DES MOINES, Iowa — A bipartisan bill is quickly moving through the Iowa Statehouse aimed to protect taxpayer dollars.
The bill was introduced just last week after news broke of the $4.2 million settlement in the race discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa by former football players.
“We had the subcommittee last week and it went very smoothly, very quickly through subcommittee,” said State Representative Carter Nordman (R), District 47, Adel. “And then today in committee passed unanimously.”
The bill would require athletic departments under the state’s Board of Regents to pay for settlements involving employees or personnel. Taxpayers originally had to cover $2 million from the state’s general fund, but just several days after the university announced that the athletic department would pay the full settlement.
“I commend the University of Iowa for self-evaluating and listening to Hawkeye fans, listening to Iowans,” said Rep. Nordman. “…but obviously this created a conversation where there might need to be some protections that are needed for taxpayers.”
The bill has been moved through quickly with support from both sides of the aisle.
“We’ve got bipartisan support that the regent’s institutions and specifically the employees there should be held accountable for anything that’s happening there and that the taxpayers of Iowa shouldn’t be on the hook for anything.”
After the bill advanced through the full committee in less than one week, the House Republican caucus will discuss the legislation. Rep. Nordman said that the fact the university is going to pay the full settlement amount will not prevent the bill from passing; the legislation is now aimed to make sure taxpayers will not have to eat the cost of a similar situation in the future.