The sixth week of the session has been busy. This has been a funnel week, which means that bills must be passed out of a committee in order to move on. This is the time when most bills will “die” for the year. It is too early to know what survives and what falls by the wayside. I will report on this in future newsletters.
One bill that appears to be finished for the year is the death penalty legislation. The House threw in the towel last week, and on Tuesday of this week, the Senate said it will not advance the bill. We are almost to the half-way point of the session, so it is time to start “throwing stuff overboard” that does not have enough support.
One bill that did advance in the House was a measure which will make about $37 million in budget adjustments to FY 18. The bill passed from the House Appropriations Committee, and will most likely be debated on the House floor next week. The House bill protects K-12, Medicaid and the Highway Patrol from additional cuts.
The Appropriations Committee also moved legislation that would appropriate $11.2 million to help schools that have above average transportation costs cope with expenses. This is much needed legislation, as some of our schools spend almost $1,000.00 per student on transportation, while others spend virtually nothing. This bill will buy down transportation costs for districts that have costs over $432.00 per pupil. I supported the bill in committee and it now moves forward to the House floor.
The Des Moines Register has been doing some polling recently, asking for Iowan’s opinions on various issues currently before the Legislature. It would appear Iowans oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, but strongly support its use for medicinal purposes. They approve of the death penalty for certain crimes, and are against automated traffic cameras. They also support the fireworks legislation that passed last session. It is always interesting to read the results of these polls.
Although the House and Senate have agreed on a school transportation funding bill, we have not yet finalized the school aid legislation which was passed by both chambers last week. I don’t believe there is a problem with the numbers being in agreement. It appears to me that the Senate will not move the school aid bill until the House sends them the transportation funding legislation. In the meantime, schools wait for a decision.
The high school wrestling tournament begins this week, and the basketball championships will soon follow. Best wishes to all of our young people as they compete in all types of events.
Finally, on a personal note, I have announced that I will seek re-election to the Iowa House this fall. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of House District 3, and I look forward to working with everyone in the future.
You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home is 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. My home address is P. O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at [email protected].