Nov. 11, 2009

A publication of the University of Missouri Office of Government Relations

Legislative Update

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Gov. Nixon announces budget cuts

Facing an 11 percent decrease in state revenues through October, Gov. Jay Nixon announced almost $204 million in expenditure restrictions to state departments. While the university's core budget remained intact, a number of university-related programs were subjected to 25 percent cuts that were in addition to withholdings the university-related programs had in June. Funding for a number of state programs and projects, such as Medicaid, the Life Sciences Research Board and state facilities maintenance and repair was also decreased.

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University leaders in these programs are developing plans for how to handle the mid-year reductions and how services will be impacted.

For a full list of the expenditure restrictions across all areas of state government. visit: http://oa.mo.gov/bp/FY2010AdditionalExpenditureRestrictions.pdf.

UM system president, chancellors encourage support on operating budget challenges

As lawmakers prepare for the 2010 legislative session, the University of Missouri Government Relations team is working with the president and four campus chancellors to provide information to advocates and seek their help in supporting the university's message in Jefferson City.

Protecting the university's operating core budget from further reductions is the highest priority, and information provided to alumni and supporters through the coming weeks will underscore reasons why the state must continue to invest in higher education to prepare for the changing economy and job environment for the state.

UM system President Gary Forsee reviewed the budget situation with curators in Columbia Oct. 24, and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton convened an advocate roundtable Nov. 3 to share details of the state's economic challenges and how MU is reviewing options to prepare for more difficult budget times ahead. Chancellors on the four campuses are also providing supporters and advocates with details on budget plans.

Senate committees meet to consider strategies for 2020

PhotoThree special Senate committees have conducted hearings in recent weeks to gather input and consider strategies for improving education, economic development and the health of Missourians for the coming decade.

The Educated Citizenry 2020 committee, chaired by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) conducted a hearing Nov. 5 at the University of Central Missouri to gather input about Missouri's future education needs, and how to meet them.  Among those testifying before the committee were Vice Provost and Dean of Enrollment Management at Missouri University of Science and Technology Dr. Jay Goff and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Debra Noble-Triplett. They provided feedback to the committee regarding the university's P-20 council efforts and strategies under way to connect business and employer needs with the university's academic priorities. They also discussed college barriers for students and a recent ACT study outlining strategies for increasing the number of high school graduates matriculating to college. This committee also conducted a similar hearing Nov. 9 in St. Louis.

PhotoThe Senate Job Creation 2020 committee met at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Oct. 28 to hear testimony from various witnesses regarding the direction of job creation for Missouri's future.

The committee, which is chaired by Sen. Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles), 
heard testimony from Executive Director of the Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences Donn Rubin on how to capitalize on the region's science and technology jobs.  Missouri Partnership Executive Director Chris Chung presented information on Missouri job recruitment practices and the competition with other states and countries, and UMSL Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute Dr. Mark Tranel gave a presentation on the role of higher education and economic development. 

The Senate Healthy Missourians 2020 committee, chaired by Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale), met Oct. 29 in St. Louis to hear testimony about chronic diseases, wellness and prevention, and health workforce initiatives. Stan Hudson, of the MU Center for Health Policy, testified about health literacy, which is an individual's ability to read, understand and use healthcare information to make decisions and follow instructions. The committee's next meeting will be held Nov. 19 in Springfield.

Special elections fill Senate, House seats in St. Louis; three more slated for February

Voters went to the polls Nov. 3 for special elections to fill the seats vacated by resignations the of Sen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis) and Rep. Steve Brown (D-St. Louis). Voters in the 4th Senate district elected Joe Keaveny, a Democrat, for the remainder of Smith's term. He ran unopposed.  Voters in the 73rd House district elected Stacy Newman, also a Democrat, for the remainder of Brown's term.

The governor has called special elections for Feb. 3 to fill three additional House vacancies due to the resignations of Rep. Dennis Wood (R-Kimberling City), Rep. Ed Wildberger (D-St. Joseph) and Rep. Talibdin "T.D." El-Amin (D-St. Louis).

McCaskill convenes financial aid roundtable across four campuses

PhotoAs the U.S. Senate prepares to consider a sweeping federal financial aid reform measure, Sen. Claire McCaskill convened a financial aid roundtable Oct. 23 using the University of Missouri System's interactive TelePresence facility, enabling her to conduct simultaneous discussions with parents, students and university officials at UMSL, UMKC and Missouri S&T.

