Week five was incredibly busy at the Capitol! We had many groups that wanted to discuss issues with their representatives.
The House debated and passed the K-12 Education Funding Package. The House Plan invests an additional $108 million in new money into Iowa Schools including:
- $94.7 million in general aid
- $7.65 million for rural school transportation costs
- $5.8 million to reduce per pupil inequity by $10 per student
Since Republicans gained the majority in 2011, investment in K-12 has increased by $863 million to an all-time high of nearly $3.3 billion. School funding has never been cut since Republicans have controlled the House. When we make a promise, we keep it.
Another piece of legislation passed this week was a supplemental appropriations bill, which provides an additional $21 million for immediate needs. As you know, much of the state was devastated by flooding last spring with southwest Iowa and eastern Iowa around the Quad Cities being the most affected. Legislators have worked closely with the Flood Mitigation Board to identify critical projects that need investment before more flooding occurs this spring.
Finally, the House Public Safety Committee held a subcommittee to discuss House Study Bill 615, which addresses gun ranges and weapons regulations. Unfortunately, there was much misinformation regarding this bill by opponents. This bill ensures laws remain consistent in Iowa and that local ordinances cannot deprive Iowans of their 2nd amendment rights.
The language of HSB 615 is designed to ensure gun ranges may continue to stay open and operate freely from unreasonable standards or permit rejections because a city or county official does not like firearms.
Also, cities, counties, and often political subdivisions are already prohibited from regulating the ownership and sale of legal firearms. Some potential subdivisions have tried to regulate firearms accessories.
HSB 615 clarifies that only the state can regulate these accessories. This bill keeps weapons laws consistent across the state and prevents political subdivisions from overregulating Iowans of their constitutional rights.
February 20th is the first funnel day of the 2020 legislative session. This means that any legislation not already available for floor debate will be dead for this session.
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