Capitol Update: Week 12

Important Legislation Passed in the House

Protecting victims of domestic abuse and stalking

The House passed legislation this week that protects victims of domestic abuse.  House File 263 ensures that habitual domestic abusers serve a minimum amount of time in prison.  This will provide survivors and victims of abuse with more time to remove themselves from a bad situation while abusers serve their sentence.

Exceptions to fail first insurance policies

House File 233 will give patients and medical providers more control over their healthcare.  The bill provides a number of exceptions so that patients can get the medicine they need without having to go through treatments that aren’t effective as a way for insurance companies to save money.  This will ensure that sick Iowans get the medications that their doctors recommend without having to go through a number of ineffective treatments first.

Protecting private property rights

We took a strong stand for private property rights with the passage of House File 603 this week.  For many years, the House attempted to advance legislation that protect the rights of private property owners, only to see those efforts die in the Senate.

Encouraging growth in Iowa’s craft breweries and distilleries

Over the last decade, the popularity of microbreweries and distilleries, and the products they make, has grown among many Iowans.  This bill will help continue the growth of the craft beer and spirits industries, creating new jobs and bringing more tourism to Iowa.  This legislation brings much-needed parity between the different sectors of Iowa’s alcohol industry.

Budget Update

The Governor’s revised FY 18 budget spends $173 million less than his original budget proposal released in January.  But still increases FY 18 spending $24 million over the FY 17.

While there were complaints about the “low” education funding number passed earlier this session, it’s clear that K-12 education will be receiving the largest funding increase in all areas of government.  Many other areas will see budget reductions.

We expect to release budget targets as soon as possible and then begin the process of approving the FY 18 budget.

We expect to have a plan that pays back any money borrowed from the Cash Reserve Fund.  Those repayments will be made in both FY 18 and FY 19 budgets.

Thankfully, we rejected over $1 billion in additional spending plans offered by the House minority over the last two years.  Without that strong stand, key areas like local school budgets would be facing deep cuts.  Iowans can count on us to stand strong against reckless government spending ideas.

Promoting Careers of the Future

Senate File 274 is a first step in addressing a skills gap for businesses across the state by incentivizing and encouraging school districts to provide quality computer science courses in grades K through 12.

It creates standardization across the state for expectations, high-quality components of courses, and training for teachers.  It provides new opportunities for licensure and pathways into teaching computer science for tech professionals outside the field.  A workgroup is also established to recommend additional ways to provide opportunities to Iowa’s children to work towards jobs in a high-paying, in-demand career.

News from District 96

This week was the second funnel.  All policy bills that originated in the Senate must make it through a house committee. This further reduces the number of bills that are available for discussion.  Next week the focus will turn towards the budget and moving towards the end of session.

On Tuesday we passed a bill out of Agriculture from the Senate that protected Fairs from being sued if someone becomes sick from an animal.  The Fair must post a sign stating the risk of illness in order to receive this protection.

The Governor signed the Ag Nuisance Lawsuit Bill this week.  I was glad to see this positive piece of legislation make it through the process this year.  I also had the opportunity to visit with the Young Pork Producers and discuss issues that were important to them.

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