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Capitol Highlights

By Staff | Feb 14, 2014

Regent school budget

This year the regents proposed a 4 percent increase in the state budget for the regent schools so that they could keep tuition the same for another year. I said it would be a good idea to look at the expenses at their schools. Perhaps the regent schools should share the cost with the state to reduce their tuition costs.

We have from the WCF Courier a story about this very same topic. The Iowa Board of Regents will spend about $2.5 million to conduct a wide-range review of the state’s three public universities looking for ways to cut costs. The regents met by telephone Tuesday and unanimously voted to hire Deloitte Consulting in New York. The review is expected to scrutinize everything from academic programs to student services. Deloitte will complete the first two phases-diagnostics and plans for solution and implementation-by late 2014. Regents will consider whether to continue with Deloitte for phase three after the initial elements are complete. I met with a couple of the regents several weeks ago and we had a good discussion about this topic.

House File 2175

We voted to approve House File 2175 that would ban the practice of doctors prescribing abortion-inducing drugs from remote locations, typically using a video link.

The bill was passed by a bi-partisan vote of 55-42. Under HF 2175, doctors could be fined and have their licenses suspended for performing abortion-inducing practices. Fines and license suspension provisions were amended onto the bill to replace criminal penalties originally included in the bill. Floor manager Rep. Kevin Koester, R-Ankeny, said the bill was about the safety of women who use the abortion-inducing drugs. He referenced thousands of “adverse effects” including 14 deaths that the federal Food and Drug Administration has documented. The drugs, he added, are approved by the FDA for use in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. In Iowa, telemedicine abortions were allowed up to nine weeks. He also cited a University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll that found 66 percent of Iowans opposed telemedicine abortions.