Senate committees announced
Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) announced committee chairs and members of Senate committees this week.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will be chaired by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia). This will be the first time since the early 1990s that a Columbia Senator will chair the powerful budget-writing panel. Other members of the committee include Vice Chair Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), and Senators Dan Brown (R-Rolla), Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit), Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis), David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), Tim Green, (D-Spanish Lake), and Jolie Justus, (D-Kansas City). Six of the nine members have degrees from a University of Missouri System campus.
The Senate Education Committee will again be chaired by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg); and Senator Brian Nieves, (R-Washington) will serve as vice chair. Other Senators on the panel include Dan Brown (R-Rolla) Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield), Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City) Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City), and Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis).
To see the full list of Senate committee appointments, see the Missouri Senate’s Press Release  which lists each of the assignments.
Higher education leaders meet with Governor as FY2012 budget address nears
Governor Jay Nixon met with public higher education leaders on Wednesday, January 12 to discuss the current budget situation and reflect on his plans for the FY2012 budget. A statement released by Interim President Owens following Wednesday’s meeting can be viewed here .
The Governor’s State of the State address will take place next week in the House chamber before a joint session of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri Senate. It will be broadcast beginning at 7:00 p.m. on many local television stations across the state and also will be streamed live through the state’s Web portal at www.MO.gov 
Access Missouri scholarship recipients to get a slight increase
Students at Missouri public and private higher education institutions receiving Access Missouri need-based scholarships will see slight increases in award levels for the current semester as a result of a lower-than-expected demand for the scholarships this year. Scholarship levels will increase as follows:
- Community college students: Maximum award increase from $275 to $470.
- Public four-year college students: Maximum award increase from $950 to $1,010
- Private college students: Maximum award increase from $1,900 to $2,160
These levels will be in place only for the remaining academic year. Award levels for students in the fall 2011 class will not be determined until summer. Last year, lawmakers passed legislation that will eventually equalize award levels for students at public and private four-year institutions, but phase-in will not begin until 2014.
For more information on this week’s announcement regarding the scholarships, click here .
Bill filed to address curator appointment issue
Missouri’s state Constitution establishes the nine-member University of Missouri Board of Curators, and current state statutes stipulate that no more than one Curator may be appointed from each Congressional district. As Missouri prepares to drop from nine to eight Congressional districts as a result of the 2010 Census, legislation has been introduced to allow more than one Curator appointment per Congressional District.
HB174 , introduced by House Higher Education Committee chairman Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) would specify “at least one but no more than two” curators from each district, allowing the constitutionally mandated nine appointments to be made. The bill, which is identical to legislation debated during the 2009 Legislative Session, is expected to be referred to committee in the coming days.
Legislators visit MU for tour, game
Although there was no official “freshman legislator tour” due to budget cuts this winter, the University invited House members to tour various areas of the Mizzou campus and attend the Mizzou-Nebraska basketball game on January 12th. Nearly 50 legislators came to Columbia for the events, which included a tour of Discovery Ridge, the MU Research Park, the Bond Life Sciences Center, and dinner in the Mizzou Athletic Training Complex. The University emphasized the link between higher education, research, economic development, and job creation during the tour.
MU Extension provides workshop at capitol for legislators, staffers
MU Extension representatives came to Jefferson City January 13 to provide legislators and staffers with a glimpse of database and mapping capabilities provided by the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis and the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems. Legislators had an opportunity to explore their districts with demographic data and to generate maps showing education levels, income, and many other factors. Later this year, much of the Census 2010 data will be available for legislators to get a better sense of how population shifts are impacting their districts.