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2014 Legislature Approves Important Measures for SOU Capital, Operations, and Governance
March 12, 2014
With the help of our southern Oregon delegation, Southern Oregon University achieved our legislative objectives during the 2014 legislative session that started in early February and ended on March 7, 2014. SOU had visible advocacy throughout the session, including Salem visits from President Mary Cullinan, VP Craig Morris, Government Relations Director Liz Shelby, and SOU students who were in the Capitol every day of the session.
Outcomes for SOU from the 2014 Legislative Session include approval of the following measures:
Senate Bill 5702 and Senate Bill 5703 amend the limits established during the 2013 legislative session on the maximum amount of bonds and/or third party agreements that state agencies may issue.
In connection with this budget action, SOU received $21.3M in XI-Q Bonds for the McNeal Hall Seismic/Deferred Maintenance Upgrade. Our project was among those on the OUS top three life-safety priority list for this session. The total approved for OUS capital projects was $29,351,100.
HB 5201 is a budget reconciliation bill that modifies the state budget for the 2013-15 biennium. The measure adds $2 million General Fund to OUS for SEIU compensation agreements ($850K for PSU and $1.15M for the four technical and regional universities).
The bill also redirects $3.5 million of the Chancellor’s Office General Fund operating budget, into a special purpose appropriation that a subsequent Emergency Board will allocate for higher education governance cost changes. Of this budget, $500,000 is re-directed to EOU and another $500,000 to SOU as one-time financial assistance to be used for strategic reinvestment in student success during a period of budget cutting actions.
HB 4018, which changes the date by which Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University or Western Oregon University may request institutional governing board to May 15, 2014, and changes process of board formation, passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate on March 7, 2014.
Essentially the bill provides the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) with more options when deciding whether to endorse or not endorse a university’s request to have a governing board. With HB4018, the SBHE can now endorse a university to have a governing board, with some conditions, which will be mutually agreed upon, in addition to the two previous options of not endorsing a request for a board or endorsing a request for a board unconditionally.
Representative Peter Buckley, Senator Alan Bates, and Senator Michael Dembrow had significant roles as negotiators of eight rounds of amendments that helped produce a consensus bill.