UM President Gary Forsee resigns, Steve Owens named Interim President
UM President Gary Forsee resigned this morning when the Board of Curators met in closed session. The Board of Curators appointed UM General Counsel Steve Owens as Interim President.
The UM Press Release regarding the announcement can be found here .
Senate begins work with focus on jobs, state budget
As the 96th General Assembly got underway January 5th, the Senate swore in 17 members, including 12 new Senators. They then elected Senator Rob Mayer, (R-Dexter) as the President Pro Tem. Senator Mayer, who has an undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a law degree from UMKC, pledged to focus on the budget and encourage job development.
Mayer’s opening address  highlights some of his legislative priorities for the year.
The Senator emphasized the importance of education and noted that he will continue committees established last year to reboot state government in an effort to consider ideas and suggestions from the public on how the state could save money.
Senator Mayer’s leadership team includes Senator Tom Dempsey (R-St. Peters), who will serve as Majority Floor Leader and Senator Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon) who will serve as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. Senator Victor Callahan (D-Independence) will continue as Minority Floor Leader. The Senate reconvenes at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, January 10, 2011.
House elects Speaker, swears in new members
On Wednesday, in the House of Representatives, all 163 members were sworn in, including 78 new members. The body elected Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) as Speaker. Tilley has an undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a Doctor of Optometry degree from UMSL. Tilley reviewed his priorities that include economic development, education, and several changes in House rules including fewer committees and granting subpoena power to the budget committee. He also pledged to complete 75 percent of the priority agenda in the first 50 legislative days of the session.
In addition to Speaker Tilley, the House leadership team includes Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) and Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka). Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City) serves as Minority Leader.
Speaker Tilley’s opening day remarks can be found here . Minority Leader Mike Talboy discusses the Democratic caucus’ priorities for the legislative session.
House announces committee members in opening day
Members of key committees on budget and higher education were announced Wednesday. For a description and list of the House Budget Committee members, click here .
The list of members of the House Appropriations-Education Committee , which handles initial review of the spending plans for elementary, secondary and higher education, can be found here .
The list of members of the House Higher Education Committee , which reviews policy legislation related to the state’s colleges and universities, can be found here .
To see a full list of the House committees, visit the Missouri House Committee Assignments  page.
The Senate is expected to announce committee chairs and assignments in the coming days. In the meantime, updated rules about Senate committees and responsibilities  were approved Wednesday.
Senate to host “Rebooting Government” sessions
Next week, the Senate will continue the work of committees established to consider ways to reboot state government, including one focused on education. For last year’s recommendations, visit the “Rebooting State Government ” page.
Governor and Budget Leaders Agree on Consensus Revenue Estimate
Governor Jay Nixon met with the Senate and House Appropriations Chairs in December to agree on the state’s consensus revenue estimate, which will be the starting point on which the FY 2012 budget will be based. Representative Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City), Chair of the House Budget committee and President Pro Tem Rob Mayer (R-Dexter), then Chair of the Senate Appropriations committee, joined the Governor in announcing that the projected net general revenue collections in FY12 are expected to be $7.295 billion. The figure represents moderate revenue growth over the FY11 revenue estimates. However, even with the receipt of this amount, revenue collections will still be $700 million below FY 2008 collections, necessitating further budget reductions for FY12.
In regards to the current fiscal year, the state Office of Administration announced that in the first six months of FY11, revenue collections have increased approximately 4.6 percent over the past year. From July through December, individual income tax collections rose 3.3 percent and corporate income and franchise tax rose 11 percent.
Federal Relations Update
The 112th United States Congress convened for the first time on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was elected Speaker of the House, and has begun to assign members to committees. As of Friday, January 7th, the following committee assignments have been given to the Missouri delegation:
Vicky Hartzler: Agriculture, Armed Services
Todd Akin: Armed Services
Blaine Luetkemeyer: Financial Services
Billy Long: Foreign Affairs, Transportation & Infrastructure
Sam Graves: Small Business (Chairman)
In the U.S. Senate, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) was selected to be part of a three person team that will serve as the Minority Whips in the Senate. Blunt replaced retiring Missouri Senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond.