Funnel-Proof: Regent Accountability and Transparency Act Passes Senate State Government Committee

Bill cracking down on corporate abuses of power by regent leaders Craig Lang and Bruce Rastetter would open up board decision-making to public input and ban revolving door lobbyist hiring

Senator Jeff Danielson’s (D-Waterloo) Regents Accountability and Transparency Act is gaining momentum after it passed out of a state government committee March 7 – passing a key legislative hurdle known as the March 8 legislative funnel.  The measure is now eligible for debate on the floor of the Iowa Senate.

The bill language prevents regents members from engaging in political activities, mandates public comment at every board meeting, creates additional public hearings across the state four times a year, and prevents university lobbyists from being hired who represented a regent or a regent’s business within the last two years.

“From attempting to use Iowa State University to win backing for a corporate landgrab in Tanzania to destroying the Tom Harkin Institute of Public Policy at ISU, to stifling academic freedom at the University of Iowa, the Board of Regents under Craig Lang and Bruce Rastetter’s leadership is out of control,” said Ross Grooters, a CCI Action Fund member from Pleasant Hill.

“Senator Jeff Danielson’s Regents Accountability and Transparency Act draws a clear line in the sand and brings into focus a huge gray area that can help prevent future abuses of power by corporate interests inside of state government.”

Although the accountability and transparency measure passed out of committee on a party-line vote, there are some indications that Senate Republicans may support the measure now that Danielson has dropped language banning political activity by a sitting regent, if an additional provision that allows faculty to appoint a ninth regent member is tweaked.

 

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