Missouri college athletes to be able to profit from name, likeness under House bill

      Student athletes in Missouri colleges and universities can now profit off of their name, image, and likeness and hire an agent, under House legislation that has been signed into law.  The change would be effective beginning July 1 of next year and comes after the NCAA adopted a new policy on the matter.

Representative Nick Schroer (Photo: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communciations)

      Representative Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) was one sponsor of a proposal on the subject.  He said even before other states began passing such legislation, he saw it as an issue of freedom.

      He said students who weren’t athletes could make money, especially on social media, or sign endorsements.  This included anything from teaching piano lessons for pay to having a popular YouTube channel on a subject that could have nothing to do with what they were studying.

      “However if you’re a student athlete, the walls of liberty are blocked off, and for me it wasn’t fair.  Our free market should be something that everyone can take advantage of in our state and across the nation.  That was the biggest compelling point for me,” said Schroer.

      Representative Wes Rogers (D-Kansas City) agreed with that and other points, and noted that as long as Missouri didn’t have this kind of law its institutions were at a disadvantage in recruiting, to counterparts in other states.

      “We’re seeing that,” said Rogers.  “I represent parts of Kansas City and they didn’t do it in Kansas and they’re worried about us, and so absolutely it’s going to help.  Every state [with an SEC school that Mizzou plays against] have passed this, so if we didn’t pass it we would fall even further behind.”

      Rogers said this wasn’t just an issue for football and basketball programs in major schools.

      “This actually got started by women’s athletes in the PAC-12 out west who were Olympic-level athletes who were sleeping in their cars.  So you’ve got these women who are winning national titles on a track that can’t afford their basic needs because their scholarship doesn’t go far enough … it wasn’t big time football that got this rolling,” said Rogers.

Representative Wes Rogers (Photo: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

      Schroer said it also just makes sense to let students begin making money with which they can begin to control their educational debt even before they graduate.  He thinks it is that argument that led to many lawmakers supporting the language.

      “Let’s allow this freedom across the board – the same freedom that’s made this country phenomenal, the same freedom that has allowed people to pull themselves out of poverty.  I think we’ll be able to tackle this student debt issue by allowing this freedom here in the State of Missouri.”

      Colleges that use students’ names, images, and likenesses in commercial deals would have to have a financial development program for each of those students once a year.  Students who have entered into endorsements could not display a company’s name or logo during team activities if that display would conflict with the school’s contracts and licenses.

      The NCAA’s new policy adopted earlier this year allows students to profit off their name, image, or likeness within the bounds of their state’s laws.

      The language passed as part of House Bill 297, sponsored by Representative Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau).

House members prepare for conference with Senate on FY ’19 budget

Missouri House budget leaders are preparing to confer with their counterparts in the state Senate about the two chambers’ respective budget proposals.

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (left) fields questions from reporters as House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) listens. (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications – click for larger version)

The House last month passed the 13 bills that make up the proposed state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.  Its plan laid out more than $28-billion in spending.  The Senate spent the last month going over that plan and making changes to it, and this week endorsed its own proposal totaling more than $28.6-billion.  Now the two chambers will have to work out an agreement between the two versions that can be sent to the governor by May 11.

“[The Senate] spent a little more money than we did but I think that they have a good budget plan that is workable for conference,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob).

Of the more than $570-million dollar difference between the two chambers’ spending plans, roughly $261-million comes from the Senate proposing spending in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget that the House plan would address in a supplemental budget early in calendar year 2019, when better data would be available on how much must be spent in some cases.

As far as the various components of the budget, Fitzpatrick said the greatest difference between the two chambers’ proposals in terms of dollars is in what each would spend on K-12 education.  Full funding for the K-12 education formula in Fiscal Year 2019 would be about $99-million.  The House proposed that, while the Senate took the position found in the governor’s budget proposal of spending $48-million.

“[The Senate] did use some of that money within House Bill 2002, which is the education budget bill, so we have the flexibility of moving some of that around,” said Fitzpatrick.  “It’s not a secret that one of my top priorities is fully funding the [K-12 education funding] formula and keeping our commitment on the pre-K expansion that most of the members that are serving today made a few years ago, that once we fully funded the formula that that expansion would be available.”

The top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Representative Kip Kendrick (Columbia), said the Senate’s proposal for K-12 education funding is concerning and House members would work to maintain its position on that.

