Budget committee hears bonding resolution
On March 28, the House Budget Committee heard HJR 57, sponsored by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia). The resolution would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would authorize the General Assembly to issue up to $800 million in bonds to provide funding for the construction of state facilities and projects, primarily for higher education. Nikki Krawitz, Vice President of Finance and Administration for the UM System, testified in support of the resolution, noting that the University of Missouri has a deferred backlog of over $1 billion for maintenance and repair of UM facilities. Also testifying on behalf of the resolution was Wally Pfeffer, Chair of the Mizzou Legislative Network of the Mizzou Alumni Association. The committee did not take any action on the bill.
In other capital funding news, a bill that will create a Higher Education Capital Fund to enable 50/50 funding partnerships between the state and higher education institutions is moving through the House. SB 655, sponsored by Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis) was referred to the House Higher Education committee this week and the Chair plans to hold a hearing on the bill on April 3rd.
Finally, the Senate Appropriations committee will begin its review of the FY 2013 budget bills early next week. All budget bills must be passed by May 11th, one week before the General Assembly adjourns the regular legislative session.
Committees consider MU Extension legislation
Bills to allow MU Extension to establish single or multi-county districts to support local programming were heard before Senate and House committees this week. SB 865, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) was heard before the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee on March 28. Representatives of University Extension, the Mizzou Alumni Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Association of Counties, and the Missouri Cattleman’s Association testified in support of the bill.
Companion legislation was heard in the House on March 27. HB 1895, sponsored by Rep. Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown) was presented before the House Agriculture Policy Committee. The committees did not take any action on the bills.
Above: Sen. David Pearce (left) with MU Vice Provost for Extension Michael Ouart (right) during the committee hearing on Senate Bill 865.
House Higher Education committee approves omnibus bill, other legislation
The House Higher Education Committee took up and passed a committee substitute to SB 455 on March 27. Sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), the bill encourages best remediation practices, establishment of a core transfer library of courses, and also contains language related to proprietary schools.
The Committee also took up and passed a committee substitute for HB 1855, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) that establishes the Missouri Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative.
During the hearing, the committee also considered HB 1918, sponsored by Rep. Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff). The bill, which relates to community college course delivery, was opposed by the Council on Public Higher Education and several four-year institutions. The bill was not voted on by the committee.
Governor Nixon releases $1.1 million to UM, UM creates 56 need-based scholarships
On March 26, Governor Nixon released $1.1 million in funds to UM from lottery proceeds. UM announced that the funds will be used to create an additional need-based student scholarship fund. The fund will support 56 endowments worth $40,000 each to create $2,000 scholarships for needy students. Every $40,000 endowment will be comprised of $20,000 respectively from the state and the UM System.
For the full UM System press release on the scholarships, click here.
Candidate filing closes this week for new House, Senate districts and statewide offices
After weeks of redistricting proposals, court challenges and uncertainty about boundaries for new House and Senate districts, the candidate list for the August primaries was finalized this week. Voters will consider candidates in the state’s eight congressional districts, five of the six statewide offices, 18 of the state’s 34 Senate districts, and all 163 house districts. A full list of candidates can be seen on the Secretary of State’s site here.
Congressional and statewide races:
Candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer and Attorney General all feature the current office holder, and all face opposition in the primary election, general election, or both. Only one statewide officeholder race does not feature the incumbent, as Sec. of State Robin Carnahan is not seeking re-election. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is seeking another term but will face the winner of an eight-way primary for the Republican slot. Seven of the eight Congressional district races include an incumbent, although in some cases they are running for different district numbers due to redrawing of the boundaries and the loss of one Congressional district. Two incumbents, Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay, will face-off for the newly drawn first district in St. Louis. The only Congressional seat in which an incumbent is not running for reelection is the second district, located in the St. Louis area, currently held by Congressman Todd Akin.
For 2013, the Senate will see at least 10 new faces. Seven current senators are running for re-election. Four incumbent senators face opposition: Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis), Robin Wright Jones (D-St. Louis), Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), and David Pearce (R-Warrensburg). The Senate will welcome former House minority leader Paul LeVota in the 11th district as he faces no opponent in the fall. The Senate will elect a new President Pro-Tem as current leader Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) is term limited. The Senate will bid farewell to seven other current members who are term limited. They include Victor Callahan (D-Independence), Tim Green (D-St. Louis), Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau), Kevin Engler (R-Farmington), Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield), Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville), Bill Stouffer (R-Napton), and Jack Goodman (R-
State House of Representatives:
The House will welcome at least 42 new faces in 2013. A total of 25 current members are term-limited, and four seats will see current incumbents squaring off against each other due to new district boundary lines. There will be 83 House incumbents running for another term this fall, and 38 of them face no opposition. The House will be electing a new leader as Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) is term limited. Full details of these races can been viewed on the Secretary of State’s web site at the link above.