FY 2012 budget moves to the Senate
On March 28-29, the Missouri House passed all 13 bills outlining the proposed FY 2012 budget. Relatively few changes were made on the floor as Representatives moved rapidly through the state department budgets. In HB 3, the higher education appropriations bill, notable changes included an amendment introduced by Representative Caleb Jones (R-California) to return $2 million to the Missouri Kidney Program, restoring a cut that occurred in committee. The Preparing to Care program remains in the budget as well, receiving $12 million for competitive grants that would be awarded to health professional programs at higher education institutions. Also remaining is $2 million for a joint pharmacy program at Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The bills now move to the Senate for hearings, likely beginning next week.
Curator selection bill heard before Senate panel
The House bill to revise the rules for appointing members of the University of Missouri Board of Curators in response to the loss of a congressional district was presented before the Senate Education Committee on March 30. HB 174, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) would allow for “at least one but no more than two” curators appointed from each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Currently only one can be appointed, but since the Constitution defines the board as nine members and the state will only have eight districts after redistricting, a change is needed. The bill, which has already passed the House, also provides the same language for Missouri State University’s governing board as well as the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.
A similar bill, SB 163, sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) has passed the Senate and a hearing is scheduled for April 5 in the House Higher Education committee.
House committee hears proposal to bond higher education construction
A house joint resolution to place before voters an $800 million bond issue for capital improvements was heard Tuesday, March 29 before the House Higher Education Committee. HJR 9, sponsored by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), would place the measure before voters to be approved before any bonds would be sold. The proposal would fund top capital priorities at public colleges and universities across the state, as well as improvements at state parks. The University of Missouri System was among those testifying in support of the bill. To see the testimony provided by Interim President Steve Owens, click here. The committee took no action on the bill.
House redistricting committee unveils possible Missouri Congressional maps
The House Redistricting committee announced their plans on March 30 to redraw the Missouri Congressional districts and reduce the number from 9 to 8, as required by the 2010 census. Chairman John Diehl (R-Town and Country) is planning on having the Redistricting committee vote on the proposal next week. Their proposal can be obtained from the House website.
UMSL nursing dean presents at briefing in Washington D.C.
On March 23rd Dr. Julie Sebastian, dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, presented at a briefing held by the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) in Washington D.C. Dr. Sebastian discussed the history and broad impact the Title VIII federal funding for scholarships and grants for nursing students. She also discussed the growth required for the nursing and health professions to keep up with society’s needs.