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Capitol Highlights

March 28, 2014
By Rep. Tedd Gassman - Representing Iowa House District 7 , Estherville News

The regent universities are asking for the state to provide enough funds so that they don't have to increase tuition next year. In and of itself this is probably a good idea. However, they must do all they can to reduce costs at our universities. The regent universities are in the process of doing just that. They have hired a consulting firm to examine all university business foundations, programs and facilities. Deloitte LLP was recently hired by the board of regents to do this examination. Nothing is off the table, and all ideas and questions are welcome according to a letter written by Sally Mason the president of the University of Iowa. Some of the savings need to be put back into the schools in a form that reduces student's tuition.

UNI will host a forum on April 7th. All three schools also are accepting public suggestions online via websites created for the efficiency initiation. In the months ahead each department and each university will undergo audits and interviews to address what is being done well and what needs to be improved.

This is an opportunity to get involved and express your thoughts on how the regent universities can improve.

We have been working on SF2310, commonly referred to as the "social host bill". Under the bill, a person who is the owner or lessee of, or who otherwise has control over, property that is not a licensed premises, shall not knowingly permit an under legal age person to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage on such property. The bill provides that a person who violates this provision commits a simple misdemeanor for the first offense, punishable as a scheduled violation with a fine of $200, and a simple misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense, punishable by a $500 fine.

There is a difference with some of the social host ordinances passed by our cities and counties, that change deals with the age at which a person could be charged. For a first offense, a person who is 18, 19, or 20 who consumes alcoholic liquor, wine, or beer in violation of the bill commits a simple misdemeanor punishable as a scheduled violation. For a second offense a person commits a simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500. Currently some of the city and county ordinances are stated as under age 21. However, the 18, 19, and 20 year olds will be amended out of the bill leaving a difference between many of the ordinances and the state law. The fines are also different in the ordinances than in the proposed state law.

I had the opportunity to attend the signing of the corn check off legislation in the governor's office. That legislation passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

I encourage anyone to contact me with questions, concerns, and new ideas on how we can improve Iowa even though the 2014 session is coming to an end. It is an honor to be your Representative, and I will continue working hard for all of you and for the great state of Iowa.



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