March 18, 2011

Budget bills ready for floor debate

The House Budget committee, chaired by Rep. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City), finished its work on the FY 2012 appropriations bills in rapid fashion this week.  The committee considered amendments and voted on the bills on March 15th.  In HB 3, the higher education appropriations bill, the committee elected to remain at the Governor’s recommendation for a 7 percent reduction to all 2-year and 4-year institution core appropriations.  Under this plan, the University of Missouri would receive $398.2 million for FY12.

A few changes were made to the University of Missouri-Related programs. By amendment, $2 million was removed from the Missouri Kidney Program’s budget and reallocated to a new joint pharmacy program between UMKC and Missouri State University. Another amendment added $50,000 to the previously zeroed line for MOREnet. Finally, a $12 million appropriation for the “Preparing to Care” competitive grant program was retained in the committee substitute, but its funding source will now be from general revenue rather than from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative Fund. All other recommendations for the UM-Related items mirrored the Governor’s.

The bills passed through the House Rules committee on March 17 with a six-hour time limit for floor debate split equally between the parties. Debate will begin on the House floor March 28.

House committee approves dental licensing bill

The House Professional Registration and Licensing committee on Wednesday adopted HB 591 sponsored by Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Jackson) which would allow the UMKC School of Dentistry to hire dentists who received training outside of the U.S.  Currently, dentists can only be licensed in Missouri if they graduate from an accredited U.S. dental program.

UMKC School of Dentistry Dean Marsha Pyle testified before the committee that UMKC has had a difficult time filling vacancies because it is not able to offer salaries that are competitive with what dentists can earn in private practice.  There have been some dentists trained outside of the U.S. who would have been willing to be hired but could not be licensed. This bill provides for a limited teaching license that requires the applicant meet all other requirements and pass exams before receiving the license.  The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

Mid-session legislation status

The University is tracking a number of bills this legislative session and below is a status update at the mid-point, as legislators adjourn for their spring break.

Board of Curators

HB 174, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), modifies the composition of  the UM Board of Curators, MSU Board of Governors, and the CBHE. The bill has passed the House and was second read and referred to the Senate Education committee in the Senate on March 17.

SB 163, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), is the companion bill in the Senate and was Perfected on March 9th with an amendment to remove the word “coordinating” from referrals to the CBHE. The bill was given final Senate approval on March 17 and will now go to the House for consideration.

Bonding

HJR 9, sponsored by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), would allow bonding for higher education institutions. The bill has been referred to the Higher Education committee in the House, where it is expected to have a hearing the last week of March.

SB 200, sponsored by Sen. Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau), would modify the ability of higher education institutions to issue bonds and incur debt. The bill could possibly limit an institution’s ability to bond for capital improvements. It is currently on the Senate Perfection calendar.

Research Grants

SB 268, sponsored by Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton), increases the statutory award amount for Alzheimer’s research grants from $30,000 to $50,000. This budget line item was removed from the UM-Related section of HB 3. The legislation would increase the award limit in the event that the line is restored. It was voted do pass by committee on March 16thHB 682, sponsored by Rep. Margo McNeil (D-Florissant) is the companion bill in the House and it is awaiting a committee hearing.

HB 755, sponsored by Rep. Melissa Leach (R-Springfield), subjects the spinal cord injury fund, the appropriation for which is contained in the UM-Related section of HB 3, to the provisions of 196.1127. This section prohibits any public funds from being used for any life sciences research involving human cloning and stem cell research. The bill was heard in committee on March 16th.

Financial Aid

SB 130, sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), would create an early high school graduation scholarship for public high school students that could be applied toward college tuition. The bill has passed out of committee and has been debated on the Senate floor, though no vote was taken.

 

Two bills have been filed to authorize $500 advanced placement grants to students who receive A+ or Access Scholarships and also complete A.P. courses. HB 231, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson, has been incorporated into a substitute bill that is waiting for consideration before the Rules committee. SB 265, sponsored by Sen. Rupp, is similar and has been heard before Senate Education.

HB 232, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson, would extend eligibility for A+ scholarships to public high school students who meet certain income criteria. That bill was heard in the House Higher Education committee but has not advanced.

STEM

SB 164, sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) and HB 352, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) both create a science, technology, engineering and math initiative within the Department of Higher Education to provide matching funds for University or private dollars to enhance scholarships, experiential camps, endowed professorships or other projects to expand participation in the science fields.  Both bills have been heard in their respective education committees and adopted by the committees.

HB 867, sponsored by Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City), would establish the “Missouri Biosciences Eminent Scholars Program” within the University of Missouri to provide grants to attract scholars in the bioscience fields. The bill was introduced March 16 and has yet to be referred to committee.

