Jan. 16, 2009

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Forsee joins governor on inauguration day

University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee joined Governor-elect Jay Nixon on the podium during the inauguration ceremony Jan. 12. During his speech, the new governor stressed the need for bipartisan work to bring economic and employment relief to Missouri.

Also sworn in at the ceremony were Attorney General Chris Koster, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Click here for photos from the inauguration by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

House passes rules, announces committees

The Missouri House of Representatives adopted rules for the first session of the 95th General Assembly and announced committee members as lawmakers prepared for consideration of bills this week. Legislators also introduced legislation to be considered in the coming weeks.

House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) announced committee chairs on Jan. 14. Key committees for higher education include:

  • House Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) with vice chair Rick Stream (R-St. Louis). This is the primary budget writing committee for the House of Representatives.
  • House Appropriations - Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) and co-chaired by Rep. Chris Molendorp (R-Butler). This committee focuses on the budget requests for elementary, secondary and higher education and provides recommendations to the full House Budget Committee.
  • House Higher Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Gayle Kingery (R-Poplar Bluff) and co-chaired by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville). This committee considers higher education policy legislation introduced in the House and any Senate higher education bills that are sent to the lower chamber for consideration.

A full list of committee members is expected to be released Jan. 16.

Bill introduced to clarify Bright Flight scholarship language

Lawmakers will consider legislation this session that would provide $4,000 per year for Bright Flight scholarship recipients beginning in fall 2010 who are in the top 3 percent of those taking standardized tests. Legislation was adopted in 2007 that would increase the award amount from its current level of $2,000 to $3,000 beginning in fall 2010 and provide a smaller $1,000 award for those in the fourth and fifth percentile. The new legislation would make it clear that all students in the top 5 percent would receive at least $1,000, with the students in the top 3 percent receiving an additional $3,000.

SB40, introduced by Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), an MU graduate, clarifies the award amount and would essentially double the Bright Flight award, something the University of Missouri and several other institutions have encouraged for several years. More than half of the state's 6,644 public school students receiving the Bright Flight last year came to one of the University of Missouri's four campuses.

SB 40 also includes provisions related to military deference for the award, as well as clarifies that GED recipients can receive Bright Flight awards, and clears up some ambiguity related to the timeframe in which test scores are ranked for purposes of the scholarship. SB40 is also a priority for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, which administers the awards.


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