“I was happy to hear the chairman of the committee, Representative Fitzpatrick, talking about making sure that we’re going to hold that line, and I can tell you that we’re going to do whatever we can to hold that line for the foundation formula to make sure that we get back to that $99-million mark,” said Kendrick.

One issue that has already been settled is that of higher education funding and limiting tuition increases at all but one of the state’s publicly-supported colleges and universities.

The House chose to restore $68-million to higher education support that the governor proposed cutting, but only if institutions agreed not to increase tuition by more than one-percent in fiscal year ’19.  Those institutions agreed except for Missouri Southern in Joplin, which House members agreed is in a financial situation dire enough that they were allowed to opt out.  The Senate proposal has upheld that plan.

“It wasn’t something that the House could do on [its] own so we appreciate the Senate working with us on accomplishing that,” said Fitzpatrick.  “I think it will result in a positive outcome for the families and students who pay tuition in the State of Missouri.”

Kendrick is also glad to see that plan preserved but has some concern with the Senate breaking out funding for special initiatives at colleges and universities, which typically go toward projects including construction and expansion.  The House had rolled the money for those items into the core allocation for institutions.

Representative Kip Kendrick is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications – click for larger version)

“Those received additional funds but I have concerns that those have been line-itemed back out rather than wrapped up in the core.  [The House] moved them into core to protect those lines.  We have some concerns that with them being separated out that they become more vulnerable for complete withholds or vetoes – just more vulnerable out there standing alone – so we’ll do what we can to move those back into the core,” said Kendrick.

Kendrick is also concerned about more than $4-million that the Senate proposed moving out of funding for treatment courts in Missouri – those are drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans courts.

“[Those are] services that have been proven very effective in reducing recidivism rates.  The actual recidivism rate for an offender coming out DOC is about 50-percent recidivism; treatment courts is around 15-percent recidivism,” said Kendrick, who has personally worked with people going through mental health courts.  “It does keep people out of prison.  It keeps them in services, making sure that they are properly rehabilitated and receiving the services they need.”

Kendrick wants to see the House work to hold its position on the support for treatment courts.

Other differences between the House and Senate spending proposals that either Fitzpatrick or Kendrick highlighted concern funding in the social services budget for nursing homes; whether state-appropriated money can be used for DUI checkpoints; funding for autism services; and increases in state employee pay, including a Senate proposal to boost pay specifically for corrections officers – a proposal Fitzpatrick said the House would try to find a way to concur with.

Fitzpatrick will begin next week meeting with his Senate counterpart, Senator Dan Brown (R-Rolla), and each chamber will begin selecting members for committees that will meet to negotiate compromises on each of the 13 budget bills.

House budget plan would restore FY ’18 funding levels to colleges, universities

The Missouri House has perfected a budget proposal for the next fiscal year including an agreement to hold down college tuition, while restoring $68-million that Governor Eric Greitens (R) proposed cutting from colleges and universities.

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications – click for larger version)

The House is proposing putting that money back into the core funding for those institutions, putting them back at the level of state support they are receiving in the current fiscal year.  In exchange, the state’s institutions will increase tuition by no more than one-percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) proposed an amendment that completed the restoration of that $68-million dollars.

“I think that this is the appropriate thing to do,” said Fitzpatrick.  “I think a one-percent tuition increase is manageable for the folks in this state.”

Under the agreement between Fitzpatrick and the institutions, the schools must receive the money the House has proposed appropriating.  If the appropriations are withheld by the governor or otherwise do not reach them, they can increase tuition based on the Consumer Price Index.

The agreement is supported by Democrats, including the top Democrat on the budget committee, Kip Kendrick (D-Columbia), whose district includes the University of Missouri’s flagship campus.

“I appreciate this and the whole conversation we’ve had in budget committee and working with the chair on reaching an agreement.  I think everyone in here has the intent of … wants to hold tuition increases to a minimum to make sure college remains affordable and accessible for all,” said Kendrick.  “Higher education institutions have taken it on the head in the last few years with some major budget cuts, so glad that we can do all that we can this year.”

Representative Kip Kendrick, the top Democrat on the Missouri House Budget Committee (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications – click for larger version)

Until the agreement was reached, Fitzpatrick had proposed putting $30-million of the money that is now going to core funding into the Access Missouri scholarship program, which would have fully funded it.  Kendrick is glad to see that money going back to the core, but he hopes Access Missouri receives additional funding in future years.

