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House committee briefed on WSU cannabis research

The new chair of WSU’s Committee for Cannabis Research and Outreach appeared before the House Commerce & Gaming Committee today to outline the university’s efforts to study the effects of cannabis consumption.

Initiative 502 carved out funds for the University of Washington and WSU to do such work. Michael McDonell, an associate professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, was recently named to lead research efforts at WSU. You can watch his presentation below.

 

Legislative committee hears report on cost of medical education

The Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) met today to receive a presentation from the state Auditor’s Office on its performance audit report determining the costs per student for medical education at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM) and the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The report by the Auditor’s Office highlights the complexity of identifying costs specific to medical education and complications with comparing actual costs to projected costs between two fundamentally very different medical schools at notably opposite stages of development.  WSU’s Chris Mulick, director of state relations; Jim Zimmerman, vice dean for administration, accreditation and finance for ESFCOM; and Ken Roberts, vice dean for academic and community partnerships for ESFCOM provided a public agency response to the report, which you can view below. WSU thanked the Auditor’s Office for considering projected WSU costs at a date in the future by which time the college will have developed economies of scale not possible until enrollment scales up.

The inaugural class of 60 medical students in the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is now in its fourth week of instruction and students have already visited their assigned clinical sites across the state. Learn more about the diversity of the inaugural class here.

Budget agreement funds WSU medical school

Legislative leaders released a 2017-19 operating budget agreement today that provides $10 million to fund 60 first year and 60 second year medical students, fulfilling WSU’s top legislative priority.

Budget proposals previously released by the Governor, Senate and House did just the same. The final budget agreement, coming just hours before the onset of the new biennium, now must be approved by both chambers and signed by the governor before going into effect.

Here are the highlights of the operating budget as it pertains to WSU.

The budget:

  • Provides $10 million for 60 first year and 60 second year students at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine just as all three previous budget proposals did.
  • Provides equivalent funding for three compensation adjustments that are roughly close to 1 percent each over the course of the biennium.
  • Authorizes current law tuition increases of 2.2 percent in the first year and 2.0 percent in the second year of the biennium.
  • Provides funding for the State Need Grant to maintain existing statewide participation, then funds a small expansion of the program to cover an additional 875 students. This reduces the rolls of students who are eligible but unserved to near 23,000.
  • Suspends new I-502 marijuana research funding and maintains existing funding levels.
  • Funds Elk Hoof Disease research in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Provides $606,000 to fund a children’s mental health residency program in Spokane, as prescribed by WSU-supported legislation.
  • Reduces appropriation by $1.6 million, assuming a reduction in graduate student tuition waivers, an effective cut.
  • Provides $500,000 in one time funding for new stormwater research at WSU Puyallup.
  • The budget assumes a new central service charge to the state budget office, effectively a small cut.
  • Half of new maintenance and operations funding to support the new academic building opening in August in Everett will come from WSU building fees rather than new state appropriation, affecting WSU’s capital budget.

Revenue forecast ticks upward

A new forecast of future tax collections has added $79 million in anticipated state revenues for the current two-year budget cycle and another $80 million for the one that begins July 1. That’s a small bump for a state budget that is expected to near $42 billion.

You can read the forecast here and find the press release from the Office of Financial Management here.

That provides a critical piece of information as legislative negotiators work to craft a compromise operating budget to send to the governor. Budgets proposed by the governor, House and Senate all provide $10 million to fund 60 first and second year medical students for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the university’s top legislative priority. The budgets differ on other operating budget priorities relating to STEM degree production, compensation and the State Need Grant.

The Legislature also still needs to write a capital budget. While funding for the design of a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities and for the predesign of a Life Sciences Building at WSU Vancouver is included in all three budget proposals, they differ on WSU’s top capital budget priorities for funding the construction of the Plant Sciences Building and the start of the Global Animal Health phase II project, both in Pullman.

Governor Inslee signs b̶r̶a̶n̶c̶h̶ campus bill

The term “branch” has been officially removed as a descriptor for WSU campuses historically known as branch campuses.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1107 into law during a bill signing ceremony this afternoon. The bill removes the term “branch” from applicable state laws. It does not change governance or make any other changes.

