May 8, 2009

A publication of the University of Missouri Office of Government Relations

Legislative Update

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General Assembly approves Fiscal Year 2010 budget

Legislators approved the University of Missouri's FY10 budget this week, and it is now awaiting the governor's signature. The university received the same level of funding for its core budget as was received in FY09. Also included was $24.2 million in one-time federal stabilization funds that, upon approval by the university's board of curators, could be used for the Caring for Missourians proposal, maintenance and repair or other uses.

"The legislature's support of Gov. Jay Nixon's recommendation to keep public higher education funding levels flat in the coming fiscal year - despite a difficult economy and declining tax revenues - is recognition that higher education is an investment in our state's future," said University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee. "As part of our agreement with Gov. Nixon, the University of Missouri will not raise undergraduate tuition or fees in the FY09-10 academic year. We remain committed to ensuring that a college education remains affordable and attainable for all who desire one." The President's full statement can be seen here.

Below is a list of the major budget items contained in HB3, the higher education operating budget:

University of Missouri Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations:

  • Core budget: $451,676,165 + $24,278,199 for any one-time purpose = $475 million
  • University Hospital and Clinics: $19,416,571 (including $6.5 million for Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center capital.* The UHC core budget amount is $12,866,571.)
  • Telehealth: $815,640
  • Missouri Rehabilitation Center: $11,486,522
  • Missouri Institute of Mental Health: $1,655,892
  • Missouri Kidney Program: $3,765,097
  • MOREnet: $11,479,151 (general revenue) + $3,287,000 (one-time federal stabilization) = $14,766,151

*Mid-Missouri Health Center state appropriation: $6.5 million (university-related programs funding) + $6.5 million (funding in capital bill) = $13 million

General Assembly passes federal stabilization funding bills

The Senate and House of Representatives gave final approval to HB21 and HB22 yesterday, both of which uses federal stimulus and stabilization funds received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bills are now on their way to the governor for his signature. HB 21 distributes federal stimulus funds to the various state departments to be used to fund competitive grants. The Department of Higher Education and all of the four-year institutions are eligible to receive up to $99 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Science Foundation, among others.

HB 22 appropriates federal stabilization funds for a variety of capital improvement projects. Included in the bill are all of the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative projects that remained unfunded through MOHELA. This includes $31.2 million for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center at MU, $28.1 million for Benton and Stadler Halls at UMSL and funding for a number of UM agricultural research centers across the state. The bill also contains $6.5 million for capital improvements at Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, which will become part of UM Health Care.

Bonding resolution debated in Senate

On May 5, the Senate brought up HJR32, sponsored by Reps. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) and Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) and handled in the Senate by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia). The resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize bonds for higher education and other crucial state construction projects. The resolution originally proposed up to $700 million in bonds, specifically for higher education projects. It was modified in committee to authorize up to $800 million in bonds, with no less than $550 million dedicated to higher education and up to $250 million dedicated to other necessary state construction projects. After an amendment was offered on the floor to increase the authorized amount to $2 billion, the bill was laid over on the informal calendar. The bill could be revisited next week, the last week of the legislative session.

If passed by the legislature and by a majority of voters, the resolution would provide revenue to build the top capital priority project on each higher education institution campus in the state.

Senate adopts resolution recognizing international education

A concurrent resolution to recognize the importance of international education at Missouri colleges and universities was adopted this week by the Missouri Senate. SCR13, sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) was taken up and passed May 5. The resolution received support from the University of Missouri and several other institutions and organizations. A similar resolution was passed by the House of Representatives last year. To see the resolution, click here.

Senate committee adopts immigration bill that clears up concerns for higher education institutions

The Senate Education Committee unanimously adopted a committee substitute for HB390 this week that clears up ambiguities in immigration law passed by the General Assembly last year. The bill removes higher education from the definition of "public benefit" in last year's immigration language, which solves a timing problem regarding the admission and documentation of international students. The bill also clarifies how institutions are to review the status of students who receive financial aid from the state or institution. The bill faces a vote before the full Senate next week and must be adopted in the same form by the House before session ends on Friday. To see the latest version, click here.

MU student selected present research to members of Congress

Last Tuesday, University of Missouri student Kristen Malone met with members of Congress in conjunction with the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) Posters on the Hill Session. A senior from St. James, Mo., Kristen was selected as one of 71 students to present her research titled "Juvenile salamander dispersal and terrestrial microhabitat cues." She was selected to present from more than 400 applicants nationally. In addition to presenting her poster, Kristen met with U.S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), as well as U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and U.S. Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-MO). She also met with the offices of Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Sam Graves (R-MO), both MU alums. Earlier this year, Kristen won first place for the same research at the 2009 Missouri Life Sciences Week in the Genetics, Environment and Evolution Category. Kristen is a biological sciences major and undergraduate research assistant for Ray Semlitsch, Curators' Professor, biological sciences. She will graduate this May and plans to peruse a master's and Ph.D. in environmental research and its effects on amphibians.

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