Jan. 23, 2009

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Gov. Nixon announces plan to spare higher education from budget cuts in FY10

Gov. Jay Nixon crossed the state to visit public higher education campuses Jan. 21 to announce his plan to spare higher education from operating budget cuts in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. In exchange, the University of Missouri System and other public higher education institutions have agreed to no increase in undergraduate tuition or fees in the FY09-10 academic year.

Nixon visited MU's Reynolds Alumni Center Wednesday morning to make the announcement to a room full of reporters, students and university supporters before traveling to St. Louis to visit Harris Stowe State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. UM System President Gary Forsee, MU Provost Brian Foster and MU student body president Jim Kelley spoke at the MU event; Forsee, UMKC Provost Gail Hackett and student ambassador Spenser Williams spoke in Kansas City.

Lawmakers will begin work on the FY10 budget after the governor's State of the State address Jan. 27. Legislators must complete work on the budget by May 8.

To see the governor's press announcement go here. To see the university's statement, go here. Streaming video of the Columbia press conference is also available. For photos from the UMKC and Harris Stowe events, click here.

Senate holds higher education seminar

UM System President Gary Forsee and Missouri State University President Mike Nietzel presented an overview of public higher education in the state along with challenges facing their institutions at the Senate's Jan. 22 seminar on higher education. Forsee discussed cooperation and collaboration among the state's public higher education institutions while Nietzel stressed the role of higher education in economic development and job creation. The president's remarks concluded with a discussion of higher education governance and accountability.

The Senate has held informational seminars on a variety of issues. To see slides from Forsee's presentation, click here; for Nietzel's presentation, click here.

House Appropriations - Education Committee holds its first hearing

Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), the new chair of the House Appropriations - Education Committee, held his first committee hearing Jan. 22 to hear a brief presentation by Executive Director of MOREnet Dr. Bill Mitchell. MOREnet - or the Missouri Research and Education Network - is a University of Missouri-affiliated organization that provides Internet services for all public school systems in the state, as well as all two- and four-year public higher education institutions, public libraries, the state of Missouri and electronic library services to nearly all private higher education institutions in Missouri. State appropriations and service fees finance the costs of the program.

Senate appoints standing committees

By resolution on Jan. 22, the Senate adopted appointments to its standing committees, including Appropriations and Education, among others. The committees will begin holding hearings on filed legislation next week.

Mizzou Boone County Alumni Chapter hosts area legislators for forum

Several new faces showed up among the local legislative delegation that spoke before a gathering of Mizzou alumni Jan. 22 in Columbia. A new senator and three new House members were among the local delegation that joined more than 100 Mizzou supporters to discuss higher education and legislative issues. The event was hosted by the Mizzou Alumni Association's Boone County Chapter.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) is beginning his first term in the upper chamber and talked about his many connections to Mizzou and interest in supporting the budget in his new role on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Five House members who represent part of Boone County also talked with Mizzou alumni. They included Reps. Steve Hobbs (R- Mexico), Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City), Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), Mary Still (D-Columbia) and Stephen Webber (D-Columbia). Lawmakers discussed the state budget and their hope that higher education will not face cuts, as well as the importance of alumni across the state becoming more active in their communication with legislators.

For more photos from the event, click here.


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