Report, week 13

Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Lee Hein
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-7330
Recap of Week 13
The House has been debating and voting on a variety of appropriations bills this week. The process is going well in the House and the Senate is starting to take up these bills as well. On Wednesday, the Governor signed into law House File 468, an Act relating to preferred stock issued by cooperative associations. This is a bill that I initially sponsored in the Agriculture committee. Also this week I visited with Alan Esch from the Epworth Fire Department. We discussed issues regarding Iowa‘s volunteer firefighter programs.
Last weekend I hosted a public forum in Farley with Rep. Lukan. As always, it was nice to hear input from constituents.
As always, you can contact me at lee.hein@legis.state.ia.us or (515) 281-7330. Also, if you are ever in Des Moines make sure you stop by the Capitol to visit.
Sincerely, Lee Hein
Biennial Budgeting Process
•  House Republicans are committed to approving a budget that funds Iowans‘ priorities while not spending more than the state takes in
•  Governor Branstad has insisted on passage of a biennial budget – due to that insistence, House Republicans will approve a two-year budget but will not give up the Legislative authority to appropriate and insist on the Governor signing a limit to the Governor‘s transfer powers
•  House Republicans are taking a conservative approach to FY 2013 budgeting, targets use a small rate of growth to identify priorities (0.78 percent for budget sub areas, 3.5 percent for the entire budget)
•  The growth rate is less than the historical average of 4% over the past ten years and lower than the Department of Management‘s 3.9% revenue growth estimate
•  Total General Fund expenditures will increase by $209.3 million compared to the House Republican FY 2012 budget targets
•  The bulk of the new money will be used to fulfill commitments made to the property taxpayers and fixing budgeting issues
•  The rate of growth for all budget subcommittee areas (excluding Medicaid) is less than 1 percent compared to the FY 2012 House GOP budget targets
•  Allow more time during the even-numbered sessions to review existing spending and allows for more long-term planning
•  House Republicans intend to have the budget subcommittees meet again in January 2012 and construct budgets using the December 2011 revenue estimate
House Bans Abortion after 20 Weeks
With the new bill passed on the floor last Thursday, HF 657, Iowans would be unable to have an abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy except in cases involving life of the mother. The bill is based on research that a preborn baby at this stage in gestation can feel significant pain.
Five hospitals in the state perform abortions after the 20th week. They are in Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
Democrat‘s argued their research shows a fetus never experiences a state of true wakefulness and instead is kept in a state of sleeplike unconsciousness by chemicals in the uterus. In addition, arguing that at 20 weeks a woman is likely committed to the pregnancy and most likely be choosing an abortion because of a medical condition.
Governor Signs Executive Order Rescinding Iowa RICE Rule
On Monday, April 4, 2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed Executive Order number 72, which rescinds the Iowa ―RICE‖ (reciprocating internal combustion engine) rule. The RICE rule was adopted by the Environmental Protection Commission and went into effect on February 11, 2011. This rule forces back-up diesel generators to be retrofitted with very expensive new parts, even though the engines are rarely used (frequently only 10 to 20 hours a year).
Governor Branstad commented — ― Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I recently joined Iowa House and Senate Republicans on their  ̳Rules and Regulations‘ tour where we learned of many regulations burden Iowa business This administration is serious about removing burdensome regulations. The economic impacts of administrative rules need to be considered when being adopted.‖
Governor Branstad was joined at the press conference by Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton), Rep. Dawn Pettengill (R- Mount Auburn), Pat Stief, of Traer Municipal Utilities, and Greg Fritz, of North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association in Humboldt. Both Steif and Fritz expressed their concerns about the cost and burden being placed upon their business by the RICE rule at ―Rules and Regulations‖ tour stops.
― Sixty-seven Iowa utilities would have added costs because of this rule, which would likely result in higher prices for the Iowa consumer,‖ Branstad added.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently enforces the RICE rule on a federal level, but the EPA is reevaluating it due to the significant costs associated with its implementation. Governor Branstad plans to send the EPA a copy of this executive order to encourage them to reconsider changes to the entire rule, while keeping in mind the economic impact on utilities.
“Plan One” Takes a Trip Across the State for Public Comment
Iowa‘s first look at redistricting, ―plan one,‖ came last week. This week the plan takes to the road for public meetings all across the state. The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Council is charged with holding these public hearings to gather public comment on the plan and summarize those comments into a report. Members of the advisory council include Rose Brown, Lance Ehmcke, Matt Paul, Eric Turner and chairwoman Maggie Tinsman.
The first public meeting was held Monday in Council Bluffs with ICN interactive sites in Mason City, Sioux City, and Spencer. On Tuesday, the council met with the public in Bettendorf. The Wednesday public hearing was in Cedar Rapids with ICN interactive sites in Dubuque, Ottumwa and Waterloo. The final public hearing is Thursday in Des Moines. The sites were picked with the intent that they would cover all four new congressional districts.
After the redistricting tour is over—the advisory council will submit a report based on the comments gathered. Three days after the report is submitted, plan one can be voted on by either chamber. The bill does not ―start‖ in one chamber like budget bills generally do. Whichever chamber calls the bill up on the floor first will have the first opportunity to vote on plan one. The vote must be straight up or down. There can be no amendments.
Based on the above outlined schedule it is likely that the advisory council will submit their report on Friday, April 8 and that plan one will be eligible for debate by either chamber on Wednesday April 13.
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