December 13, 2013

Friendly Tiger wager

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Above: Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Congressman Mike D. Rogers (R-AL), pose together in Washington D.C. prior to the MU vs. Auburn SEC Championship game. Congresswoman Hartzler will be providing Buck’s Tiger Stripe Ice Cream and a Shakespeare’s Pizza to Congressman Rogers for losing the friendly wager when Auburn defeated Mizzou by a score of 59-42. Photo courtesy of Alex Hutkin.

State News

Legislators complete special session, prepare for 2014 session to start January 8

Lawmakers returned to Jefferson City earlier this month for a brief special session to consider an incentive plan for Boeing and will return January 8 for the start of the 2014 legislative session. Governor Jay Nixon issued a proclamation on November 29, and legislators convened on December 2 for the introduction of Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale).  The bill contains economic incentives up to $150 million per year in return for locating production of Boeing’s 777X aircraft in the state of Missouri and creating at least 2,000 jobs. The Senate passed the bill on December 4. The House completed its work on December 6 and sent the final legislation to the Governor, who signed the bill into law on December 10. The state will have to wait until January to learn if Boeing decides to locate here or in one of several other states competing for the project. To see details of the bill, go here.

State budget slowly improving; Governor proposes 5 percent boost for higher education

Halfway through the current fiscal year, the state economic picture continues to slowly improve, with net general revenue collections up 2.2 percent compared to FY 2013 according to state budget director Linda Luebbering. As a result, the Governor and lawmakers may have new revenue to appropriate in the upcoming fiscal year.

Governor Nixon will make his budget recommendations in January, but he has already indicated several priorities, including a planned five percent increase to the operating budgets of the state’s public higher education institutions.  Nixon made the announcement December 11 during a visit to Springfield and, in return, he encouraged higher education institutions to keep tuition flat for the next academic year. To see the Governor’s announcement, go here. UM has requested $434.6 million in core operating appropriations for the next fiscal year.

Governor Nixon also announced plans to recommend a $5,000 boost per year for Bright Flight scholarship recipients who graduate and remain in the state to work.  The University of Missouri System campuses enroll more Bright Flight students than any other institution.

Pre-filed bills include acts related to higher ed funding formula, financial aid

State legislators began pre-filing legislation for the 2014 legislative session on November 27.  Thus far, two bills directly related to higher education are notable, both filed by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg).

Senate Bill 492 requires public four-year higher education institutions to develop a cooperative funding formula for future state appropriations. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) is required to approve the final formula. Core funding for institutions would be established at the FY 2015 level and would then be adjusted according to the formula beginning in FY 2016.  The bill also requires that ten percent of each institution’s funding be distributed with consideration given to institutional performance measures and to inequitable state funding. By August 28, 2014, the CBHE must collaborate with the institutions and the Joint Committee on Education to adopt at least five performance measures and then revise the measures every three years, if necessary.

Senate Bill 494 requires the Joint Committee on Education to conduct a study of the state’s primary scholarship programs – the Academic Scholarship Program, otherwise known as Bright Flight, the Access Missouri program, and the A+ schools program. The study is due by November 1, 2014 and must include information about eligibility requirements and graduation and retention rates.

Alumni Alliance recognizes legislators, others outstanding service

Eight individuals were honored by the Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension with the Presidential Citation Award.  UM System President Tim Wolfe and Alliance Chair Ronda Elfrink presented the awards during the annual Alumni Alliance Awards Dinner held November 15, 2013 at the University of Missouri.

Each year the Alliance recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding and continuing service to the University of Missouri and its campuses.  These individuals demonstrate their support for higher education through alumni service and leadership, community partnerships and legislative lobbying efforts. The honorees are selected by the UM System president, the campus alumni associations and the extension council.

This year’s honorees include:  Senator Dan Brown (UM System), Blake Hurst (UM System), Don Flora (MU), Dr. Russell Tabata (UMKC), Lajuana Counts (UMKC – 2012), Gary Forsee (Missouri S&T), Joan Bray (UMSL), and Representative Bill Reiboldt (MU Extension).  Read more about the honorees…

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Rep. Bill Reiboldt (center), receives the Presidential Citation Award from Ronda Elfrink and UM System President Tim Wolfe for his support in the passing of the Extension districting legislation.  

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Senator Dan Brown (left) with Missouri S&T Chancellor Schrader  

Rolla area legislators visit Missouri S&T

Missouri University of Science & Technology Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader hosted Rolla-area legislators for a tour and reception on November 20.  Senators Ed Emery (R-Lamar) and Dan Brown (R-Rolla) and Representatives Rocky Miller (R-Tuscumbia) and Steve Lynch (R-Waynesville) attended the event.  Senator Emery and Representative Miller are Missouri S&T alumni.

The Chancellor gave the group a short briefing on the state of the campus and then hosted a walking tour. Legislators were able to see and receive updates on the National University Transportation Center, the Nuclear Reactor, Additive Manufacturing, and Schrenk Hall, which is the campus top priority for possible state capital funding.  The group also heard about the many career opportunities Missouri S&T students have upon graduation. A reception was held at the Chancellor’s Residence following the tour.

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From left, Sen. Dan Brown visits with Chancellor Schrader and Reps. Rocky Miller and Steve Lynch at the Chancellor’s residence.

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From left, Sens. Ed. Emery and Dan Brown visit with Dr. Krishna Krishnamurthy at Missouri S&T.

