UM students, alumni, and leadership gather at State Capitol for 39th annual Legislative Day
The Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension hosted the 39th annual University of Missouri Legislative Day at the Capitol on April 3. Campuses and Extension featured displays on the third floor and participants visited legislators to discuss the University’s legislative and budget priorities. A rally was held in the first floor rotunda, where Speaker Tim Jones received a Presidential Citation award and addressed more than 400 attendees. President Tim Wolfe also spoke at the rally, noting the impact our alumni and Extension members have across the state. To see his remarks, click here.
The Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension is a group of 40 members from all four of the University of Missouri campuses and Extension. The group was created by the Board of Curators in 1969 to foster cooperation and communication among the system campuses and to help university advocates speak with one voice when delivering messages to legislators, community leaders, and the public. MU Extension was added to the Alliance in 1994.
To see the press release UM issued about the event, click here.From left to right: Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl Schrader, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, UMSL Chancellor Tom George, and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton following the UM Rally on Legislative Day. From left to right: MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, Alumni Alliance member Tim Boyle, and Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia). UMKC supporters gather at Legislative Day. Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl Schrader speaks at the Capitol.
To see additional photos from the event, click here.
Bonding resolution advances through House
House Joint Resolution 14, sponsored by Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka), was unanimously voted out of the House Budget Committee on April 3. The bill was heard and voted do pass by the House Rules Committee on April 4. The next step for the resolution will be debate on the House floor.
The Appropriations – Infrastructure and Job Creation Committee, to which HJR 14 was originally assigned, also met this week to discuss draft resolutions that outline the capital projects that will be funded if voters approve the measure. The draft resolution contains higher education projects, including UM’s top priorities on each campus. The committee did not take any action on the resolution, electing to meet again for further discussion.
In other budget news, the FY 14 appropriations bills are scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee beginning on April 9. Additionally, March state general revenue collections have been released. March 2013 collections increased by 4.6 percent over March 2012, and year-to-date revenue collections increased by 8.3 percent as compared to last year at this time.
Extension legislation moving through committees
Legislation to enable MU Extension to form single- or multi-county districts to streamline programming and provide additional local funding options took a step forward in the Senate this week when House Bill 202 was heard before the Senate Education Committee on April 2. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) has already passed the House. The committee plans to vote on a substitute version of the bill on April 10 to make it identical to Senate Bill 9, which has already been passed by the Senate and includes an amendment to exempt St. Louis County from the districting option due to concerns raised by several St. Louis-area senators about expanding taxing authority.
Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), is also slated to be heard before the House Agri-Business Committee on April 9. This will position both Extension bills for floor consideration by the end of the month.
Chambers consider bills related to veteran residency status and transfer of credits
Veterans wishing to complete post-secondary education would benefit from several bills making their way through the General Assembly. Senate Bill 117, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, (R-Lee’s Summit), and House Bill 168, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Davis (R-Webb City), would both allow veterans who are not residents of Missouri to attend public institutions of higher education at in-state resident fees. Senate Bill 117 has passed the Senate and was approved by the House Veterans Committee this week. House Bill 168 passed the House this week and has been reported to the Senate. The bills do require that veterans be physically present in Missouri to qualify.
Both chambers are also considering bills to improve the process of transferring military training credits to institutions of higher education. House Bill 114, also sponsored by Rep. Davis, has been approved by his committee and is awaiting floor consideration in the House. The Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 106, sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla), has passed the Senate and was approved by the House Veterans Committee this week. The University of Missouri System provided suggestions to clarify how credits would be considered by faculty or departments at the receiving institution, and that language has been incorporated into the bills.
House panel mulls major tax overhaul plan
Last month, senators adopted a sweeping tax bill that would lower individual income and corporate taxes, increase the state sales tax over five years, and make several other modifications in tax law. Senate Bill 26, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit), has been passed by the Senate and was considered by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 2. The committee took no action on the bill.
Lawmakers cited recent tax cut legislation in Kansas for the reason behind the major changes. Many education-related groups in Missouri, including the Council on Public Higher Education, which represents the public four-year institutions in the state, have raised concerns about the revenue receipt reductions that are anticipated if the bill becomes law. Fiscal notes estimate the legislation could result in $470 million to $1 billion in reduced revenue to the state. Services such as K-12 education and higher education could face cuts if revenue growth is impeded.
Committee votes on Medicaid bill
On April 3, The House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability passed a Medicaid expansion proposal sponsored by its chairman, Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City). House Bill 700 would establish the Show-Me Transformation Act and would change the laws regarding MO HealthNet, which is Missouri’s Medicaid program. The Rules Committee also passed the bill this week, and the next step will be debate on the House floor.
In related news, administrators from MU Health Care met with Columbia-area legislators to discuss Medicaid expansion and to review the needs of the University’s health care facilities.
UM System President Tim Wolfe also addressed Medicaid expansion in his comments to Legislative Day attendees on April 3. “The University serves the state through its many health care facilities, all of which serve the Medicaid population. I urge state leaders to work together and move forward on a plan for Medicaid expansion in Missouri. With much at stake for patients, employers, and their communities, I speak for all our University representatives and remain optimistic that partisan politics will not hinder our ability to find a balanced solution that meets the needs and values of all Missourians.”
UMSL Chancellor Tom George co-hosts St. Louis Regional Chamber Legislative Breakfast
University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George co-hosted the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast in Jefferson City on March 27.