House passes budget bills
On March 22, the House of Representatives gave final approval to all thirteen bills recommending fiscal year 2013 funding for the various state departments. In HB2003, the higher education appropriations bill, the House approved the committee version of the bill, which restores all 2- and 4-year public higher education institutions to their FY12 levels.
Under this plan, the University of Missouri would receive $397.9 million. Specific to UM, the bill also contains level funding for all of its University of Missouri – Related items, such as the Missouri Kidney Program and the State Historical Society, among others. The bill also includes $1.5 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Fund, representing an increase of $875,000 from its FY12 appropriation. This increase will allow more research projects to be awarded at an adequate level of funding. Finally, $1.3 million was added to the UM-Related items for the Missouri Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, which is affiliated with MU Extension.
The bills will now move to the Senate. The FY13 budget must be passed by 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 11, one week prior to the end of the legislative session.
Capital funding bills move forward
The House Higher Education committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), passed HB1502 on March 20. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Jones (R-California), creates a Higher Education Capital Fund to receive matching funds to public colleges and universities for new construction, maintenance, and renovation. When a college or university raises 50 percent of the cost of a project through private donations or grants, it may request funding from the state for the remaining 50 percent. A companion bill, SB655 sponsored by Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis) has already passed the Senate and is awaiting a committee referral in the House.
Senate, House Committees prepare to hear bills to allow for University Extension districts
Bills to provide MU Extension with the option of forming local districts to increase efficiencies and better serve local needs will be heard before Senate and House Committees next week.
SB865, sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), will be heard March 28 before the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee. HB1895, sponsored by Rep. Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown), will be heard March 27 before the House Agriculture Policy Committee. The bills are identical.
The proposed legislation will allow a county or group of counties to form a local Extension district to better provide for local programming needs. The districts also would have the ability to place local property tax levies on the ballot to support local Extension programming.
UM President Tim Wolfe visits Congressional delegation
In early March, UM President Tim Wolfe visited each of Missouri’s Congressional members in Washington D.C. The visit was President Wolfe’s first since beginning his appointment as President in mid-February. The visit also included meetings with Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities (AAU), and Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
Senator Blunt receives award from CARET
On February 29, representatives from MU Extension presented Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) with the Congressional Champions’ Award from the Council on Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET). The Congressional Champions’ Award is presented to individuals who demonstrate steadfast commitment to the agricultural programs of the nation’s land-grant universities. Blunt has supported the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension throughout his career.
Above from left: Sandy Stegall, MU Extension coordinator of constituent communications; Thomas Brown, farmer and volunteer spokesperson for Lincoln University; Michael Ouart, MU vice provost and director of extension; Sen. Roy Blunt; Steve Meredith, dean, Lincoln University College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences; and Beverly Coberly, MU Extension associate vice provost for programs.
Legislative Day reminder
UM Legislative Day, sponsored by the Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension will be April 3. In addition to showcasing each campus’ strengths in the 3rd floor rotunda, a rally in the first floor rotunda will begin at 9:30AM. All university supporters are encouraged to attend. For specific details on each campus’ activities, please contact the Alumni Association Directors at each campus.