Kansas City lawmakers hear about University priorities

Several members of the Kansas City legislative delegation came to UMKC on December 10 for a presentation by Chancellor Leo Morton on legislative priorities for 2014.  Chancellor Morton reviewed UM’s operating budget request and UMKC’s capital priorities, which include the Health Sciences Building Phase II project and the Free Enterprise Center proposal that is part of the University’s 50-50 capital match request.  Lawmakers also heard from representatives of the Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce in support of the priorities.

Legislators attending included Senators Kiki Curls (D-Kansas City) and Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City), as well as Reps. Myron Neth (R-Liberty);  John Mayfield, (D-Independence); Randy Dunn, (D-Kansas City);  Gail McCann Beatty, (D-Kansas City);  Jeff Grisamore, (R-Lee’s Summit); and T.J. Berry, (R-Kearney).

Pearce receives Gordon Award from MU Extension

MU Extension presented Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) with the Gordon Award in recognition of his lifetime support for Extension programs and his sponsorship of legislation to allow the formation of Extension districts across the state.  The award was presented in September during a dinner hosted by Extension in Warrensburg to thank the Senator for his work.

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From left, Michael Ouart, Vice Provost for Extension; H.C. Russell, Chair of the State Extension Council; Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg); Rep. Dean Dohrman, (R-LaMonte); Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, (R-Carrolton) and Wayne Prewitt, Regional Extension Director, during the September dinner to honor the Senator’s support of Extension.

Federal News

House and Senate budget conference committee agrees to 2-year federal budget

The joint House and Senate budget conference committee announced a federal budget agreement (HJR 59) that sets spending levels for FY 2014 and FY 2015. The agreement replaces sequestration for two years for discretionary spending and sets spending levels at $1.012 trillion for FY 2014. The deal offers an additional $48 billion in funding above previous levels.

The additional funding will be paid for in various ways. New federal employees will have to increase contributions to their retirement plans, the cost-of-living formula for working-age military retirees will be adjusted, and Transportation Security Administration user fees will be increased.  In addition, the two percent cut for Medicare providers is extended through 2023.

On December 12, the U.S. House passed the legislation by a vote of 332-94. The Senate is expected to act on the legislation next week. The appropriations committees are expected to begin final work on their respective bills in January.

Federal health care update

The U.S. House added the “Pathway to SGR Reform Act of 2013” amendment to HJR 59, the budget conference committee agreement. This provision would provide a five percent increase for Medicare reimbursements to physicians from January 1 through March 31, 2014. This three-month patch would prevent more than a 24 percent cut to physicians’ reimbursements through the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, more commonly known as the “doc fix”.  The extension will give Congress three months to work on a permanent fix. The Congressional Budget Office projects the ten-year cost of a permanent fix will be $116.5 billion, which is less than half of the CBO’s projected cost last year.

This bill also contains a number of other provisions related to hospitals, including:

  • Eliminating the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for FY 2014 and delaying the FY 2015 DSH reduction until FY 2016;
  • Establishing new criteria for Long-term Care Hospital payments for certain patients; and
  • Extending the increased Medicare rates for ambulance services until April 1, 2014.

House passes 30-day extension of Farm Bill

The House passed HR 3695, which will allow a 30-day extension of the 2008 Farm Bill so a conference committee can work out the differences between the House (HR 2642) and Senate (S 954) versions of the Farm Bill. The extension is retroactive to September 30 and is effective through January 31. The conference committee will work out a number of differences, including the funding of food stamp programs, commodity policies, and authorization levels of agriculture research programs. It is uncertain if the Senate will act on HR 3695, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have indicated they will not advocate passage of the extension in order to keep pressure on the conference committee to reach a long-term agreement.

U.S. House continues hearing to reauthorize Higher Education Act

The House Education & Workforce committee continued its series of hearings titled “Keeping College Within Reach” on December 3rd. The hearing focused on the topic of strengthening Pell Grants for future generations. Leaders of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the John W. Pope Center for Education Policy, the Education Trust, and the Anne Arundel Community College all testified. Committee members also discussed the ideas of the “Pell Well,” “Pell Promise”, and increasing flexibility and accountability. To learn more about the hearing, click here.

Congressional members celebrate Mizzou Tigers’ athletic achievements

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Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) cheered on the University of Missouri from Washington D.C. and sent this photo out through his social media outlets. Congressman Luetkemeyer represented the University of Missouri in Congress from 2008-2012. In the redistricting process of 2010, Columbia moved from the 9th Congressional district to the 4th Congressional district. Photo courtesy of Paul Sloca.

Ellis Fischel Cancer Center leaders visit Capitol Hill, National Cancer Institute

In mid-November, MU Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Hal Williamson and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Interim Medical Director Dr. Paul Dale and Interim Associate Director of Research Dr. Carolyn Henry visited Washington D.C. During their trip, they discussed the importance of research funding for the National Institutes of Health. They also visited the National Cancer Institute and learned about potential collaborative research efforts.

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From left, Dr. Hal Williamson, Dr. Paul Dale, Dr. Carolyn Henry, and Congressman Billy Long (R-MO). Photo courtesy of Tanner Warbinton.

Senator Blunt participates in MU homecoming festivities

During the 2013 MU Homecoming festivities, Senator Roy Blunt participated in the parade, Romp, Chomp, and Stomp Homecoming Tailgate, and had lunch with University of Missouri Curators Ann Covington and Don Cupps.

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From left, Senator Roy Blunt, Mary Cupps, and Curator Don Cupps. Photo courtesy of Wally Pfeffer.

 

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