March 14, 2014

State Issues

House budget panel adopts 3 percent increase for higher education core funding

When lawmakers return from next week’s spring break, the House of Representatives will be ready to take up the FY2015 spending bills including House Bill 2003 that now includes 3 percent performance funding core increase for higher education. Some new funding in the budget plan would be contingent on more revenues being available later in the year.

The initial House Budget Committee plan this week had the higher education core funding increase at 2 percent. During markup of the bill on March 12, Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) offered and passed an amendment to increase the performance funding by $7.2 million. Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) offered another amendment that increased the amount by $2 million. The combination provides funding to increase the performance fund a full percentage.

The budget bills also include $1.4 million to provide the final portion of the equity funding plan for the University of Missouri-St. Louis that was approved by the Board of Curators a decade ago. The first two allotments had been funded a few years ago, and the project is a priority for House Budget Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) who is also an UMSL alum.  The budget also provides $500,000 to expand the Missouri College Advising Corps operated through MU and $500,000 for a UMKC neighborhood initiative.

For financial aid, the plan includes a $20 million increase for Access Missouri scholarships and an increase of $7 million for the Bright Flight scholarship program. It also provides $1.5 million for a Telehealth Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes and $300,000 for an international collaboration between UMSL and Israel.

Earlier in the session, the Governor had recommended a 5% core increase for performance funding, along with additional funds for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiative and the Caring For Missourians-Mental Health initiative. Only the performance funding was included in the House Budget Committee plan.

Lawmakers must complete work on the budget by May 9.

Budget chair includes four UM 50-50 match projects in budget plan

House Budget Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) introduced House Bill 2019 to fund capital improvement projects last week. The bill includes General Revenue funding for several of the University of Missouri System’s projects including $7.4 million for UMKC’s Free Enterprise Center, $10 million for UMSL’s College of Business Administration building; $1.2 million for Missouri S&T’s Experimental Mine Building; and $6.1 million for MU’s Lafferre Hall in the College of Engineering.

Stream’s bill also would provide funds out of a supplemental reserve fund for three other MU projects: $11.1 million for MU’s Applied Learning Center in the College of Business; $2.7 million for MU’s Fine Arts and Performing Arts Facilities; and $1.5 million for MU’s Teaching and Research Winery in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.  Those projects could be funded if there is sufficient revenue later in the fiscal year.

The House Budget Committee is expected to take up the bill shortly after returning from spring break.

House passes funding allocation model for higher education

With very little debate, the House of Representatives this week took up and passed House Bill 1390, sponsored by Representative Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), that stipulates use of a funding allocation model for public two- and four-year institutions that incorporates performance funding into distribution of new funding.  The Senate passed a similar measure earlier in the session, but it did not apply to community colleges.

The bill calls for use of a funding model similar to that prepared by the Council on Public Higher Education representing the public four-year institutions.  However, COPHE called for 66 percent of new funds to be allocated to performance and 33 percent to a redistribution formula agreed to by the institutions. The legislation in the House and Senate allocates 90 percent of new funds to performance and 10 percent to the redistribution formula.

Legislator Profile: Senator Ed Emery

LU 3-13 Emery

Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar) speaks on senate floor.

Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar) is in his fourth session as a Senator for the 31st District after serving four terms in the Missouri House of Representatives (2003-2010). Emery’s position on the Senate Education committee demonstrates his knowledge and passion for students in Missouri.

Emery understands the impact higher education has on the well-being of Missouri’s residents. Emery attended University of Missouri-Rolla, now Missouri S&T, and graduated with a degree in engineering. While attending University of Missouri-Rolla, Emery’s fondest memory was receiving a sound education and “graduating prepared for [an engineering] career”. The University of Missouri-Rolla provided Emery with the skills for a successful career in the oil and gas industry.

Emery explains the University of Missouri System “aids Missourians and others who attend from outside the state to choose opportunities wisely and pursue them successfully.”

Emery looks forward to continuing to explore legislation he is passionate about, such as education.

ASUM Board visits capitol to promote higher education

ASUM Capitol

On March 13, The Associated Students of the University of Missouri Board of Directors from all four UM System campuses visited the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO. The Board of Directors met with representatives and senators to discuss issues important to ASUM and provide first hand experience on why the ASUM legislative platform is significant to the each UM System campus. After meeting with legislators, ASUM reported positive feedback from legislators regarding the significance of STEM programs for higher education within Missouri.

MU engineering students, dean visit capitol

MU Engineering Schaefer

MU engineering students meet with Senator Schaefer (R-Columbia)

During Engineering Week at MU, the student royalty court along with MU Engineering Dean Jim Thompson visited the Capitol on Tuesday, March 11. The students had a tour of the Governor’s office and were introduced in the Senate. They also had a chance to meet with Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia); Senator Mike Parson (R-Bolivar); Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia); Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia); Representative Caleb Jones (R-California); Representative Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage); and Rep. Bart Korman (R-High Hill).

View more pictures from their visit.

Federal Issues

House subcommittee passes COMPETES reauthorization.

The House Committee on Science’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology considered House Resolution 4186 on March 13. The “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014” would reauthorize programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The bill would set priorities for these agencies in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. The committee adopted nine amendments offered by Democrats on the committee and passed the bill by a voice vote. The university and business community, including the University of Missouri, signed on to the “Guiding Principles for the America COMPETES Act Reauthorization” last year.

UM System President Wolfe sends support letter for advanced manufacturing legislation

The “Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI) of 2013,” S. 1468, was scheduled to be considered by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on March 12. In preparation for the hearing, UM System President Tim Wolfe provided a letter of support for the bill, sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The bill would establish a Network for Manufacturing Innovation Program which would improve, expand, and innovate manufacturing efforts in the U.S. The Network would leverage educational, research, and private partnerships in order to move manufacturing forward in the U.S. National associations and businesses such as the AAU, APLU, Bowing, Brewer Science, IBM, and Proctor & Gamble have also endorsed the legislation. The committee postponed the hearing, with another hearing to be announced soon.

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