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LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
 
Budget and Appropriations Update
 

While Congress continues to work on a final appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018, the appropriations process for FY2019 has already begun, triggered by the release of the president’s budget request on Feb. 12. Similar to last year, the administration proposed significant cuts to many of the programmatic accounts that provide funding and support for research and education across the University of Illinois System.

OGR continues to advocate for strong FY2018 funding for U of I System priorities. At the same time, OGR has also begun articulating the system's FY2019 programmatic requests to the Illinois congressional delegation. The individual agency appropriations advocacy documents that we are using will soon be available for review on the OGR federal webpage. Many of our Illinois legislators have already demonstrated support for the funding lines we care about by signing onto "Dear Colleague" letters that are sent to relevant appropriators.

 
DACA Update
 

The Senate debated but failed to agree on a legislative proposal to extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections. While the administration’s March 5 deadline to end the DACA program has passed, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has resumed processing requests for DACA renewals, as ordered by two federal judges. The administration is appealing those orders. OGR continues to lobby for enactment of legislation that, at a minimum, codifies DACA protections.

 
DC VISITORS, EVENTS
 
Urbana-Champaign Faculty Testify on Capitol Hill
 
 
 

Kate Clancy, a professor in Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Anthropology, testified on Feb. 27 at a House Science Committee hearing on “Sexual Harassment and Misconduct in Science.” Dr. Clancy also met with staff for Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth as well as Rep. Jan Schakowsky to discuss women’s health research.

Bill Sanders, department head for electrical and computer engineering, testified on March 1 at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on cybersecurity and the electric grid. In his testimony, Dr. Sanders emphasized the need for academia, industry and government to work closely together to ensure grid resiliency.

 
Advocating for Water Resources
 

On Feb. 27, Yu-Feng Lin, director of the Illinois Water Resources Center at Urbana-Champaign, met with staff for Congressman Mike Quigley, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth to discuss issues relating to water resources and agriculture.

Steve Wilson, groundwater hydrologist with the Illinois State Water Survey at Urbana-Champaign’s Prairie Research Institute, took part in a March 7 congressional briefing on source water protection and drinking water wells.

 
Promoting ACES' Priorities
 
 
 

German Bollero, associate dean of research, and Richard Vogen, director of planning and research development at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, were in D.C. March 6 and 7 for the annual Council for Agricultural, Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meeting. Along with our volunteer CARET delegates, they met with Representatives Rodney Davis and Mike Bost; staff from the offices of Representatives Mike Quigley, John Shimkus, Cheri Bustos, and Darin LaHood; and staff from the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to discuss issues of importance to the College of ACES, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Farm Bill.

 
Urbana-Champaign, UIC Faculty Participate in Humanities Advocacy Day
 

On March 13, humanities faculty from Urbana-Champaign and UIC were in Washington to attend the National Humanities Alliance annual meeting. Representing Urbana-Champaign was Anita Chan, a professor in communications, and  Anke Pinkert, director of graduate studies of germanic languages and literatures. UIC was represented by   Nick Huggett, director of graduate studies. As part of a Humanities Advocacy Day, they met with staff from the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as Representatives Cheri Bustos, Mike Bost, Darin LaHood, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam, Janice Schakowsky, Randy Hultgren, Bobby Rush, and Raja Krishnamoorthi to promote the importance of federal support for the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 
Title VI Advocacy Meetings
 

Two of Urbana-Champaign's National Research Center (NRC) leaders—Kasia Szremski, and Maureen Marshall—were in D.C. to participate in a Title VI and Fulbright-Hays advocacy day organized by the Coalition for International Education on March 15. Urbana-Champaign hosts a total of six federally-funded U.S. Department of Education Title VI Centers in international and area studies, each focusing on a different world region or issue. They were able to meet with Representative Rodney Davis, and the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy DuckworthRepresentatives Janice Schakowsky, and Adam Kinzinger.

 
VetMed on the Hill
 
 
 

On March 1, Dean Peter Constable and professor Sarah Allison of the Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine participated in the Association of American Veterinary Medicine Colleges  advocacy day. They met with staff from the offices of Representatives John Shimkus, Rodney Davis, Danny Davis and Cheri Bustos, as well as staff for Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to discuss the urgent need to maintain the federal research enterprise, including funding for both biomedical and agricultural research. 

 
Showcasing ARPA-E Projects
 

The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology exhibited two research projects at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Innovation Summit from March 13-15 in Washington, D.C. The first project was TERRA-MEPP, which has developed robots to transform field data collection and crop scouting. The robots were featured in a special Tech Showcase demonstration. The second project was Water  Efficient Sorghum Technologies (WEST), which has made great progress reducing the amount of water required by crops, while also increasing productivity.

 

Thank you,

OGR Federal Relations

Paul Weinberger and Melissa Haas