The legislative session ended on Friday, May 13. You may recall that we started the year with three legislative priorities. I am happy to report that we made significant progress toward accomplishing all three of our priorities.
Legislative session successful for MSU
Our first priority was to increase Missouri State’s operating appropriation by six percent ($5.2 million). If the legislature increased the operating appropriation by six percent, we committed to spend one-sixth of the new money to expand our collaborative engineering program with Missouri S&T to include mechanical engineering.
The legislature appropriated Missouri State an operating appropriation increase of more than $3.8 million. The legislature also appropriated a $1 million line item to Missouri State for the collaborative engineering program with Missouri S&T.
Accordingly, Missouri State added a total of more than $4.8 million in operating appropriations this year. This is a 5.6 percent increase to Missouri State’s total operating appropriations. Missouri State’s operating appropriation for the coming fiscal year will be the highest that it has ever been.
Glass Hall, occupational therapy funded
Our second priority was to obtain a $5 million appropriation in matching capital funds for the Glass Hall project. The legislature passed a capital improvement bill that appropriated $7 million for new capital projects at Missouri State—including $5 million for the Glass Hall project.
We also accomplished our third priority for the year by having our $1.3 million occupational therapy line-item appropriation combined into a single line item within Missouri’s State’s operating appropriation. This is a cost neutral move. But we believe this accounting change will help secure the line item from vetoes and withholds in future years. It also allows future performance funding increases to be calculated on the $1.3 million occupational therapy appropriation.
We worked on several other legislative issues this year. We supported legislation that would have allowed Missouri State University greater flexibility to offer professional and doctoral degree programs. While this legislation did not pass, it started a conversation about the issue which resulted in a directive to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to work with the higher education community in Missouri and propose a solution to the General Assembly. We are hopeful that we will obtain additional flexibility for professional and graduate degree programs through legislative or non-legislative solutions in the not too distant future.
We opposed legislation that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms on university campuses. The General Assembly did not pass this legislation this year.
Success due to legislative support of Missouri State
All of our southwest Missouri legislators played important roles in this year’s legislative successes. I want to thank several individual legislators who played especially critical roles:
- Ron Richard
- Jay Wasson
- Kurt Schaefer
- Mike Cunningham
- Mike Parson
- David Sater
- Eric Schmitt
- Todd Richardson
- Kevin Austin
- Tom Flanigan
- Scott Fitzpatrick
- Lincoln Hough
- Eric Burlison
- Jeff Messenger
- Jered Taylor
University weighing options for revised Fair Labor Standards Act
We are also evaluating various issues working through the federal government in Washington D.C. One such issue is the Fair Labor Standards Act changes that came out last week. We are reviewing the final rule and its impact on Missouri State employees. We know we have a number of employees who will be affected by this change. We will be evaluating all options available to us to determine how we will incorporate the new rule at the university. It is a priority for us and we’ll be ready for the Dec. 1 implementation date for the changes, assuming Congress doesn’t intervene.
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