Capitol Update Week 12

Education Reform Heads to Conference Committee

This week the Senate finally moved on education reform, taking the bill a step closer to its final form.  House File 215, which the House approved in February, came out of the Senate Education committee on Tuesday and off the Floor on Wednesday.  It was amended with the Senate’s version of education reform, Senate File 423, which the Senate passed late last week.  The House subsequently rejected the Senate’s amendment on House File 215, the Senate insisted on their amendment, putting the bill in conference committee.

While there are similarities between the two versions of the bill, the differences are significant at the moment.  The Senate stripped out nearly all the accountability that existed in the House bill, removed all parental choice, homeschool, and private school provisions, and added various pieces of legislation that the House has not supported over the last several years.  Additionally, the costs are around $40 million more than the House version and the complexity of their system essentially makes it impossible for the program to have any lasting integrity.

The Joint Rules of the legislature state that within one legislative day of the move to conference, the leaders of both houses are to make appointments to the committee.  The committee will consist of 10 members, 3 majority party members from each chamber, and 2 minority party members from each chamber.  Following the appointment, the committee has to then meet before the end of the next legislative, shall select a chair, and shall begin discussion.

A timeline of events

Just as last year, the Senate took a very different track with the education reform bill than the House did.  The House acted early and spent hours in subcommittee and committee on the bill, modifying slightly the governor’s language, sending the bill to the Senate in February.  The Senate, conversely, ignored the House version, held subcommittees on the Governor’s bills, but then introduced its own version in early March, passing it through committee three days later with little discussion.  The senate version was then modified considerably on the Senate Floor, with the Senate sending it to the House one day before the funnel week, leaving no time for House consideration.

The House’s 2013 timeline:

January 15 – HSB 4, the Governor’s language, introduced

January 21, 28, 29, February 5 – Subcommittees

February 13– Education Committee consideration

February 14 – Ways and Means and Appropriations Committee consideration

February 19 – 20 – House Floor Consideration

February 20 – Message to the Senate

The Senate’s 2013 timeline:

January 22 – SSB 1058, the Governor’s language, introduced

January 31, February 6, and 14 – Subcommittees

March 4 – SSB 1228, the Senate’s language, introduced

March 6 – Subcommittee

March 7 – Education Committee consideration

March 26 – Senate Floor consideration

April 1 – HF 215, the House’s language, subcommittee

April 2 – Education Committee consideration

April 3 – Senate Floor consideration

Submit Artwork for 2nd Agriculture Art Award

On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) issued a press release which invited Iowa artists of all ages to participate in the second annual “Celebration of Iowa: Agricultural Art Award” sponsored by the IDALS, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).

The theme for this year’s exhibit is “Cultivating Change.”  The Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award is a juried art exhibit that recognizes Iowa artists and celebrates our state’s role as a global leader in agriculture. Artwork will be judged on innovation of concept, execution of contest theme, and the aesthetic and technical quality of the work.  There is a Youth Division with a $1,000 first place prize and an Adult Division with a $1,500 grand prize. Second, third and honorary award winners also have monetary awards in this prestigious art exhibit.

Exhibit entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges arranged by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.  Eligible participants must be Iowa residents working in 2D or 3D media (film, video, or installation work will not be accepted). All artwork must be original.  A submission form and additional requirements including artwork specifications are available by visiting www.culturalaffairs.org or www.IowaAgriculture.gov.  The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2013.  Inquiries regarding the contest may be directed to Veronica O’Hern, Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, at veronica.ohern@iowa.gov.

Last year entries were received from artists representing 45 Iowa communities.

Recap of Week 12

I have received many emails from you about HSB 225. HSB 225 gives a tax credit to individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, estates, and trusts who contribute to private non-profit schools that award tuition scholarship to students. The bill also increases the total amount of credits given out from 8.75 million dollars to 12 million. It passed out of the House Ways & Means committee this week. I support the bill and it will be eligible for debate on next week.

The deadline for the second funnel is this week. A bill needs to pass out of one chamber and though the committee of the other by Friday April fifth in order to stay alive for the session. Only the Ways & Means Committee is funnel proof.

HF 512, which has to do with mothballing hog facilities, also passed the House this week. Current law states the only way to terminate a manure management facility is to destroy the confinement building. This bill would allow you to notify the DNR and keep the building standing. This will allow older famers to exit the livestock industry while leaving the building intact for the next generation.

The dam reconstruction bill passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee on Wednesday. It has survived the funnel and will be eligible for debate on the Senate floor next week.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about these topics or any others please feel free to contact me by e-mail at lee.hein@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at (515) 281-7330.

Sincerely,

Rep. Lee Hein

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