2015 State Relations updates
Lawmakers ended the regular session Thursday and adjourned for spring break. Most will head back to their home districts before returning to Topeka in late April for the wrap-up session.
This past Wednesday, the Senate passed a Mega budget bill that changed what was a proposed $4.7 million annual redistribution from KU-Lawrence to KU Medical Center into an outright cut to the Lawrence campus, while leaving the medical center budget untouched.
It’s been another busy week in Topeka for the University of Kansas. Thursday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee finalized its Mega appropriations bill, which includes recommendations on higher education funding. The measure is now ready for debate on the Senate floor, likely next week.
Earlier this week, the Kansas Board of Regents joined us in opposing the proposed redistribution and issued a statement urging legislators to support the Governor's Budget Recommendations for higher education in FY2016 and FY2017 -- which is to say, stable and flat funding. The Regents statement was crafted with assistance from government affairs staff from all the Regents universities and is intended to help us all speak with one voice on behalf of higher education for the remainder of the Legislative session.
Yesterday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee endorsed a recommendation taking $4.7 million from the Lawrence campus and redistributing it to KU Medical Center, most of which would go to the KU School of Medicine-Wichita, for each of the next two fiscal years. The Senate will revisit the proposal later in the session.
It was another busy week in Topeka for the University of Kansas, as university leaders made budget presentations to the Senate Ways & Means Subcommittee on Education. We also saw some encouraging news from the House regarding higher education funding, and positive developments related to a pair of important campus improvement projects.
State funding for the University of Kansas remains below pre-recession levels, and when adjusted for inflation has steadily declined. These charts show the history of state funding for the university in actual and inflation-adjusted dollars, as well as per-student funding adjusted for inflation, from FY 1999 to FY 2015. (Originally posted 08/05/13; Updated 05/14/14 and 02/20/15)
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor Douglas Girod both testified to the House Education Budget Committee and Senate Ways & Means Subcommittee on Education during the committees' hearings on universities in the Board of Regents system. Gray-Little's testimony highlighted the return on Kansans' investment that comes from the education, research, and job creation at the university, while Girod's testimony focused on the medical center's unique role in the state.
KU is half way through our budget presentations. The Chancellor presented to the House Education Budget Committee this week and the presentation was very well received. There seems to be interest in the overall mission of the university and our vision for the future. As the presentations from other institutions continue, there is still not a clear picture of the overall revenue and expenditure plan for the FY 2016 and FY 2017 budgets. The recommendations from the subcommittees will be made next week and may glean additional evidence for the plan going forward.
Most of this week's focus was on the rescission bill. The bill was originally introduced by the Governor and was tweaked by the House Appropriations Committee on Monday before being passed by the Senate with no changes.
Work continued on the Governor’s rescission bill this week.
The second week of the 2015 Legislative Session was a short one, and we had some big things happening on campus! With the President’s visit this week, the university hosted several legislators and state leaders on campus.
The first week of the 2015 Legislative Session has concluded. Committees this week primarily had introductions and outlined the rules for their committee. There were a few informational presentations from cabinet agencies and legislative research.
The 2015 Session of the Kansas Legislature began today with the formal swearing-in ceremonies for the newly elected House of Representatives members and state-wide office holders.