“I love Access Missouri.  It is a fantastic, needs-based scholarship program in the State of Missouri.  It is our only needs-based aid program in the state and for a brief moment of time it had 30-million new dollars in it, and I hope that we can do what we can in the future also to make sure that we appropriately fund that line as well,” said Kendrick.

Budget committee member Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) agreed.

“While I wish that we could be funding Access Missouri and I hope that we try to do so in the future, representing Missouri State, one of the institutions who is a big part of this agreement, I was thankful for the budget chair to have the discussion and have everybody at the table and come up with this solution,” said Quade.

The tuition agreement does not extend to Missouri Southern in Joplin.  Fitzpatrick said their financial situation is dire enough that he agreed to let them opt out of the one-percent tuition cap requirement.

The funding for higher education is found in House Bill 2003, which itself appropriates more than $1.17-billion.  The House is expected to vote on that and the rest of the budget bills on Thursday.

If passed, they will go to the Senate, which will spend the coming weeks developing its own budget proposal based on the House’s plan.  The two chambers will then attempt to compromise on a final spending plan to send to the governor in May.

House budget leader has plan to restore higher ed funding, but wants agreement on tuition first

The Missouri House budget committee has a plan to continue funding of Missouri’s colleges and universities at the amount budgeted last year, but in exchange lawmakers want those institutions to freeze tuition.

Representative Scott Fitzpatrick (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) said the solution comes from money the state set aside for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Because federal funding for the program was uncertain, the state set aside funds for CHIP.  Now that federal funding has come through, Fitzpatrick has said the state could restore all $68-million that Governor Eric Greitens (R) proposed cutting from higher education.

Fitzpatrick said full restoration is his goal, but he is seeking agreement from the state’s institutions that they will hold down tuition.

“I want to make sure that if we’re putting that money back it’s going to result in holding down the cost of college for Missouri students, so I’m in the process of trying to seek a deal on holding down tuition with the institutions in the state in exchange for making a full restoration,” said Fitzpatrick.  “So far that deal has not been agreed to and so what we did was we put, out of the $68-million we took $30-million of that, which is the amount that it takes to fully fund the Access Missouri Scholarship, which is the state’s need-based scholarship program, and we fully funded that scholarship because if tuition is going to go up I want to make sure that we are putting some of that money into a place where it’ll help the people that are having to pay that tuition offset it.”

Fitzpatrick told the rest of the committee that if the institutions agree to his plan he will put that $30-million back toward their state support.  If they don’t agree, he will leave that $30-million where it is and might move some of the remaining $38-million to other things.

“My goal is to help the institutions out but I also want that to translate into the cost of college being held down, and I don’t plan to seek an agreement that tuition won’t be raised every single year but I do think if we’re going to be spending close to $70-million on just going back into institutional budgets that there should be some consideration for that,” said Fitzpatrick.

Representative Kip Kendrick (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The leading Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Kip Kendrick (Columbia), said he’s still undecided on whether he supports the chairman’s proposed agreement, but he thinks the committee’s members all want to see tuition as level as possible and keep higher education affordable for Missourians.

“It’s hard to make an argument against fully funding the only needs-based scholarship program we have in the state of Missouri,” said Kendrick. “Access Missouri provides access, as it says – it’s in the name. It provides access to many Missourians – middle-class and lower-income individuals – to higher education. It’s an important program, it’s been underfunded for a number of years, so it’s hard to necessarily argue with where it currently stands.”

Kendrick said he hopes before the budget is final money could be found to both restore core funding to colleges and universities and to fully fund Access Missouri.

The budget committee will go through it’s “mark up” process next week.  Individual members of the committee will propose changes they want to make – to increase funding where they think it should be increased and propose where that funding could be pulled from.  From there, the committee will vote on whether to send each budget bill to debate by the full House, which is expected to happen after the legislature’s spring break.

Budget subcommittee chair to recommend delay in basing college, university funding on performance

The Chair of the House subcommittee that deals with education funding says he will recommend the legislature put off a performance-based funding mechanism for state-supported colleges and universities.

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi testifies to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on January 31, 2018. (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Cedarcreek Republican Lyle Rowland’s subcommittee heard from those institutions’ presidents over the course of two days and said many of them wanted the same things:  a delay in implementation of that plan, and a restoration of their core funding.

