House completes budget work
The Missouri House of Representative concluded their deliberations on the Fiscal Year 2009 budget for the University of Missouri on Thursday, March 27. The House third read and passed a core budget for the University of $448.2 million, or a 4 percent increase from the previous year. The University´s total comes from two state revenue sources, including $411.4 million from general revenue and $36.8 million from state lottery funds. Gov. Matt Blunt had previously recommended a budget increase of 4.2 percent, or approximately $700,000 more than the amount approved by the House.
House members did consider several amendments to the higher education appropriations bill. One amendment by Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia) would have reduced the Access Missouri scholarship fund by $6 million, with plans to redirect those funds to the Preparing to Care initiative to expand the number of graduates in health care related programs. That amendment failed by a 50-102 vote. Another amendment offered by Rep. Sara Lampe (D-Springfield) would have reduced the Access scholarship by $13.6 million, with plans to redirect the proceeds to the operating budgets of all public higher education institutions. Lampe's amendment failed on a 76-77 vote. Rep. Rick Stream (R-St. Louis) offered an amendment to redirect $2.6 million of the University of Missouri´s core funding to the St. Louis campus but the amendment was withdrawn.
The House also increased funding to $250,000 for a University of Missouri Extension economic development program to continue operation of the State Film Office, which works to encourage and increase the number of motion pictures filmed in Missouri. Funds were placed in HB2003 for the first time.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin deliberations on their version of the budget next week. All appropriation bills must be approved by the General Assembly by May 9, 2008.
A capital improvement bill is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives next week.
Senate Panel adopts omnibus immigration bill that includes higher education provisions
Illegal immigrants would not be allowed to enroll in public institutions of higher education in an omnibus immigration bill passed by the Senate Pensions, Veterans´ Affairs and General Laws Committee on Wednesday, March 26. SCS for SB858 includes language that mirrors a proposal passed by the House, which requires public higher education institutions to certify that they did not knowingly enroll any illegal aliens in the previous year. The House measure, HB1463, is awaiting committee consideration in the Senate. The Committee Substitute includes several provisions related to illegal aliens and is expected to be the primary immigration bill to be considered during the remainder of the session. It will be handled on the Senate floor by Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville).