The high school girl’s basketball tournament is going on in Des Moines this week, and the boys will be in town next week. At this time of the year, the average high temperature is 40 degrees.
Unfortunately, we are not even close to that, and the forecast shows little improvement. The cold, snow, wind and ice make travel a little more difficult than usual. So if you are coming to Des Moines for basketball, take your time and arrive safely to enjoy the action.
Next week is the eighth week of session, and Friday will be the first funnel deadline. This means House bills must be voted out of committee in order to remain eligible for debate. Our schedules for next week came out early, and as expected, there are extra time slots for committee meetings.
There will be no floor debate or budget subcommittee meetings. All time slots are reserved for standing committees as they need to finish their work by Friday. Funnel week is hectic. Must-do legislation will move forward but most bills will die for the year. The process may be a little hectic, but it is also very orderly and we will move on to the next step.
Budget subcommittees are done meeting and budget chairs here in the House are pouring over spreadsheets. Several individual budgets are actually near completion, and I hope we will begin moving these bills soon.
We are ready to roll here in the House. If we keep pushing, there is a really good chance the legislature could adjourn early, saving the taxpayers of Iowa thousands of dollars.
The week following the first funnel is when we will start to debate bills on the House floor. To begin with, most of the bills will be non-controversial and pass easily. Work continues on legislation related to gun rights, mental health, taxes, Medicaid, sports betting and judicial selection.
These bills will need a little more time, study, and negotiations and if something fails to pass the Legislature this year, they remain alive for next year.
In 2008, the Legislature created the SAVE Fund which is a one-cent sales tax, to help schools make much-needed investments in crumbling school infrastructure.
SAVE has served as an important tool for schools to make important improvements that ensure modern facilities, safe classrooms, and state of the art technology that enhance students’ educational experience. However, SAVE is set to expire in 2029, which is making it difficult for schools to secure financing for critical infrastructure projects.
The House passed an extension of SAVE last session, but it did not move forward in the Senate. Extending SAVE is a top priority for House Republicans this session, and we have already begun advancing legislation that would do this through 2050.
The bill, House File 546, has passed both the Education and Ways & Means committees overwhelmingly and in a bipartisan fashion.
You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or home at 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@example.com.