2012 Legislative Updates

FY 2013 Budget adopted

May 11, 2012

The legislative session finally wrapped up this week, a month after the scheduled adjournment date.  But the education budget was worth the wait.  The Iowa House and Senate approved a $6.3 million increase for UNI and a nearly $3 million increase for STEM.  The budget also includes stable funding for the Recycling and Reuse Center, Real Estate Education program, Institute for Decision Making, Metal Casting, and MyEntrenet as well as $900,000 in one time funding for economic development programs at the university. 

None of this would have been possible without the leadership of President Allen and the amazing work of the faculty and staff who repeatedly answered legislators questions and advocated on behalf of this great university.  Thank you to all of you who helped to educate me during my first session with UNI. 

I would also like to thank the Senators and Representatives who fought for higher funding this year, particularly our local delegation from Cedar Falls and Waterloo.   Please contact them personally to congratulate them on their hard work. 

Jeff Danielson            jeff.danielson@legis.iowa.gov

Bill Dotzler                  bill.dotzler@legis.iowa.gov

Deborah Berry            deborah.berry@legis.state.ia.us

Anesa Kajtazovic        Anesa.Kajtazovic@legis.state.ia.us      

Bob Kressig                bob.kressig@legis.state.ia.us

Walt Rogers                Walt.Rogers@legis.state.ia.us 

We must also recognize Governor Branstad for recommending a budget increase this year and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds for her outspoken advocacy for STEM.  

If you have any questions about the budget or any of the policy changes approved this year please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I can be reached at 515-971-2563 by email at jeneane.beck@uni.edu.

 


UNI Women's Rugby Club Honored

May 8, 2012

The University of Northern Iowa's Women's Rugby Club was honored at the Statehouse this week for qualifying for the Sweet Sixteen in the Division I National Championship eight years in a row. Three teammates and club manager Jennifer Murra joined members of our local delegation in the House Chamber as they were recognized with a standing ovation.

UNI Women's Rugby players honored at the Statehouse

L-R: Representative Mark Lofgren (R) Muscatine (his daughter Olivia is on the team), Representative Walt Rogers (R) Cedar Falls, Meghan Flanigan, Jami Johnson, Karlee West, Jennifer Murra, Representative Anesa Kajtazovic (D) Waterloo, Representative Deborah Berry (D) Waterloo, Representative Bob Kressig (D) Cedar Falls, Senator Jeff Danielson (D) Cedar Falls

 


Budget Negotiations Heating Up

April 13, 2012

This week the House and Senate assigned conference committee members to reach agreement on the Education Appropriations bill.  We continue to advocate for the Senate’s budget proposal which includes a total increase of nearly $8.5 million for UNI.  The House budget on the other hand cuts funding for UNI by $3 million and freezes tuition, which would cost the university another $3 million in anticipated revenue.   This would unfortunately mean additional program reductions on campus.  Please contact the members of the conference committee to express your support for UNI during the final negotiations.

 

Senators:   Senate switchboard  515-281-3371

Co-Chair Brian Schoenjahn (D-Fayette)  brian.schoenjahn@legis.iowa.gov

Herman Quirmbach (D-Story)  herman.quirmbach@legis.iowa.gov

Wally Horn (D-Linn)  wally.horn@legis.iowa.gov

Shawn Hamerlinck (R-Scott)  shawn.hamerlinck@legis.iowa.gov

Paul McKinley (R-Lucas)  paul.mckinley@legis.iowa.gov

 

Representatives:    House switchboard   515-281-3221

Co-chair Cecil Dolecheck (R-Ringgold)   cecil.dolecheck@legis.state.ia.us

Ron Jorgenson (R-Woodbury)  Ron.Jorgensen@legis.state.ia.us

Peter Cownie (R-Polk)  peter.cownie@legis.state.ia.us

Cindy Winckler (D-Scott)  cindy.winckler@legis.state.ia.us

Nate Willems (D-Linn)  nate.willems@legis.state.ia.us

   


Universities for a Better Iowa

April 9, 2012

Universities for a Better Iowa banner

                       

Universities for a Better Iowa hits the road again today this time stopping in Mount Pleasant.  The student-led movement is intended to remind Iowans about the extraordinary impacts that UNI, the University of Iowa and Iowa State have on all corners of our state.  The tour kicked off with an event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on April 2nd with Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.  Former Lt Governor Joy Corning was a featured alum and gave a wonderful speech about how UNI changed her life.  Thank you to the students who organized event and to the more than a dozen state lawmakers who attended.   

Here is a link to a great video starring students from each public university sharing their for Universities for a Better Iowa

Please join Universities for a Better Iowa on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and attend one or more of our events at the locations below. 

