Senate committee reviews FY 2012 appropriations bills
This week, the Senate Appropriations committee, chaired by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), conducted its first review of the FY 2012 budget bills. In HB 3 , the higher education appropriation bill, the committee has made its decision on recommendations for a number of items. However a few questions, including the core appropriations for all of the four-year institutions, remain open for discussion next week.
Next week, the Senate committee will conduct a final review and vote the bills out of committee. The FY12 budget must be passed by 6:00 p.m. on May 6th.
Curator selection bills both one step closer to passage
Bills to modify the process used to appoint curators after the state’s loss of a congressional district took more steps toward passage this week in both the House and the Senate. TUpon redistricting, the bills would allow the governor to appoint “at least one but no more than two” curators from each of the state’s eight congressional districts, keeping the overall size of the board at nine, as defined in the constitution.
HB 174 , sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), has passed the House and was approved April 6 by the Senate Education Committee. The bill is on the Third Read calendar in the Senate for one final vote.
SB 163 , sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) already passed the Senate and was heard before the House higher education committee on April 5. It is expected to be voted on during an executive session of the committee April 12. From there, the bill will have to go through the House Rules committee before being placed on the House calendar for floor debate.
During the House Higher Education committee meeting April 5, lawmakers also heard testimony on three other bills related to curator selection. These included HB 243 , sponsored by Rep. Mary Still, (D-Columbia); and HB 848 , sponsored by Rep. Paul Fitzwater, (R-Potosi); both of which would make the ninth curator a voting student; and HB 494 , sponsored by Rep. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur), that would add language that the Governor “may” appoint a student to the Board. No vote was taken on any of those bills.
Senate confirms David Steward to the UM Board of Curators
On April 7, David Steward  was confirmed as the newest member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators by the Missouri Senate. Steward is the chairman of World Wide Technologies, a leading provider of technology products, services, and supply chain solutions in both a national and international setting.
Steward’s confirmation hearing before the Gubernatorial Appointments Committee was on April 6. Steward will replace Curator Emeritus David Wasinger, representing Missouri’s 2nd Congressional district. Steward will begin serving on the Board of Curators immediately.
Former Senator Kit Bond among dignitaries on hand at MU to announce Confucius Institute
University of Missouri officials and dignitaries from China gathered in Columbia on April 8 to announce the opening of the Confucius Institute at MU. The institute is a platform to promote greater understanding between Missouri and China through Chinese language teaching and learning, resident Chinese teacher preparation, Missouri-China business relationships, and research on issues of mutual interest.
Former U.S. Senator Kit Bond joined MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, Deputy Consul General Kun Lu, and Shanghai Normal University President Jin Li along with several other officials to launch the institute during a ceremony Friday afternoon.
For information, visit the MU Confucius Institute .
Representative Karla May (right) (D-St. Louis) and Dr. Anne Deaton (left) visit during a breakfast hosted April 8 by Chancellor Deaton to celebrate the MU Confucius Institute. Other officials attending included Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) and David Kerr, Director of the Department of Economic Development.
Senate committee and the House pass Congressional redistricting legislation
As reflected in the 2010 Census, Missouri’s population growth rate from 2000-2010 will result in the loss of one of Missouri’s 9 Congressional districts. The legislature must develop a plan for how new district boundaries will be drawn and versions are making their way through the process. The Senate’s Congressional redistricting plan, SB 264 , sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville) passed the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting on April 4. Their version can be found here . The bill is awaiting floor debate.
The House gave final approval by a vote of 106-53 to their redistricting plan, HB 193 , sponsored by Rep. John Diehl (R-Town & Country). House members rejected three attempts to change the new congressional districts from the committee-approved plan. The official map can be found here  and a county-by-county map can be found here .
The U.S. House and Senate are attempting to come to a compromise on the rest of fiscal year 2011 spending. Thus far, they have passed 6 continuing resolutions to fund the federal government through the end of FY 2011, which ends on September 30.
The current continuing resolution is set to expire tonight, April 8, at midnight. If an agreement isn’t reached, a partial federal government shutdown will occur until an agreement or continuing resolution extension is passed. President Obama has met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) multiple times throughout the week to negotiate a compromise. The House has passed a week-long extension, while funding the Department of Defense through the end of the year. President Obama has threatened to veto this bill. The Senate is expected to vote on a week-long continuing resolution today.
The two sides have agreed to cut approximately $38 billion from the current budget, but they have not yet come to an agreement over federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, among other policy issues.