The state budget proposed last month by Governor Eric Greitens (R) would cut higher education funding by 10-percent, or roughly $100-million, from its Fiscal Year 2018 level.  Also in early January, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education approved linking 10-percent of funding for publicly-backed colleges and universities to performance factors such as students’ job placement, degree completion, and budgetary practices.  The model would look back at institutions’ performance over the past three years.

The combination means it is possible, though unlikely, that any given institution could see a decrease of as much as 20-percent in year-to-year state support.

Rowland said he agrees with the institution presidents who told him implementing performance-based funding now puts them at a disadvantage.

“[Institutions] didn’t know what their standards were going to be.  They didn’t know how to change their operation of their colleges and universities to help meet those goals,” said Rowland.  “With them not knowing what standards were, what those areas of concern are going to be, they have no way of implementing it, so it was going to hurt them financially.  We don’t want to hurt them financially.”

He wants to postpone that plan for three years so that institutions will know what areas to work on before their support is tied to them.

“We want to give them the opportunity to build up before we start with the funding model and then let’s put x-amount of new dollars into performance funding then and if you’re not meeting it you’re not going to get all of that funding.  We’re going to redistribute that to the other schools and universities.”

Rowland’s panel on Wednesday heard from University of Missouri System President Mun Choi, who touted to lawmakers the system’s accomplishments but coupled that with words of caution.

He said 90-percent of Mizzou’s students found a job within six months or moved on to graduate school; research is yielding advancements in the agriculture and medical fields; and Missouri S&T last summer beat out other universities from around the world in a competition to design a Mars rover.

“Those kinds of stories are peppered throughout all of our campuses but our ability to continue these programs is in jeopardy because of the cuts that we’ve experienced,” said Choi.

Lincoln University Interim President Michael Middleton echoed Choi’s call for a restoration of core funding and a delay in the performance model.

Representative Lyle Rowland (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“We are about as lean as we can be.  We’re already seeing that giving multiple responsibilities to individuals affects our productivity, which I believe is reflected in the number of students we’re able to recruit and retain,” said Middleton.  “With this [proposed] additional wave of cuts we are in a perfect storm with no clear break in the clouds.”

As for the proposed cut to core funding, Rowland said the governor’s proposal is not likely to stand, but given the state’s overall economic picture some reduction is probable.

“I’m sure there will be some cuts.  What we’re trying to do is try to make it as little as possible,” said Rowland.  “We’re hoping to be able to locate some things [elsewhere in the state budget] that we might be able to transfer into higher ed.”

The ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Kip Kendrick (Columbia), has been one of several lawmakers expressing concern about the timing of performance-based funding.  He thinks most legislators will agree it should be pushed back.

“Higher education institutions across the board were on the same message about this, whether they were going to receive an additional hit from the performance funding model or not,” said Kendrick.  “Everybody was very tepid in having that implemented in a year where there is a potential for up to 10-percent of additional cuts to higher education.  We can’t penalize institutions on top of the additional cuts that they’re receiving this year.  It’s way too punitive and not the right year to implement it.”

Rowland will submit his recommendation to the full budget committee.  That committee will develop its own state budget proposal to be considered by the full House.  Eventually the House and Senate will have to agree on a state spending plan to be sent to the governor.

House budget leaders discuss Greitens’ plan to cut college, university funding

After legislators began going through Governor Eric Greitens’ (R) budget proposal many began expressing concern over his proposal to cut money from Missouri’s colleges and universities.

Representatives Kip Kendrick and Scott Fitzpatrick (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The Governor proposed a 7.7-percent reduction to higher education.  Coupled with money frozen in the state budget that took effect July 1, 2017, that would be a 10-percent cut overall.

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) said that would amount to a reduction of about $68-million.  Higher education funding is also shifting to being based on performance, which could mean additional decreases for some institutions.

“I haven’t heard any rumblings from any institutions about, ‘If this happens, we’re closing,’ but I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility,” said Fitzpatrick.  “I don’t anticipate that all of those reductions will stand in the budget.  I think that we’ll probably try to recover some of that, but I think that the institutions – some more than others – are going to have a difficult time with it.”