UPCOMING ROADSHOW EVENTS:

Monday, April 9: Mount Pleasant                          
Mt. Pleasant High School
5:00PM – 6:30PM

Thursday, April 12: Carroll
Carrollton Inn
Noon – 1:00PM

Thursday, April 12: Atlantic
Cass County Community Center
5:00PM – 6:30PM

Monday, April 16: Dubuque
Grand River Center - Meeting Room 5
5:00PM – 6:30PM

Thursday, April 19: Cedar Rapids
Clarion Hotel & Convention Center
Noon – 1:00PM

Thursday, April 19: Davenport
Davenport Public Library - Main Street, Film Room
5:00PM – 6:30PM

Monday, April 23: Sioux City
Location TBD
5:00PM – 6:30PM

Wednesday April, 25: Fort Dodge
Location TBD
Noon – 1:00PM

Wednesday, April 25: Mason City
Location TBD
5:00PM – 6:30PM

 

 


Tough Week at the Statehouse

March 23, 2012

The House Appropriations Committee voted this week to freeze tuition at the state's three public universities for fiscal year 2013.  That means the 3.75% tuition increase the Board of Regents approved in December for would negated.  If the freeze is approved by the full legislature and signed by the Governor it will cost UNI nearly $3 million in lost revenue.

To make matters worse the House Appropriations Committee also approved a $31 million dollar budget cut for the universities, which means a $3 million cut for UNI.  So when you combine that with the proposed tuition freeze, it would mean a $6 million dollar hit for UNI.

Please contact members of the Iowa House and ask them to support an increase in funding for UNI rather than a decrease.  Use this link to find your local State Representative.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/find.aspx

On a more positive note, President Allen is the guest this week on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.”

 Watch here.   http://www.iptv.org/iowapress/episode.cfm/3929

President Allen on Iowa Press

President Allen on Iowa Press


Great day at the Statehouse

March 7, 2012

The Senate appropriations committee approved an education budget that includes nearly $8.5 million in new money for UNI – an increase of 11.4%. The Senate budget also includes $3 million in new money for STEM; the initiative led at UNI focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education.  Please contact members of the Iowa House and ask them to support the Senate’s level of funding for UNI.  

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/find.aspx

 In other good news…

STEM day was a great success.  Legislators from both parties enjoyed touring 33 exhibits featuring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educational opportunities across the state.  The program featured speeches by Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and Senator Jeff Danielson.  They all praised the work of the STEM Advisory Council co-chaired by UNI President Ben Allen and led by Executive Director Jeff Weld.  

  L-R Jeff Danielson (D) Cedar Falls, Jeff Weld, Lt. Governor Reynolds, Governor Branstad

 L-R Jeff Danielson (D) Cedar Falls, Jeff Weld, Lt. Governor Reynolds, Governor Branstad

And finally…

Professor Chris Larimer brought his Iowa Politics class to the Capitol and the students were greeted with applause in both the House and Senate. 

 L-R Kara Gilmore, Tyler Campbell, Eric Boisen, Alex Stalkfleet, Logan Bringmann, Professor Chris Larimer, Kyle Craig, Representative Anesa Kajtazovic (D) Waterloo, Mike Nelson, Michael Minnier, Molly Richardson.

L-R Kara Gillmore, Tyler Campbell, Eric Boisen, Alex Stalkfleet, Logan Bringmann, Professor Chris Larimer, Kyle Craig, Representative Anesa Kajtazovic (D) Waterloo, Mike Nelson, Michael Minnier, Molly Richardson.

 L-R (back), Professor Chris Larimer, Jaime Yowler, Tyler Campbell, Chris Apling, Mike Nelson, Michael Minnier, Eric Boisen (front)  Kyle Craig, Alex Stalkfleet, Kara Gilmore, Senator Bill Dotzler (D) Waterloo, Logan Bringmann, Representative Bob Kressig (D) Cedar Falls, Molly Richardson

L-R (back), Professor Chris Larimer, Jaime Yowler, Tyler Campbell, Chris Apling, Mike Nelson, Michael Minnier, Eric Boisen (front)  Kyle Craig, Alex Stalkfleet, Kara Gillmore, Senator Bill Dotzler (D) Waterloo, Logan Bringmann, Representative Bob Kressig (D) Cedar Falls, Molly Richardson

 


Student Government Leaders at the Statehouse

March 5, 2012

The Student Government Leaders from Iowa’s public universities joined Governor Branstad at a news conference today to call for higher funding for the three Regents institutions.  They are a wonderful example of the hard working students earning an education in Iowa. 

L-R UI President Elliot Higgins, UNI President Spencer Walrath, Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, ISU President Dakota Hoben

 L-R UI President Elliot Higgins, UNI President Spencer Walrath, Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, ISU President Dakota Hoben


Iowa House cuts funding for Metal Casting Center

February 29, 2012

The Iowa House approved an Economic Development budget yesterday that cuts funding for UNI by 10%.   We are disappointed by the vote but will continue to work with members of the Iowa Senate to maintain or even increase funding for UNI’s Business and Community Services Division.  

The House budget provides flat funding for IDM (The Institute for Decision Making) and MyEntre.Net, while eliminating funding for the Metal Casting Center ($57,000).

UNI’s Metal Casting Center (MCC) is essential to support the metal casting industry in Iowa.  It assists Iowa foundries by providing full casting test runs at a cutting edge facility on campus.  In fact the MCC has the most complete university-related pilot plant capability in the US; saving Iowa foundries nearly $30 million a year in energy costs. 

