Legislation Step One: Establish a Fact-Finding Study Committee
On June 20, 2020, the Tennessee General Assembly formed the Land Grant Institution Funding History Study Committee. This six-member bipartisan committee was tasked with studying inequities of prior years’ federal and state funding for land-grant higher education institutions, including TSU.
This committee was essential for building TSU’s legislative and political support to obtain its state-match funding.
- On November 10, 2020, they held a hearing entitled “Historical Overview of Land-Grant Institutions,” with the Tennessee Higher Education Committee, Director of HBCU Success, Dr. Brittany Mosby.
- On December 8, 2020, they held a hearing entitled “Overview of Historical Funding” with Peter Muller, House Budget Analysis Director.
- On January 11, 2021, they had presentations from TSU leadership, including University President Dr. Glenda Glover, Ph.D.
- On April 5, 2021, they held a hearing with the Office of the Legislative Budget Analysis
Representative Love used the Office of Legislative Budget Analysis to find funding disparities between 1890 and 1862 Institutions
He found that between 1957 and 2020, TSU did not receive the required match from the state of Tennessee. He also discovered that in many instances, it still needed to receive the total amount of federal funding passed through the state.
On June 30, 2021, he held a TSU planning recommendations meeting to discuss applicable laws on land grant institutions.
Legislation Step Two: Engage Stakeholder Support
As you engage in this process, you must secure the support of your relevant political allies and caucuses.
Early in the process, engage with the party leaders in both parties and begin to have conversations with the state Governor’s office
University Leadership Stakeholders
You should engage the leadership from both the 1862 and 1890 institutions and gain their voice and support for addressing funding disparity
Coalitions and Like-minded Stakeholders
Leverage help from civic groups like the Thurgood Marshall Foundation and the Association for Public Land-Grant Universities. These types of organizations may have political resources that could help in this process.
Grassroots support is essential in this process. Try working with the alumni association of the 1890 institution and any student-led groups
Legislation Step Three: Execute Legislative Strategy
While completing the other steps, you should execute a legislative strategy. The legislative strategy should include the passage of a law that requires the reporting of state and federal funding amounts.
A good focus for your legislative efforts is to determine the cause of disparate funding and assess the consequence of this disparity. Then, you can work on legislation to correct this disparity by appropriating funds that were unlawfully withheld.
On February 5, 2019, Representative Love introduced HB823, which required the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to submit a report on the federal appropriations and matching funds allocated under the 1890 Land Grant Act. It became law on May 2, 2019
On June 20, 2020, the Study Committee on Land-grant Institutions was created by appropriations bill HB2922.
On February 1, 2022, Representative Love introduced HB2293. It required TSU to submit annual reports to the Governor related to
- the progress made in addressing the improvements to TSU’s facilities and infrastructure, and
- how the improvements address the needs identified in the Tennessee higher education commission’s evaluation of TSU facilities and infrastructure needs