Kentucky Senate president’s bill for public university research wins committee approval

Kentucky Lantern

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FRANKFORT — Republican Senate President Robert Stivers’ bill to set up endowed research funding for research consortiums between two or more public universities is heading to the Senate floor. 

Senate Bill 1, which Stivers previously introduced alongside a Senate Joint Resolution to further explore how higher education opportunities can be expanded in Southeastern Kentucky, received unanimous approval in the Senate Education Committee Thursday. 

Stivers told the committee his goal is to encourage collaborative research among Kentucky’s universities as a way to benefit the whole state, not just any one region. 

“Part of the job of this legislature is to enact sound policy to facilitate better futures for Kentucky children and families,” Stivers said in a statement. “SB 1 aims to ensure our universities are aligned in that shared objective and are collaborating with each other rather than competing for finite resources. With universities working together in the same direction, our public universities stand to secure additional funds from the state, federal government or others who want to contribute to life-saving research.”

According to the bill, the endowed research fund would receive state and federal dollars as well as “any other proceeds from contributions, gifts, or grants made available for the purposes of the fund.” The fund would have five consortium accounts. The Council on Postsecondary Education, which oversees public universities and colleges, would accept and review joint funding applications from two or more Kentucky public universities for the accounts for five-year periods. 

So far, the bill has had two readings in the Senate. After a third reading, the Senate may vote on the bill.

Stivers’ resolution, which is Senate Joint Resolution 132, has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. That would direct CPE to study turning the Hazard Community and Technical College into a four-year residential university. 

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