January 13, 2012

Governor to deliver State of the State Budget address Tuesday

Governor Jay Nixon will deliver the annual State of the State address during a televised joint session of the Missouri General Assembly beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 17, from the House of Representatives Chamber.  Governor Nixon will outline his legislative priorities for the coming year and release details of his proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

The University of Missouri System will learn what the Governor is proposing for its operating budget, as well as University-related budget lines. Nixon’s recommendations for scholarship programs will also be revealed.

The Governor is airing the address live on the Official State website, to bookmark the page, click here.

Legislators introduce higher ed capital bills

Senator Tim Green (D-St. Louis) introduced SB 655 on January 12. The bill would create a Higher Education Capital Fund for the General Assembly to appropriate matching funds to public state universities or colleges for capital projects.

In order to receive the matching funds, a university or college must raise 50 percent of the cost of the capital project from private donations or grants. The General Assembly may then appropriate the remaining 50 percent. Institutions may not use operating budget funds, tuition, fees, or bond revenues to raise their portion of the capital project’s cost.

Also dealing with capital funding is HJR 57, introduced on January 12, by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia). The resolution proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the General Assembly to issue bonds to fund higher education improvements, construction, landscaping, and land purchases. Similar legislation has been introduced the past three years.

House budget committee hears new budget proposal

Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield) presented HJR 43, which proposes a constitutional amendment that would place certain limitations on state appropriations, to the House Budget committee on January 11. Provisions of the resolution would not apply until state revenues appropriated reach fiscal year 2008 levels. After reaching the growth target, specified percentages of additional monies would be directed to debt reduction, a budget reserve fund, and a cash operating fund. Should growth continue above specified amounts, a percentage of the growth would be returned to taxpayers.

If approved by the General Assembly, the resolution will be placed on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval. The resolution was voted out of committee and passed the Rules committee. It is now on the House formal perfection calendar, in line for floor debate.

Senate Education Committee considers legislation related to remedial education, course transfer

A bill to encourage improvements in remedial education and course transfer was taken up before the Senate Education Committee on January 11. SB 455, sponsored by committee chairman David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), called for development of best practices in remedial education and encouraged the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to work with the Committee on Transfer and Articulation (COTA) to develop a course transfer library of at least 25 lower division courses that are transferable among all public higher education institutions by 2014.

Testifying in support of the bill were the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City, and the Commissioner of Higher Education. The committee took no action on the bill. A companion bill, HB 1042, was introduced by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) in the House.

Curator Appointee Craig Van Matre to receive Senate confirmation hearing

The Senate Gubernatorial Appointments committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Craig Van Matre on January 18.  Van Matre was appointed by Governor Nixon to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators when the legislature was not in session and must receive confirmation by the full Senate now that the legislative session has convened. The University is also awaiting confirmation hearings for Board appointee Pam Henrickson and the new student curator appointee, Amy Johnson.

Elected officials visit campuses

Representative Clem Smith (D-St. Louis) is shown in the biology lab in Benton-Stadler Hall with James Carroll and Doug Hammerstroem, Teaching Assistants in the UMSL Chemistry Department. 
From left to right: Representative Stephen Webber (D-Columbia) and Representative Caleb Jones (R-California) at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce legislative reception on January 12. Photo courtesy of Wally Pfeffer.
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