April 29, 2011

House and Senate negotiators begin discussing budget next week

House and Senate Conference Committees on the Appropriations bills were appointed this week.  For HB 3, the higher education appropriations bill, Senate conferees are: Sens. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville), David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), Tim Green (D-St. Louis), and Shalonn “Kiki” Curls (D-Kansas City).  The House conferees on HB 3 are: Reps. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City), Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood), Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage), and Sara Lampe (D-Springfield).  The committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, May 2nd to negotiate the differences between versions of the bill.  All appropriations bills must be truly agreed to and finally passed by 6:00 p.m. on May 6th.   

Senate passes legislation including MOSIRA provisions

After hours of debate on April 27th, the Senate approved HB 116, handled by Sen. Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield), which modifies a number of laws regarding the collection of moneys owed to the state.  During debate, Sen. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) offered an amendment to add the provisions of the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA. The Senate adopted this amendment after adding a clarification offered by Sen. Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) subjecting MOSIRA to appropriations. The University of Missouri supports the passage of MOSIRA, as it will encourage the development and growth of science and technology businesses in the state.  

A number of other provisions regarding tax credit reform were included in HB 116, some of which were recommended by Missouri’s Tax Credit Review Commission late last year. The bill also includes “Compete Missouri” job creation provisions and authorization for the Aerotropolis Trade Incentive and Tax Credit Act, which would allow incentives to help attract a Chinese freight hub to St. Louis. The bill must receive one more vote in the Senate before moving back to the House, where it could receive a final vote or could move to a conference committee that will negotiate the differences.

Curator nominee to have hearing before Gubernatorial Appointments committee

On May 4, nominee Don Cupps is scheduled to appear before the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments committee. Cupps was nominated on January 26 by Governor Jay Nixon to replace outgoing Curator John Carnahan on the University of Missouri Board of Curators. After the scheduled hearing on May 4, Cupps will need full Senate approval before beginning his service on the Board of Curators. The other nominee, Craig Van Matre, is still awaiting confirmation. 

Limited dental license bill heard before Senate committee

HB 591, which would create a limited dental teaching license for dentists at UMKC’s School of Dentistry who have received their dental degrees outside the U.S., was heard Tuesday before the Senate Financial and Governmental Organizations Committee. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Jackson) and was passed earlier this month by the House. 

UMKC Dental School Dean Marsha Pyle testified in support of the bill before the committee and answered questions. The concept was brought forward by the dean as an answer to a continuing challenge to fill dental teaching slots at the School.  UMKC is not able to offer competitive salaries to attract dentists who can otherwise work in more lucrative private practices. This bill would allow the school to hire dentists who pass all exams and tests even if they received a dental degree from another country. An amendment to the bill will require that they demonstrate proficiency in both written and spoken English. The committee is expected to vote on the measure Monday.  It will still need approval by the full Senate, and one final vote of the bill in identical form in the House.

House, Senate send Congressional redistricting map to Governor

On April 27, House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement to redraw Missouri’s Congressional districts. Due to the results from the 2010 Census, Missouri is slated to lose one of its nine Congressional districts. The Missouri General Assembly is tasked with redrawing the Congressional lines to reflect eight districts.

The House passed a compromise version of the map by a vote of 96-55, and the Senate passed the same version 27-7. The bill, HB 193, was delivered to the Governor on April 27, where he has 15 days to sign or veto it. If he vetoes the bill, the General Assembly can attempt to override the veto before the end of the legislative session on May 13. If lawmakers are unable to override a veto, a federal court would be responsible for drawing Missouri’s new eight Congressional districts. Below is the map that was agreed upon by lawmakers, but to see specifically where the lines are, refer to the Missouri House of Representatives’ map.

MU Extension delegation visits with Missouri’s D.C. delegation

Five regional faculty members, two extension council volunteers and several 4-H’ers visited with Missouri’s U.S. Senators and Congressional members in Washington, D.C., on April 6, as part of the National Extension Leadership Development conference, sponsored by the national extension professional associations.

The emphasis at the conference was on public issue framing, federal program priorities, budget process, and support of land-grant and extension programs through the USDA budget.  Participants met with the National Association of Counties staff and  visited with officials at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Above (left to right): Amie Schleicher, Northwest Region livestock specialist; Teresa Bishop, MU 4-H Center youth program coordinator; Tish Johnson, East Central community development specialist; Kay Sparks, Central Missouri 4-H youth specialist; Andrew Fisher, Pike County 4-H member; Senator Claire McCaskill; Lorna Dreyer, Warren County 4-H member; John Grissom, Chair of the St. Louis County Extension Council; and Dave Baker, Assistant Dean, CAFNR

Legislators honored by University of Missouri’s Graduate-Professional Council

In honor of graduate education week last week, the University of Missouri’s Graduate-Professional Council honored several state legislators who have been strong supporters of graduate education. The students hosted a reception for the honorees on the MU campus  April 21.  This year’s honorees included Senator Maria Chapelle-Nadal (D-St. Louis), Senator Dan Brown (R-Rolla), Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville),  Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), Rep. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City), Rep. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur), and Rep. Ray Weter (R-Nixa).

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