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2010 Key State Legislative Priorities

Against a backdrop of limited state funds, VCU continues to bring attention to several legislative and budget priorities for the 2010 General Assembly session.  On December 18th, Governor Kaine will be presenting his budget recommendations for the 2010-2012 biennium to the General Assembly.  During the session, which begins on January 13th and is expected to complete its business on March 13th, legislators will make modifications to the Governor’s proposed budget.  With an appreciation for the current fiscal climate, VCU will continue to work with state decision-makers on budget and policy matters during the legislative session. Weekly updates will be provided throughout the session on this website. 

Some key areas of focus will be:

Student Financial Aid.  The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) adopted a resolution establishing student financial aid as the top priority for the 2010-2012 budget.  They are seeking an increase of $19.9 million for FY2011 and $38.8 million for FY2012 for in-state undergraduate students and an additional $17.7 million in financial aid for graduate students over the biennium. Nearly 70 percent of VCU students utilize some form of financial assistance while approximately 40 percent of VCU students are the first in their families to attend college.  This additional funding is critically important for these students from working families in Virginia to succeed in their academic and professional goals.

Base Adequacy Funding.  The General Assembly’s base adequacy funding model is used to identify the appropriate state funding level for Virginia’s colleges and universities.  The formula takes into consideration a number of factors including enrollment growth, credit hours, and complexity of programs.  Based on the legislative formula, VCU continues to be one of the Commonwealth’s most underfunded institutions.  We will work with legislators and budget staff to minimize the reductions to our state funding.

Massey Cancer Center.  Cancer is now ranked as the leading cause of death in people under 85.  One in two men and one in three women will develop cancer in their lifetimes.  Another VCU priority is to work with the Administration and legislators on increasing funding for cancer research.

Medicaid/Indigent Care Funding.  A great deal of time and effort will be given to maintaining Medicaid and indigent care funding needed to provide healthcare services for the working poor patients treated by the VCU Health System.

Faculty and Staff Compensation.  Increased compensation for faculty and staff continues to be a priority.  Competitive salaries and benefits are essential to improve morale and retain valuable employees as well as attract high-quality personnel.  We will work with the General Assembly to address this important matter.

General Classroom Building.  Should a capital construction bond bill materialize in the 2010 session, VCU will work to ensure that the balance of funding needed for the General Classroom Building on the Monroe Park Campus is provided.

Medical Malpractice Reform.  Historically, healthcare provider accountability and patient compensation for medical malpractice has been managed and determined by the tort system.  In recent years, the medical malpractice cap has increased in increments to the maximum allowed of $2 million, which took effect on July 1, 2008.  During the 2010 General Assembly, VCU will work with the Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and other stakeholders to maintain the current cap.

Government Relations staff will monitor countless other anticipated legislative proposals, including in-state/out-of-state student population mix, guns on campus, Certificate of Public Need (COPN), healthcare reform and mental health.

If you have questions, contact Don Gehring (dcgehrin@vcu.edu) or Mark Smith (mesmith@vcu.edu). Our office phone number is: 804-828-1235.

 
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