA. Under previous law, victims were often required to pay for their own exams so an investigation could proceed. Part of the recommended funding will be proposed in the governor’s supplemental budget to cover costs incurred during the current fiscal year. The rest of the funding will be included in next year’s budget. Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia) also attended the press conference.

icon question markState relations
Funding formula updates given

Two groups developing new funding formula guidelines for public higher education institutions in Missouri recently gave progress reports.

The Higher Education Funding Task Force, initiated by the Department of Higher Education, reported to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education Oct. 11 that they have built a case statement and a set of supporting justifications and data to help communicate the importance of higher education. The group is reviewing and discussing the level of state support, Missouri demographics and the link between public investment in higher education and improved economic health and development. It plans to make recommendations to CBHE in June 2008.

A UM-led group of administrators representing all public four-year institutions in Missouri formed at the request of the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) also is gathering information on funding models that would aid the State Higher Education Funding Task Force and the legislature in making funding allocations in coming years. The work group is pursuing a model designed to estimate the amount of state appropriations required to fund core missions and support functions through a single formula and is now turning its attention to performance funding, funding for strategic initiatives and a discussion of policy goals and priorities for higher education in the state.

Governor introduces Insure Missouri plan

Gov. Matt Blunt unveiled his Insure Missouri plan in September to provide access to health insurance for uninsured Missourians. The program will be rolled out in three phases over the next 15 months and is expected to cover up to 200,000 people when fully implemented. Benefits will be similar to those offered to state employees, and participants may apply electronically at their local community health center or family support office.

The first phase should be implemented in February 2008 and will be made available to working custodial parents below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or $20,650 for a family of four. The second phase expands coverage to those with higher incomes, including additional working parents and other working adults who are not Medicare eligible. Coverage could be extended up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or $38,203 for a family of four. The third phase will help small business employers offer health insurance coverage to their employees. For more information visit, http://www.insuremissouri.org/.

MOHELA continues distribution of funds

The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority continued the distribution of funds to the state with $39.4 million being transferred on Monday, Oct. 15 as part of the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative to support higher education capital projects. MOHELA made its first payment to the state last month, and that money has been distributed to several colleges and universities, including UM-Rolla for its engineering building. Click here for other UM projects that will be funded over the next several years.

Coordinating Board approves operating budget request for FY 2009

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education recommended a core operating increase of 4.2 percent for FY 2009 for the University of Missouri during its meeting Oct. 11. The board also gave strong support to UM Interim President Gordon Lamb’s request for an additional $38 million to expand enrollment in health care education programs across the state. The latter issue was included as an additional recommendation for operating funds to the governor and General Assembly, which the Board has rarely done in the past.

The Board is requesting an overall base operating budget increase of $39.6 million, bringing the total for all higher education institutions to $958 million. The UM campuses would receive $431 million to continue this year’s operating core, plus $18 million to provide for a 4.2 percent merit increase in the salary pool.  The Board also forwarded additional UM requests as “worthy of consideration,” including $3.55 million for the first of a three-year investment to reach the mean pay range for ranked faculty; $3.7 million for technology and infrastructure; $12.6 million for maintenance and repair catch-up; and $2.6 million for equity adjustments at UM-St. Louis.

CBHE capital request includes remainder of Lewis & Clark Initiative projects

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education supported completion of the Lewis & Clark Discovery Initiative projects as part of Gov. Matt Blunt’s supplemental budget during its meeting Oct. 11.  The board recommended $31.2 million in funding for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center project at MU and $15 million for the nursing and pharmacy facility at UMKC, which are expected to be part of the Governor’s supplemental budget recommendation at the beginning of the session.  Funds for those two projects are still available out of the pool of funds created by SB389 and the partial sale of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority assets during last session.

Institutions also submitted lists of major capital improvement priorities and a list of smaller projects below $2.5 million for each campus to the coordinating board. The list of projects was forwarded to the governor and General Assembly by the Board without any priority status.  UM’s major projects on the list include:

  • Campus development at UMSL: $27 million
  • Biological science/chemistry/chemical engineering facilities at UMR: $60.4 million
  • Laffere Hall at MU: $47.8 million.
  • Miller Nichols Library renovation at UMKC: $34 million.
  • UM Health Care’s Children’s Hospital renovations: $4.68 million.

The lists also included engineering equipment funds for UM-Columbia, UM-Rolla and UM-St. Louis, as well as miscellaneous maintenance repair projects for all four campuses.

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icon question markCampus Highlights
UM Board of Curators sign resolution supporting academic freedom

The UM Board of Curators adopted a resolution at its bimonthly meeting Oct. 4-5 in Columbia supporting academic freedom and intellectual inquiry and lending their support to a statement released by UM Interim President Gordon H. Lamb in September regarding a proposed state constitutional amendment.

In the resolution offered by Curator Judith Haggard, the Board recognized the University for promoting the common good through the conduct of enlightened teaching, world-class research, devoted service to humanity and respect for intellectual diversity. The resolution comes after Lamb released a statement opposing the proposed anti-research constitutional amendment known as Cures without Cloning.

Scholars discuss nanoscience at UM-St. Louis

A meeting of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association and Innovate St. Louis Plant and Life Science Network was held Oct. 17 at UMSL. The program, Nanoscience in the Service of Human Health, featured UM-Columbia Director of Cancer Nanotechnology Kattesh V. Katti, Michael Nichols from UMSL’s chemistry department and Jimmy Liu, director of the Center for Nanoscience at UMSL. The network connects people within the plant and life sciences industries to stimulate learning and innovation. UMSL Chancellor Tom George is chair of the network.

Lawmakers tour MU to learn about life sciences

Legislators on the MOBIO tour listen as an undergraduate student discusses laser research.

A group of Missouri lawmakers who are part of the Missouri Biotechnology Organization's MoBio benchmarking tour visited MU Tuesday, Sept. 18 to hear an update on research and facilities at the state's public research university. Legislators and life sciences officials visited MU's College of Veterinary Medicine, the Christopher S. "Kit" Bond Life Sciences Center, the College of Engineering and the MU Research Reactor facility during the all-day tour.  The legislators also visited life sciences facilities in Kansas City and St. Louis as part of the tour that was designed to provide more details about the future of the life sciences industry in Missouri.

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icon question markFederal update
FAPRI representatives testify before Congress

This week the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to review structural changes taking place in the agricultural economy. The three-member panel testifying before Congress included Dr. Pat Westhoff, research associate professor and program director with the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at University of Missouri-Columbia. During his testimony, Westhoff discussed the outlook for the agriculture economy and what is influencing its future.

FAPRI is a joint institute at the UM-Columbia and Iowa State University that receives funding to provide objective analysis of agricultural markets and policies.

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