January 20, 2017

STATE UPDATE:

On the dias for the State of the State address
Speaker Todd Richardson, left, Gov. Eric Greitens, center, and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, right, together on the dais for the State of the State address. Photo courtesy of The Missouri Times.

Governor Greitens delivers first State of the State address

In his first State of the State address, Governor Eric Greitens outlined his plans to a joint session of the Missouri General Assembly. His priorities include ethics reform, passing right-to-work legislation, tax credit reform, criminal justice reform, and expanding course programs for K-12 students.

Greitens, who continues to assemble his cabinet and appoint individuals to key positions, did not outline his budget recommendations for the next fiscal year as is traditionally done in the address. Instead, he plans to provide those recommendations in early February.

Read the Governor’s speech here.

Governor withholds $146 million in current year funding, including $41 million for UM System

With state revenues lagging behind expectations, and mandatory spending on health care and other areas outpacing projections, Governor Greitens announced $146 million in withholdings required to balance the state’s budget.

The anticipated withholdings included more than $82 million in higher education spending and $41 million in planned expenditures for core and one-time programs across the University of Missouri System.

University leaders are reviewing the reductions to determine how best to move forward through the current fiscal year. Budget leaders and the governor have also indicated that next year’s budget may have even larger cuts in services depending on revenues received.

“We certainly understand that our state leaders have to make difficult decisions in challenging budgetary times,” said UM System Interim President Michael Middleton. “We are committed to working closely with our new governor and General Assembly in making the case for the University of Missouri System’s enormous positive impact on all of Missouri’s citizens and economy. We are reviewing the governor’s announcement and as a leadership team are working on a plan to address the withholdings.”

House, Senate budget writers begin early hearings on FY18 spending next week

Members of the House Subcommittee on Appropriations-Education will conduct an open public hearing next Monday evening at 5 p.m. or upon evening adjournment to take open testimony on higher education spending. The panel, chaired by Rep. Lyle Rowland (R-Cedarcreek) will not take any action on the budget.

In the Senate, members of the Appropriations Committee chaired by Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) will conduct a similar open hearing for public input on any area of the state budget beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Mizzou Alumni Association honors Brown, Lichtenegger, McGinnis with Geyer Awards

During a reception with lawmakers and alumni on Tuesday, the Mizzou Alumni Association presented the Henry S. Geyer Award for public service to higher education to Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla), Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Jackson), and former curator Sean McGinnis of Springfield.

The Mizzou Legislative Network Committee annually presents the awards to at least one state-elected official and one citizen who exemplify the dedication and spirit of Henry S. Geyer, the author of the original bill filed to establish the University of Missouri in 1839.

Brown earned degrees from MU in both agriculture and veterinary medicine and also represents the Missouri S&T campus in his Senate district. He now chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Lichtenegger currently chairs the House Higher Education Committee and has played a key role in both higher education budget and policy issues over the past several years.

McGinnis, an MU law school graduate, served as a member of the Board of Curators for six years and has been active with the alumni advocacy efforts for decades.

Geyer Award recipients Sean McGinnis, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, and Sen. Dan Brown.
From left: Geyer Award recipients Sean McGinnis, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, and Sen. Dan Brown.

FEDERAL UPDATE:

President Trump nominates Secretary of Agriculture

This week, President Trump nominated Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture. Perdue served as governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011 and currently serves on the Governor’s Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. A confirmation hearing for Perdue has not yet been set with the Senate Agriculture Committee but is expected to take place within the next few weeks. With Perdue’s nomination, President Trump has completed all nominations for his Cabinet.

University of Missouri interns attend inaugural events

Last week, eleven University of Missouri (MU) students began internships within the Missouri Congressional delegation through the Civic Leaders Internship Program (CLIP). The students will serve in their roles until the end of April. This week the interns attended an inaugural reception hosted by the Missouri State Society.

University of Missouri interns attend inaugural events
Pictured from left, MU students Haley Sammis, Thomas Kalish, Mary Mertes, Austin Davis and Raymond Rhatican.