House Budget committee to review budget bills
Beginning on March 5th, the House Budget committee is scheduled to consider the House Committee Substitutes for all of the budget bills. Chairman Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) submitted his version of the budget bills on March 1st. In the committee substitute for HB 2003, which contains the higher education budget, the Chair is recommending funding for all public 2- and 4-year institutions at their FY 2012 levels. Under this version of the plan, the University of Missouri System would receive $398.2 million.
In other budget news this week, Governor Nixon announced that he would release $2.3 million for current year university and community college operating appropriations. The funds are being released because lottery receipts are ahead of estimates for the year.
Finally, the Missouri Office of Administration released the February 2012 general revenue collections. Year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 2.4 percent compared to 2011 and net general revenue collections for February 2012 increased by 15.1 percent compared to those for February 2011.
Higher ed capital funding bill passes Senate
On March 1st, the Senate passed SB 655, sponsored by Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis). The bill creates a higher education capital fund in which the state may appropriate 50 percent of the cost of a capital project when a higher education institution raises 50 percent of the cost through private means. The bill will now move to the House for consideration. The companion bill currently in the House is HB 1502, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Jones (R-California).
Lawmakers hear bills to replace current Board of Curator member with a voting student
Several bills have been filed in the House and Senate this year that would replace one of the nine members of the Board of Curators with a voting student. The House Higher Education Committee heard HB 1257, sponsored by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), and HB 1587, sponsored by Rep. Zachary Wyatt (R-Kirksville), on February 28. The committee plans to hear another bill, HB 1353, sponsored by Rep. Jill Schupp (D-St. Louis) on March 6.
SB 747, a similar bill in the Senate sponsored by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), will be heard March 5 before the Senate Financial and Governmental Organizations Committee.
The proposals are being promoted by the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) with support from several campus student organizations. In the past, the Board of Curators has taken a position in opposition to the concept. A letter opposing this year’s bills was provided to committee members from Board of Curators Chairman David Bradley. To see the letter go here.
House bill would encourage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs
HB 1855, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) was introduced this week to encourage more students to consider fields of study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It also establishes a STEM initiative in the Department of Higher Education and a fund that could be used to hire faculty, equip laborabories, and provide scholarships. The bill provides a tax credit to businesses who hire students as interns in STEM fields, applying the tax credit revenue to the STEM fund.
The bill is scheduled to be heard before the House Higher Education Committee on March 6. Similar legislation was introduced the previous two years and supported by the University of Missouri.
UM students participate in Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol
Legislators had the opportunity to learn about research that undergraduates are conducting on the four campuses of the University of Missouri during Undergraduate Research Day on Thursday, March 1. A total of 46 students from the campuses, along with several faculty members and parents, spent the day meeting with lawmakers and showcasing the undergraduate experiences they receive at MU, Missouri S&T, UMKC and UMSL.
The group was introduced before the House of Representatives and the Senate, and several of the students received special proclamations from their legislators. UM President Tim Wolfe spent part of the morning with the students, listening to their summaries of research and asking questions. For additional photos of the event, click here.