August 25, 2011

Governor calls lawmakers back for Special Session September 6

Governor Jay Nixon has called Senators and Representatives back to Jefferson City for a special legislative session that is to begin Tuesday, September 6 to consider a series of proposals including an economic development package aimed at creating more jobs. Lawmakers were already planning to return for the annual Veto Session the following week, September 14.

The Governor has the authority to call lawmakers back to consider a narrow list of items outlined in the Governor’s call. To see the official document, click here

Of interest to the University of Missouri System, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA, would create a pool of funding to support life sciences and research investments across the state. MOSIRA has been a proposal before lawmakers the past two years but was part of an economic development package that died in the final days of the last legislative session. 

MOSIRA would capture a small percentage of new growth in gross wages generated by employees working in Missouri within designated science and innovation fields, and reinvest those funds to create, attract, retain and grow science and innovation companies in Missouri. It is supported by leaders in both chambers as well as the Governor.  MOSIRA has been a priority for the University of Missouri System for the past two years.

The Governor set November 8 as the date of special elections to fill four vacancies in the Missouri House of Representatives. To see the vacancy information click here.

Nixon appoints Craig Van Matre, Pamela Henrickson to UM Board of Curators

Governor Nixon appointed Craig Van Matre to the Board of Curators on June 2nd. Van Matre had been previously appointed in January, but he could not begin serving until the Senate confirmed him.

Before concluding the legislative session, Governor Nixon withdrew his name thereby allowing him to renominate Van Matre to serve on the Board of Curators. Van Matre will represent the Ninth Congressional District for a term ending on January 1, 2013. Van Matre will begin serving immediately. Van Matre has a bachelors and law degree from MU and is president of the law firm Van Matre, Harrison, Hollis, Pitzer & Taylor. For Van Matre’s full appointment information, click here.

On August 19th, Nixon appointed Pamela Henrickson to the Board of Curators. Henrickson replaces Doug Russell, who represented the 4th Congressional district. Henrickson is a partner in the law firm Goller, Frederick, and Henrickson. From 1986 to 2002, she was assistant director and general counsel to the Missouri Division of Design and Construction.

Henrickson holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law. Henrickson will begin serving immediately, but is subject to Senate approval. For the full press announcement from Gov. Nixon, click here.

Speaker attends UMSL Friends of College of Optometry Reception

From left to right: Larry Davis, Dean of the College of Optometry, Speaker Steve Tilley, and UMSL Chancellor Tom George at a reception for friends of the UMSL College of Optometry on August 23, 2011.

Field Days showcase University research, outreach

Each year, the University of Missouri’s Agriculture Experiment Stations across the state hold field days to provide farmers and other citizens the opportunity to ask questions and learn about advances made by University researchers.  Many legislators attend the field days to meet with constituents and learn more about the University’s outreach efforts.

The Greenley Center in Novelty, Missouri held a field day August 9. Legislators participating included Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-Clarence), and Reps. John Cauthorn (R-Mexico), Tom Shively (D-Shelbyville), Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City) and Craig Redmon (R-Canton)

The Graves-Chapple Farm in Rock Port, Missouri held a field day August 23 and the Hundley-Whaley Farm in Albany, Missouri held a field day Wednesday, August 24. For photos of the events, click here.

Legislators participating in the northwest Missouri events included Sen. Brad Lager (R-Savannah), and Reps. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), Glen Klippenstein (R-Maysville), and Tom Shively (D-Shelbyville).

The next major field day will be September 2nd at the Delta Center in Portageville, MO. The Delta Center will be celebrating two milestones September 2: the 50th field day at the center, and the retirement of longtime superintendent Thomas “Jake” Fisher, who begin working at the center when it was just a greenhouse in 1961.

Additional field days are scheduled for September 9 at the Southwest Center in Mt. Vernon; September 21 at the Thompson Farm in Spickard; September 29 at the Forage Systems Research Center in Linneus; and October 7 at the Wurdack Farm at Cook Station.

Legislators visit Mizzou as part of MOBIO tour

A dozen Missouri legislators traveling across the state as part of the 2011 MOBIO benchmarking tour visited Mizzou on July 12 to meet with researchers and tour facilities showcasing the University’s research mission.

Legislators toured MU’s Life Sciences Business Incubator at Monsanto Place, visited the MU Research Reactor, learned about the animal-human research model at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute, and toured the Bond Life Sciences Center.

Participants included Senators Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis), Tim Green (D-St. Louis) and Brian Munzlinger, (R-Williamstown) and Representatives T.J. Berry (R-Kearney), Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit) Sandy Crawford (R-Buffalo) Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany), Glen Klippenstein (R-Maysville), Mike McGhee (R-Odessa), Shelia Solon (R-Blue Springs), Clem Smith (D-St. Louis), and Noel Torpey (R-Independence).

Legislators participate in Mizzou Update alumni events in St. Louis, Kansas City

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and other university leaders visited Kansas City and St. Louis this summer to showcase research efforts that are part of the Mizzou Advantage research priority process to audiences that included legislators and alumni. A Mizzou Update reception was held July 27 at 90 Degrees West in St. Louis. Legislators attending included Senator Brian Nieves (R-Washington), and Reps. Marsha Haefner (R-St. Louis), Karla May (D-St. Louis), and Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis).

Kansas City area alumni and legislators participated in a similar event Thursday, June 9. Legislators attending included Reps. Gary Cross (R-Lee’s Summit), and Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs).

For photos of the event, click here.

MU Extension hosts panel regarding flooding in Northeast Missouri

MU Extension and the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers hosted a town hall meeting in Parkville on June 30 on flood disaster preparedness. The town hall was hosted by Rep. Ron Schieber (R-Kansas City).

The meeting brought together assistance providers and business owners to provide awareness of services and share concerns related to potential flooding.

Town Hall organizer Rep. Ron Schieber (above), Rep. Nick Marshall (R-Parkville), and Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) were among the legislators in attendance at the town hall meeting.

House and Senate Apportionment Commissions meet at UMSL

The Missouri House and Senate Apportionment Commissions held a hearing at UMSL May 25.The commissions took testimony about redrawing House and Senate district boundary lines in the state. The hearings were the last of four held around the state. Because the commissions did not agree on tentative district lines by the August 18th deadline, a panel of appellate judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court will draw the maps.

Former Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell (left) and Ann Wagner (right), former chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, confer before a public hearing of the Missouri House Apportionment Commission.

Federal Relations Update

On August 2, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act into law after House and Senate leaders agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for agreed-upon spending cuts. The first savings will be realized from statutory caps on discretionary spending for FY 12 through FY 2021. This is expected to reduce the deficit by $917 billion over the 10-year period.

To increase the debt ceiling further, a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was formed to identify additional cuts. If the cuts they identify are not passed and signed into law by December 23, automatic discretionary cuts would begin. Also in the agreement is a guaranteed vote in the Congress on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution.

Relating to higher education, the agreement signed into law provides an additional $17 billion in supplemental funding for the Pell Grant Program for academic years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. This was an effort to keep the maximum award at $5,550 per year.

While the Pell Grant Program should see consistent funding for the next few years, the Congress and the President eliminated subsidized graduate student loans, beginning July 1, 2012. Created for low-income graduate students, interest on those student loans would not begin accruing until six-months after graduation. With the elimination of this government subsidized program, interest on these student loans will begin to accrue immediately. The interest rate for these student loans are 6.8%. This will cost students and families $21.6 billion in interest over the next 10 years according to the American Council on Education.

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