Parents and students relayed frustrations with the complexities of federal financial aid forms and programs, and university officials discussed challenges with implementing a constantly changing set of programs. Congress has been reviewing changes and simplifications in federal aid programs, including the requirement that all institutions switch to the Federal Direct Lending program instead of using private vendors. 

The U.S. House passed the legislation earlier in the year, and the Senate has yet to schedule a date for consideration

Governor visits UMSL, UMKC promoting Caring for Missourians

PhotoGov. Jay Nixon met with university leaders and students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis's College of Optometry Oct. 14 to announce that 47 new medical professionals will be trained at UMSL through the implementation of Caring for Missourians. UMSL's School of Nursing will have 31 new slots for advanced and beginning nursing degrees and the School of Optometry will train 16 more students. At least 471 future medical professionals will begin training at four-year institutions across the state—and hundreds more at two-year colleges—as a result of Caring for Missourians. 

Rep. Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) also visited UMSL, his alma mater, He spoke to a group of students and faculty at the business school to discuss Missouri's budget.  Stream is the vice chair of the Budget Committee. 

PhotoNixon also visited the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry Oct. 20 to discuss the implementation of the Caring for Missourians program, which would use $40 million of stimulus money to expand health care training programs. The funding will begin this semester, and the program will train approximately 500 students for high- demand health care jobs.

During his visit, the governor toured the School of Dentistry and the practice clinics and met with faculty, staff and students. The School of Dentistry will receive funding to train an additional 17 dentists. Nixon stated that even though one in five Missouri workers are currently employed in the health care sector, the state is still experiencing shortages.

MU celebrates partnership with Missouri community colleges

Last month, MU partnered with representatives from the Missouri Community College Association to recognize a group of alumni who began their college education at one of Missouri's community colleges and went on to receive a four-year degree from the University of Missouri. Representatives from both institutions recognized student success and underscored the partnership between the state's two- and four-year institutions.

The University of Missouri and MCCA have initiated a campaign called “Pathways to Success” to tell Missourians how their lives and livelihoods can benefit from a higher education system that provides students flexibility in reaching educational goals. The solid educational foundation provided by Missouri's community colleges and the seamless transfer of credits to the state's four-year public institutions ensures graduates are prepared for success when they step foot on a university campus.

Elected officials attend workshops to learn about University Extension programs

PhotoLocal and state elected officials participated in workshops coordinated by University of Missouri Extension in St. Louis and Kansas City to learn about programs that are available to assist them in their public service.

Participants had an opportunity to meet community development specialists working in each urban area and to hear updates on various efforts under way to assist residents. Presentations included an overview of Geographic Information Systems by the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems; a review of regional economic trends provided by the Community Policy Analysis Center; and an overview of Missouri's changing demographics and population trends provided by the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis.

Elected officials and their staff were able to explore various Web sites and databases to learn more about their districts. They also heard details about the state's plans to prepare for the U.S. Census in 2010. Extension leaders also presented a program in Northeast Missouri.

For more photos, visit http://www.umsystem.edu/apps/gr/newsletter/archives/091111/story02.shtml

State Icon Federal relations

MU, Missouri S&T students team up for solar challenge in DC

PhotoIn October, students from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Missouri S&T worked together as Team Missouri to participate in the Department of Energy's 2009 Solar Decathlon held on the National Mall. Teams from across the globe came to participate in this highly competitive, annual competition.

Missouri S&T is one of two teams selected to participate in every Solar Decathlon. Team Missouri students designed, built and then transported the solar house to Washington DC.  For more than two weeks, the Team Missouri house was open to 60,000 visitors on the National Mall, including U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan and Jo Ann Emerson. The team came in 11th. The house has been transported back to the Solar Village in Rolla, Mo, where it will be used as student housing.

For more photos, visit http://www.umsystem.edu/ums/departments/
gr/newsletter/091111/story01.shtml

Congress faces major issues as year winds down

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have been busy considering different versions of health care overhaul legislation, student loan overhaul legislation, cap and trade legislation, and annual appropriations bills. The House passed its version of health care overhaul during a late session Nov. 7. The Senate is expected to consider its version after the Veterans Day Recess. Any health care legislation is not expected to pass in final form until late December. No work is expected on either cap and trade or student loan legislation until after a health care bill has been passed.

So far, Congress has passed and the president has signed into law the annual appropriations bills for Agriculture, Energy & Water, Homeland Security, Interior & Environment, and the Legislative Branch. The remaining annual appropriations bills are expected to be signed into law by mid-December.

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