WSU has supported this bill throughout this year’s legislative session, testifying in support before the Senate on March 16th and before the House back in January.

The bill passed through the House 91-6 and later passed through the Senate 48-0.

What the House capital budget means for WSU

Leaders in the House of Representatives released their capital budget proposal Wednesday, funding one of two construction requests forwarded by WSU for the Pullman campus.

The plan fully funds WSU’s $38.1 million request to build the first stage of the Global Animal Health Phase II project — the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. But it does not fund WSU’s $58.9 million request to construct the Plant Sciences Building.

Both projects remain in play going into negotiations on a final budget. The Senate plan provides $52 million for Plant Sciences and $23 million to get started on Global Animal Health Phase II.

The House and Senate plans both fund two other priority projects — the design of the WSU Tri-Cities Academic Building and the predesign of the WSU Vancouver Life Sciences Building. The House plan provides $28 million for minor capital preservation and $1 million of a $4.9 million request to upgrade STEM teaching labs in Pullman.

The House budget also provides $2 million to purchase equipment for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, a research collaboration between WSU, the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to support the development of technologies that typically rely on precious metals.

Senate plan funds priority WSU ag buildings

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted out a proposed capital budget Wednesday that includes funding for two WSU building projects critical to the future of Washington agriculture.

The plan funds $52 million of WSU’s $58.9 million request for the Plant Sciences Building and $23 million to start construction of the Global Animal Health Phase II project, both in Pullman. This despite unexpected constraints on the capital budget due to late breaking requirements for K-12 construction.

The Senate capital budget proposal also provides $3 million for design of the WSU Tri-Cities Academic Building and $500,000 for predesign of the Vancouver Life Sciences Building. It also provides $22.3 million for minor capital preservation.

You can view WSU’s testimony on the Senate capital budget from earlier this week below.

WSU weighs in on House operating budget

Chris Mulick, WSU director of state relations, testified support on behalf of the university Monday evening for the House’s proposed operating budget, released earlier in the day on Monday.

“We’re here first and foremost to express our appreciation for the funding in this budget to support the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. In very little time, the school has gained accreditation, kicked off private fundraising efforts, recruited an applicant pool of over 700 [prospective medical students] and signed up 20 clinical partners across the state with more on the way,” Mulick said. Watch his full testimony below.

 

 

Medical school funded in all three budget proposals

Leaders in the House of Representatives Monday released a budget proposal that would provide $10 million to support 60 first year and 60 second year medical students for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

That’s consistent with funding proposals released earlier by the governor and the Senate. In all three proposals, annual funding beginning in fiscal year 2019 is just $200,000 short of WSU’s request, its top legislative priority.

The House plan would also do the following.

  • Backfill a tuition freeze for the next two academic years
  • Increase funding by $73 million for the State Need Grant
  • Fund three compensation increases of 2 percent each during the 2017-19 biennium
  • Fund legislation that provides $500 stipends to students whose parent our spouse passed away, became totally disabled, or is considered a prisoner of war or missing in action due to military service
  • Provide $75,000 to boost honeybee research
  • Fund legislation establishing a child and adolescent psychiatry residency program in Eastern Washington

The House plan is expected to be voted out of the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday in advance of a floor vote later this week.

For questions, please email Chris Mulick at chris.mulick@wsu.edu.

Amendment boosts med school funding in Senate budget

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted late Wednesday to increase funding in its budget proposal for the Elson S. Floyd College of medicine from $5 million to $10 million for the 17-19 biennium.

That matches the level funded in the governor’s budget. WSU has requested $10.8 million. Beginning with the 2019 fiscal year, the variance is limited to $200,000 per year.

The committee entertained dozens of amendments, rejecting most, and voted Senate Bill 5048 out. The budget now faces a floor vote.

The House operating budget proposal is expected to be released Monday and heard that afternoon in the House Appropriations Committee.

For questions, please email Chris Mulick at chris.mulick@wsu.edu.