Economic Development

HB 468, sponsored by Rep. John Diehl (R-Town & Country), establishes the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA. The act would create a fund for the receipt of a percentage of the increase in gross wages of employees in the science and technology fields. Such funds would then be used to promote and support businesses and programs in the science and technology fields.  The bill was voted out of committee on March 16th.  The companion bill in the Senate is SB 79, sponsored by Sen. Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City) and was incorporated into a substitute (SB 189) that is awaiting Senate floor consideration.

Members of MO Congressional delegation attend MU vs. Cincinnati game

Several members of the Missouri Congressional delegation attended the MU vs. Cincinnati basketball game at the Verizon Center for Round 2 of the NCAA Tournament. Attendees included Senator Claire  McCaskill (D-MO), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressman Russ Carnahan (MO-3), Congressman Sam Graves (MO-6), and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (MO-8).

Blunt, Hulshof, McCaskill at NCAA Game

Marcheita Anderson, MU basketball coach Mike Anderson’s wife; former Congressman Kenny Hulshof; MU Athletic Director Mike Alden; U.S. Senator Roy Blunt; and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, seated on the right; at the Missouri Tigers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Round 2 game in the NCAA Tournament held in Washington D.C.

Redistricting hearing held on UMKC campus

More than 50 citizens attended a hearing held on the UMKC campus by the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting on March 11. The hearing was held to provide an opportunity for public input into the redistricting process. Missouri is slated to lose a Congressional district based on the 2010 US Census.

UMKC Redistricting Hearing

From left: Senators Victor Callahan (D-Independence), David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), Brad Lager (R-Savannah), and Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville) prepare to take public testimony at UMKC. Other committee members joined via telephone.

UMSL students host Lunch with a Legislator

UMSL students attended a “Lunch with a Legislator,” sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Missouri on March 14. Representative Clem Smith (D-St. Louis) was the guest speaker.

UMSL Legis with a Legislator

From left to right: UMSL seniors Ivana Aleksic and Melissa Alper, Representative Clem Smith, and ASUM Legislative Intern Lauren Rodriguez.

March 11, 2011

House Budget Committee to vote out budget bills next week

After meeting throughout the week to review House Committee Substitutes of the 13 budget bills, the House Budget Committee plans a final review of the bills next week and will then vote the  bills out of committee in preparation for House floor debate. The current version of HB 3, the higher education appropriations bill, includes the Governor’s recommended 7 percent reduction in the core operating appropriation for each 2-year and 4-year institution. For the University of Missouri, the proposed reduction would mean a core appropriation of $398.2 million for FY2012. The bill also includes $12 million for the “Preparing to Care” program, which would provide one-time funds for a competitive grant program for health professional schools, similar to the Caring for Missourians funding received in FY2010.

Appropriations for the University of Missouri-related programs currently remain as the Governor has proposed, with zeroed appropriations for MOREnet, University Hospitals and Clinics, and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. The Missouri Telehealth line item would be reduced and the Missouri Kidney Program, Missouri Rehabilitation Center, and the State Historical Society would receive flat funding.

Curator selection bills move ahead in both chambers

This week the House approved HB 174, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), to clarify the process of appointing curators in light of the state’s loss of a congressional district.  The bill calls for “at least one but no more than two” appointments from each of Missouri’s remaining 8 districts, allowing for two appointments from one of the districts to keep the total at the constitutionally defined number of 9 members.  The bill was given first-round approval on March 7 and was then given final approval on March 10 with a 142-12 vote. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration.

During floor debate, an amendment was offered by Rep. Mary Still (D-Columbia) to make the ninth member a voting student. That amendment failed by a 53-99 vote.

In related action, this week the Senate took up and perfected SB 163, a bill that includes the same curator language as in HB 174 and sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg). During floor debate on March 9, an amendment was added to change wording within the section of the bill relating to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Senator Tim Green (D-St. Louis) offered the amendment to take the word “coordinating” out of all references to the Coordinating Board. That amendment passed on a voice vote and then the amended bill received first round approval on a voice vote. It must be third read and passed with a final vote before moving to the House.

Former Senator Bond recognized with endowed lecture in his honor

On March 7, MU announced the creation of the Christopher S. “Kit” Bond Distinguished Lecture Series. With more than $1.3 million raised by friends and colleagues, a lecture series will be formed to provide a forum for nationally and internationally recognized leaders to explore issues of economics, science, politics, and security policy.

Speakers will be chosen by a special committee appointed by the Chancellor, and lectures will occur in various places across Missouri. The endowment establishes a tribute to Senator Bond for his advocacy for higher education and his service to Missouri.

MU doctors serve as Doctor of the Day for MO General Assembly

Each day the Missouri General Assembly convenes, a physician is selected by the Missouri State Medical Association to serve as Doctor of the Day. The Doctor of the Day is introduced in the House and Senate and spends the day visiting with lawmakers on health issues. They also serve as a doctor on call for any medical emergencies that may occur in the building. Several of the volunteers this year have been University of Missouri doctors.