Fitzpatrick and the budget committee are just beginning the process that over the next couple of months will see countless changes made to the governor’s budget proposal to morph it into the legislature’s own state spending plan.  He is sure efforts will be made along the way to restore at least some higher education funding.

“It’ll depend on what things we find in the budget that we think we can reduce or any other revenue source that we’re not currently considering that could become available through the process, which usually happens in some way shape or form,” said Fitzpatrick.

Legislators in both parties and in both chambers are expressing intent to propose more funding to colleges and universities than the governor proposed, so it seems likely the 10-percent reduction will not stand.  Still the leading Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Representative Kip Kendrick (Columbia), said he’s alarmed at the governor’s proposal.

“This is a time when we’re at full employment.  That’s what scares me the most is the economy’s doing well, yet we’re seeing such tremendous cuts to public higher education across the State of Missouri.  I’m very concerned about what it’s going to mean for our state,” said Kendrick.  “I think that this is a very concerning trend that we’ve been seeing … what happens in the next [economic] downturn?  What’s that going to mean for higher education at that time?”

As for other provisions in the governor’s plan, neither Fitzpatrick nor Kendrick are supportive of a plan to take out a line of credit to pay for the state to get tax refunds out to Missourians faster.  Both also want to retain or improve on the governor’s proposal to increase pay by $650 to state employees making less than $50,000 a year, but say only time will tell what form any state employee pay hike could take.

House refuses additional reductions to MU in higher education budget

The state House has finalized its proposed budget for state aid to colleges and universities for the fiscal year that begins July 1.  Another favorable vote will send that plan to the Senate for its consideration.

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)
House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

That plan would reduce funding to the University of Missouri by 9-percent, or $50-million, compared to the current fiscal year.  This was part of a reduction across all higher education due to the need to reduce spending.  Lawmakers blocked on Tuesday attempts to take additional money from MU.  House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) urged legislators to not seek to penalize MU over its handling of racial tensions, as many sought to do during last year’s budget debates.

“I don’t like any more than any of you do some of the things that have happened over the last year-and-a-half at the University.  That being said, there is a new president at the institution.  He has already started implementing changes.  I think that a little over 9-percent cut to their operating budget in one year is pretty significant,” said Fitzpatrick.  “I think that if we continue to cut the University of Missouri system the message that we are sending across the state is that we’re going beyond punitive reductions at that point.  At that point I think we’re sending the message that we are expecting the University to raise tuition to make up the difference that we are going to be causing here if we continue to go down this path.”

Some lawmakers still wanted to take more from MU.  Ash Grove Republican Mike Moon wanted to take $1-million from the University to promote tourism.

“One thing that keeps ringing in my mind is $2-million in hidden bonuses that were uncovered by the state auditor,” said Moon, referring to a recent finding regarding the university.  “Maybe I should’ve been more diligent and directed where that money be taken, and maybe salaries need to be looked at.  These bonuses, though, have to stop,” said Moon.

Moon’s amendment was rejected.

The House also rejected attempts to redirect money that goes toward Lincoln University’s land grant status and the federal dollars that come with it.  This was of particular importance to Democrats, including the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, Michael Butler (D-St. Louis).

“We are in danger again this year for a university in the State of Missouri losing those matching funds,” said Butler.  “A lot of work on both sides of the aisle has gone into this.  We’re very happy with the result even though we’re still $3.6-million away [from where we’d like to be].” 

Democrats attempted to remove language in the higher education budget that blocks state money from going to higher education institutions that offer less than the international tuition rate, or scholarships, to students lacking lawful immigration status.

Kansas City Democrat Lauren Arthur called that language punitive, and said it often hurts students who entered the country not by choice but with their parents.

“We passed this language a few years ago and we’ve seen two outcomes for these students.  First, they can’t afford to go to college so they don’t … or, they decide to go to college outside of this state, where we lose an individual who is a contributing member of society,” said Arthur.

Fitzpatrick said Missouri must, “prioritize the citizens of the state, and for that matter the United States, when we look at who’s going to pay the lowest rate of tuition … “This was never an issue until the federal government administratively granted lawful presence – not lawful immigration status; they still have an unlawful immigration status – but when they administratively granted lawful presence to people who were here illegally.”

Arthur’s amendment was rejected.

The higher education budget is laid out in House Bill 3.  The House is expected to vote Thursday on whether to send that and the rest of its proposed state budget to the Senate.