We believe this is a critical service as Iowa attempts to recruit new foundries to the state.  Please contact your local lawmakers to urge them to support funding for UNI and the MCC.

To find your local Senator or Representative:  http://www.congress.org/congressorg/officials/congress/

To email your state senator or representative:  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/

 


Budget Update

February 17, 2012

The Senate has released additional details on their spending proposal for the three public universities.  Majority Democrats are proposing a 6% increase for each school as well as an addition $4 million special allocation for UNI.  That would mean a total increase of nearly $8.5 million for UNI.    

We appreciate the Senate’s investment in higher education overall and recognition of UNI’s unique dependence on state resources.   

We remain optimistic that negotiations between the House and Senate will eventually result in a budget increase for the University rather than a reduction.   

Please contact your local Senator or Representative to express your support for UNI. 

 

To find your local Senator or Representative:  http://www.congress.org/congressorg/officials/congress/

 

To email your state senator or representative:  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/


Students at the Statehouse

February 15, 2012

Representative Walt Rogers (R) of Cedar Falls hosts UNI student athletes at the Statehouse.

Representative Walt Rogers (R) Cedar Falls hosts UNI student athletes at the Statehouse

L-R: Rep Rogers, Kelsie McDowell (Womens Rugby), Ashley Koons (Tea Kwon-Do), Rhonda Greenway (NISG Senate's Director of Governmental Relations, Nick Maddix (Cycling), Robert Varian (Baseball)

Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R) Hiawatha chatted with the students about the St. Louis Cardinals

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R) Hiawatha chats with the students about his love of the St. Louis Cardinals

Also pictured: Patrick Gibbs (NISG Senate's Vice Chair of External Relations)


Budget targets

February 10, 2012

The Iowa House and Senate have both released their spending targets for fiscal year 2013. House Republicans propose spending $35 million less on Education next year compared to this year.  That means a $3 million dollar budget cut for UNI.  House Republicans also propose cutting funding for UNI’s economic development programs by about ten percent.  There’s also no new money for the Governor’s STEM initiative focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. 

Senate Democrats have proposed increasing education funding by nearly $100 million dollars over last year.   About $34 million of that is earmarked for the public universities including an increase for STEM. So there’s a wide disparity between the two sides.  We will continue to work with both parties to try and secure full funding of the Regents request for UNI. 


UNI at the Statehouse

January 31, 2012

Maureen Collins-Williams and Randy Pilkington of UNI's Business and Community Services Division testifying before the joint House and Senate Economic Development budget subcommitee.

 

Maureen Collins-Williams and Randy Pilkington


UNI's Budget Request

January 30, 2012

Later this week members of the Iowa House and Senate are expected to release their spending targets for fiscal year 2013.  As a point of reference here is a summary of what the Board of Regents requested on behalf of the University of Northern Iowa.

The Board is requesting a $41 million increase in funding for the three public universities next year, plus a special $4 million appropriation for UNI.  The last four years of budget cuts had a more profound impact on UNI because we depend much more on state resources than our sister institutions, which gain additional revenue from a larger number of out-of-state students.

UNI is also requesting continued funding for the Bartlett/Baker renovation project and the university’s economic development programs, which include the Institute for Decision Making, Metal Casting and MyEntreNet. 

Finally, UNI is playing a key role in the governor’s STEM initiative focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.  The Regent-wide program is led by the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership  program (IMSEP) on the UNI campus and needs additional resources to grow. 

We are pleased Governor Branstad’s budget proposal includes an increase for the three universities, although it is less than the Board of Regents requested.

To read President Allen’s update on the Governor's budget click here http://www.uni.edu/president/budget/.

As always if you have questions please email me at jeneane.beck@uni.edu.


President Allen with our local legislative delegation

January 27, 2012

President Allen with local legislators

Back row, L-R: Representative Bob Kressig, Senator Bill Dotzler, Representative Deborah Berry, Representative Anesa Kajtazovic, Representative Walt Rogers (Senator Jeff Danielson was unable to attend).

 

Front row: UNI President Ben Allen


Greetings

January 24, 2012

Jeneane BeckI would like to take a moment to introduce myself.  I recently joined the Board of Regents, State of Iowa staff as the state relations officer for the University of Northern Iowa, which means I have the honor of representing this great university before the governor and the Iowa General Assembly.

Prior to this position, I covered the legislature for 16 years as a reporter for WHO radio, KUNI and Iowa Public Radio.  Consequently, I was familiar with UNI’s reputation as a student-focused university, national leader in teacher education, and powerhouse in Division I athletics. 

Spending time on campus the past month has been a wonderful experience.  The university takes pride in its facilities and it shows.  But even more impressive, are the faculty, staff, and students.  They are organized, caring and passionate.  They’re also working hard to show the value of the institution to state lawmakers in Des Moines. 

If you want to know more or need help contacting your state senator or representative, please call me at 515-971-2563 or reach me by email at jeneane.beck@uni.edu.  I look forward to working on your behalf.

Jeneane Beck

UNI State Relations Officer

Board of Regents, State of Iowa