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Above: Dr. Nicholas Golda, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at MU, served as the Doctor of the Day in the Missouri General Assembly.

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Above: Dr. Dean Hainsworth, Professor of Ophthalmology at MU, serving as the Doctor of the Day in the Missouri General Assembly.

March 7, 2011

Revenue collections for February announced, Budget Committee prepares to meet

Missouri’s Office of Budget and Planning announced that 2011 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 6.2 percent compared to 2010 and net general revenue collections for February 2011 increased by 5 percent compared to those for February 2010.

In related news, the House Budget committee met this week to review Appropriations subcommittee amendments to the 13 budget bills. Today, the committee will begin its review of House Committee Substitutes for each budget bill.

More than 50 UM undergraduates participate in Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol March 3

More than 50 undergraduate students from the four UM campuses came to Jefferson City on March 3 to present on research projects they are undertaking. The students developed posters about their research and gave brief presentations to Senators and Representatives about their work. The students were also introduced before the Missouri Senate and Missouri House of Representatives.

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Representative Sally Faith (R-St. Charles), left, visited with UMSL student Maria McMillon (right) about her research on supporting mothers during pregnancy.

Senate, House committees forward curator selection legislation

Two identical bills designed to clarify the process of selecting members of the University of Missouri Board of Curators moved through Senate and House committees last week. The legislation is needed to address the impending loss of a congressional district in Missouri and modify statutes that currently allow no more than one curator from each district.

SB 163, sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) and HB 174, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) would allow “at least one but no more than two” curators from each congressional district.  SB 163 was passed unanimously by the Senate Education Committee on March 2 and is on the Senate calendar for floor consideration.  HB 174 was passed Monday, Feb. 28 by the House Rules Committee and is now on the calendar for floor consideration in the House.

Both bills also clarify the same process for members of the Missouri State University governing board and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

STEM bill passes Senate Education

A bill to create a program to encourage support for science, technology, engineering and math initiatives unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee last week. The bill, SB 164, is sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg). A similar bill was passed by the House Higher Education Committee last month.  The University of Missouri is supporting the legislation because it can provide a state match for private or foundation funding for such activities as experiential science camps, scholarships, teacher training, hiring of additional faculty in STEM fields, and support for other related efforts.

Bill to allow limited dental teaching license heard before House committee

A bill supported by the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry to allow for a limited dental license for dentists who have been trained outside of the United States was heard on March 2nd before the House Committee on Professional Registration and Licensing. HB 591, sponsored by Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Cape Girardeau), would provide for limited licenses for dentists to practice as instructors in UMKC’s dental laboratory. The dentists would have to pass the same National Board exams, state or regional entry level competency exams and a written jurisprudence exam before they could be issued the limited license.  Dr. Marsha Pyle, Dean of the UMKC School of Dentistry, testified in support of the bill.

MU Chancellor hosts dinner with members of the Legislative Black Caucus

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and several top administrators at MU hosted a meeting with several members of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus on March 1, to hear campus updates and discuss various education issues.

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From left to right: Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton, Representative Steve Webb (D-Florissant), Senator-elect Shalonn”KiKi” Curls (D-Kansas City), MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, Representative Karla May (D-St. Louis), and Representative Tommie Pierson (D-St. Louis)

Redistricting process underway

Last week, Missouri received specific numbers from the Census Bureau regarding the 2010 Census. Missouri sustained a 7 percent population growth between 2000-2010, but will still lose one of its current 9 Congressional districts. The quickest growth came from the southwest part of the state, suburban St. Louis, and Boone County, all growing more than 25 percent

For a breakdown of county-by-county Missouri 2010 Census numbers, visit the US Census Bureau.

The Missouri House and Senate Redistricting Committees have begun hosting hearings for the public to attend and provide testimony across the state regarding the redistricting process. On March 11th, the last hearing will be held on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus at 12:30 in Room 106 of the University Center.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder speaks at UMKC Law School

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Lt. Governor Peter Kinder spoke to the UMKC Federalist Society on March 4. The Federalist Society includes both undergraduate and School of Law students.

Federal Relations update

Interim UM President Steve Owens visited with the Missouri Congressional delegation in Washington D.C. on March 1. President Owens’ trip focused on meeting the new members, discussing the search process for a new UM System President and UM federal funding priorities.

On March 2nd, President Obama signed a two-week continuing resolution (House Joint Res. 44) to fund the federal government through March 18th. This two-week CR cuts federal government spending by nearly $4 billion from the previous CR funding levels. About $1.2 billion in cuts are realized by terminating 8 non-defense programs that were not requested in President Obama’s FY2012 budget, and $2.7 billion is saved by eliminating almost 50 earmarked programs or projects.

Congressional leaders have begun meeting with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Last month, the House passed H.R. 1 that would cut $61.5 billion from FY10 levels. In initial budgetary discussions, the Obama administration has proposed cutting $6.5 billion in spending.