Dec. 20, 2010

Senate Educated Citizenry 2020 Committee issues report

With a goal of providing a roadmap for improving education at all levels in the next 10 years, the Senate’s Educated Citizenry 2020 Committee chaired by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) issued its report this month to set the stage for education policy discussions in the coming legislative session.

Most of the report’s recommendations are aimed at elementary and secondary education, but the Committee did set a benchmark for increasing postsecondary degrees and credentials to 60% for all adults. It also suggests considering a single governing board for all levels of education.  To see a copy of the report, go here: Educated Citizenry 2020: Final Report.

Other members of the committee included Senators Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield), Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis), Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Wes Shoemyer (D-Clarence) and Robin Wright-Jones (D-St. Louis).

Budget Transparency Committee holds hearings

The House Interim Committee on Budget Transparency, chaired by Rep. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City), met on November 22nd to hear from the Department of Higher Education.  Commissioner David Russell and Deputy Commissioner Paul Wagner discussed how the approximately $1 billion received by the Department in FY2011 is distributed, with 76% going to public four-year institutions, 14% going to community colleges, and .5% going to Linn State Technical College.

Committee members asked a number of questions, including how the allocation of funds is determined and how the Department plans to deal with the expected FY 2012 requests for waivers to raise tuition above the statutory limit. In addressing the tuition waiver question, Commissioner Russell said that requests for waivers may be submitted after February 1, 2011, at which time Department staff will review the requests and make recommendations to him.  The Budget Transparency Committee is continuing its hearings until each state Department has had an opportunity to present.

Department of Higher Education continues work on Governor’s higher education agenda

Members of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education met in Columbia earlier this month to learn more about the higher education agenda and the state’s budget situation in preparation for the 2011 legislative session.

The budget challenges facing the state were the primary topic of discussion related to the next legislative session. With 91 new legislators, it was not anticipated that a lot of policy legislation would be forthcoming for higher education this year.

During the meeting, interim commissioner David R. Russell was named permanent commissioner. Russell had previously served as chief of staff for UM President Gary Forsee.

MU AAUP discuss upcoming session with Rep. Chris Kelly

The MU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) held a round-table discussion on December 2nd about the upcoming session with Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia). The informal conversation included discussion of the effort by the Missouri Department of Higher Education to review programs deemed to be low producing. The group of more than 25 professors also asked Rep. Kelly how they can help educate Missourians and the General Assembly about the importance of higher education to Missouri.

Gov. Nixon celebrates Thompson Center’s grand opening

On December 3rd Governor Jay Nixon attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The new facility was made possible by a $5 million state appropriation and $750,000 in federal funds secured by Senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond (R-MO). The new facility will use new technologies for the treatment of autism and will expand the Center’s capacity.

Chancellors meet with legislative delegations

Over the past few weeks all four UM Chancellors held meetings with their newly and re-elected area legislative delegations. The events gave the Chancellors an opportunity for the Chancellors to feature their campus and get to know their newly elected legislators. The groups discussed the state’s budget situation, capital needs, and other among UM priorities for the General Assembly.

Chancellor Morton w Nick Marshall & Noel Torpey

UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton (left), discusses the upcoming session with Representatives-elect Nick Marshall (R-Parkville, middle) and Noel Torpey (R-Independence, right) during a December 14th reception at UMKC.

Final days of the 111th U.S. Congress

As the 111th session of the U.S. Congress winds down, the House and Senate are working to finalize priorities before the holiday break and the new Congress is sworn after the first of the year.

The U.S. House and Senate are expected to pass a continuing resolution to fund federal government operations through March 4, 2011. The current continuing resolution ends on Tuesday night, at midnight.

The U.S. Senate voted by unanimous consent to approve the America COMPETES Act (HR 5116). The bill ensures funding growth over the next three years for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The America COMPETES Act now returns to the House for approval.

On Saturday, December 18th, the DREAM Act (HR 5281) failed a procedural vote to end debate. The bill would have provided a path of citizenship for illegal immigrants if they attend college or serve in the military for two years.

Key UM Government Relations dates & activities

January 5th – General Assembly Convenes
February 24th – UM Legislative Day
March 3rd – UM Undergraduate Research Day
May 13th – Last Day of Legislative Session

Other notable events that will be listed in the Legislative Update as they are planned. If you would like further information or would like us to add an event, contact Craig Stevenson at 573-882-4355 or stevensonca@umsystem.edu

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