Budget bills pass the Senate and move to conference
The 13 appropriations bills for FY 2012 were passed by the Senate this week. Senate Appropriations committee chair, Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) presented the bills, including HB 3, the higher education appropriations bill. No changes were made on the Senate floor and the bill will now move to a conference committee to negotiate the differences between the two chambers. Notable differences include the following:
- The House passed a 7 percent cut to the core budgets of higher education institutions. The Senate added $20 million, which would reduce the overall cut to 4.8 percent.
- The House included a $12 million appropriation for “Preparing to Care”, which would create a competitive grant program for health professional programs at higher education institutions. The Senate removed these funds.
- The House passed a $2 million appropriation for a joint pharmacy program at UMKC and Missouri State University. The Senate removed this line item.
The bills are on track to be approved by the constitutionally required date, which is one week before the legislative session adjourns. This year the bills must be passed by May 6th.
House and Senate continue work on redrawing Congressional boundaries
With three weeks remaining in the legislative session, House and Senate leaders continue to negotiate where Missouri’s Congressional lines should be drawn. On April 18, House and Senate leadership met with Congressional members to discuss the maps passed by each chamber. As of April 22, the two sides had yet to agree on a map.
The House and Senate voted on April 20 to send HB 193 to a conference committee. Because Missouri’s population growth between 2000-2010 was slower than other states, Missouri is due to lose one of its current nine Congressional districts. The Missouri General Assembly is tasked with passing new Congressional boundaries to reflect eight Congressional districts from the current nine.
House and Senate negotiators met multiple times during the day and night of April 21, but did not reach an agreement. The two sides were hoping for an agreement by April 22 to allow for an override attempt in the event that the governor vetoes their plan.
UMSL hosts legislators during Alumni Weekend
Representatives Churie Spreng (D-Florissant) and Clem Smith (D-St. Louis) attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis Dinner with 12 Strangers, for alumni and students, that was held as part of Alumni Weekend festivities.
Above from left to right: Karen Pierre, Manager, UMSL Community & Alumni Relations; Representative Churie Spreng (D-Florissant); and Celeste Marx, Manager, Alumni Relations for UMSL.
President Obama to appoint MU Chancellor Brady Deaton as chairman of a federal board
President Barack Obama has announced his intent to appoint Chancellor Brady J. Deaton to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). Dr. Deaton will continue in his leadership role as Chancellor at MU while serving the nation as chair of BIFAD. For more information, the White House announcement can be found here.
U.S. Congress is in recess this and next week for the Jewish and Easter holidays. When Congress returns on May 2nd, extending the federal debt ceiling will be among the first items discussed.
President Obama has called for a new debt commission, led by Vice President Joe Biden. House and Senate leadership have begun naming their members of the commission. The first meeting for bipartisan discussions is scheduled for May 5.