University of Missouri President Forsee visits Capitol, speaks to Missouri Press Association

University of Missouri President Designate Gary Forsee speaks to legislators and community leaders at The Missouri 100 reception in Jefferson City.

University of Missouri President Gary Forsee headed to Jefferson City on Thursday, Feb. 21, to speak to the Missouri Press Association during the MPA-AP Day at the Capitol. Forsee, who began his new role as UM president on Monday, Feb. 18, told the editors and publishers of Missouri newspapers that the University must communicate to Missourians the special role it plays for the state and its future.

Forsee also visited with elected officials while at the Capitol, including Senate Appropriations Chair Gary Nodler (R-Joplin), House Budget Chair Allen Icet (R-Wildwood), and several other members of the House Budget Committee.

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Senate gives final approval to University of Missouri capital projects

On Monday, Feb. 18, the Senate approved HB2019, a supplemental appropriations bill which contains $31.1 million for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center at MU and $15 million for completion of the Pharmacy and Nursing Building at UMKC. Both buildings are the University of Missouri’s two remaining Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative projects. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

HB2020, which contains funding for the Missouri S&T and Missouri State University cooperative engineering program, also was approved by the Senate and now heads to conference.

House Education Appropriations concludes deliberations

The House Education Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Kathlyn Fares (R-Webster Groves), concluded its deliberations this week on HB3, which contains the funding for higher education. The committee recommended full funding of Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposals for the University, which means a 4.2 percent increase for the University’s core budget will now advance to the House Budget Committee for consideration. The committee also endorsed a $13.4 million appropriation for the Preparing to Care initiative, a collaboration between all of the state’s two- and four-year public higher education institutions to educate health care professionals to address shortages in the state. Deliberations in the House Budget Committee are expected next week.

Senate Education Committee hears bill to clarify Bright Flight scholarship plan; passes student curator and transfer scholarship bills

A bill to make several minor changes in the Bright Flight scholarship program was heard Wednesday, Feb. 20, before the Senate Education Committee. SB984, sponsored by Sen. Wes Shoemyer (D-Clarence), would clarify the period of testing time considered to determine whether a student is in the top 5 percent of test-takers and therefore eligible for some level of Bright Flight scholarship. The bill also would allow those who have taken the GED to apply, and provides an exemption for students receiving the scholarship who are called away on military duty so they do not lose the scholarship when they return. Committee members had a number of questions about details of the bill and no action was taken.

The committee also held an executive session during which they adopted several higher education bills. SB873, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia), would provide for a voting student curator on the University of Missouri Board of Curators should the state drop to eight congressional districts after the next census. The student would be exempted from voting on hiring and firing of personnel. The bill was adopted by an 11-0 vote. The committee also approved SB846, sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), which would establish a transfer scholarship of $1,000 for students who complete an associate’s degree and go on to continue their education at a public four-year institution in the state. The bill also includes language to allow Rankin Technical Institute to be a participant in the A+ scholarship program. This bill was approved by a 5-4 vote.

Committees consider bills related to large animal veterinary medicine loan program

Two bills received committee consideration this week that would clarify language associated with the Department of Agriculture’s Large Animal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. The bills would allow students in the second, third and fourth year of veterinary school at MU who plan to go into large animal practice in the state to apply for up to $20,000 in loans next year. The loans would be forgiven if the students complete their degrees and go into large animal practice in the state. The basic program was enacted in legislation passed last year, and this year’s bill provides clean-up language for several aspects of the program.

SB942, sponsored by Sen. Dan Clemens (R-Marshfield), was adopted as a consent bill by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 20. HB2174, sponsored by Rep. John Quinn (R-Chillicothe), was heard Thursday, Feb. 21, before the House Agriculture Policy Committee. Dr. John Dodam, associate dean for MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, testified in support of the bill before the House committee. No action was taken on the bill.

House approves international education resolution
International students from MU and the University of Central Missouri gather after the hearing in support of HCR7.
International students from MU and the University of Central Missouri gather after the hearing in support of HCR7.

The House Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 19, adopted House Concurrent Resolution 7, which encourages more awareness and support of the important role international students and education play in the state’s future. Earlier this month, several international students from MU and other higher education institutions traveled to Jefferson City to support HCR7 before the House Higher Education Committee. Dr. David Currey, assistant director of MU’s International Center, testified in support of the measure. The resolution is sponsored by Rep. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), who serves as vice chair of the committee.

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UM President Gary Forsee; Gov. Matt Blunt; Higher Education Commissioner Robert Stein; Mark James, state director of public safety; Jack Watring, director of MUPD; and Doug Schwandt, assistant chief of MUPD.
UM President Gary Forsee; Gov. Matt Blunt; Higher Education Commissioner Robert Stein; Mark James, state director of public safety; Jack Watring, director of MUPD; and Doug Schwandt, assistant chief of MUPD.
Governor holds press conference on campus security at MU

Gov. Matt Blunt visited the University of Missouri-Columbia on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to discuss the Missouri Alert Network, which provides critical information alerts and warnings to Missouri schools during an emergency. “Expanding this important service to colleges and universities will help us protect even more young Missourians from potential danger and we are most appreciative of the Missouri School Boards’ Association for this important partnership to enhance school safety,” Blunt said.

Commissioner of Higher Education Robert Stein described the network as a tremendous development for the state. The Missouri Department of Higher Education will coordinate with colleges and universities with registration and other information about participation in the Missouri Alert Network.

University of Missouri President Gary Forsee attended the event and introduced the governor. Following the press conference, the governor and president were given a tour of the MU Police Department facilities, led by Director Jack Watring. The University provides campus emergency alerts to students, faculty and staff through the 3n system. [Register for the free 3n system to receive notification in case of an emergency…]

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