News from Des Moines
This week the bulk of our work was again focused on moving bills through subcommittees on to the full standing committee. In our standing committee meetings this week we voted on the bills that passed through sub committees previously.
Here are the subcommittee bills and their respective standing committees I was involved with last week week:
• Monday: SSB 3052- Veterans Affairs, and SSB 3012- Judiciary
• Tuesday: SSB 3066- Judiciary, SSB 2105- Judiciary, and SF 2086- Judiciary
• Wednesday: SSB 3040- Judiciary, and SSB 3037- Judiciary
• Thursday: SF 2052- Judiciary
I chaired the meetings on SSB 3066, SF 2105, and SSB 3037. SSB 3066 is a bill addressing the governance and operation of certain common interest communities. SF 2015 addresses the possession of contraband in community based correctional facilities. SSB 3037 addresses the statute of limitations for claims on rent.
• SSB 3052 addresses the National Guard.
• SSB 3012 addresses redemption of parcels at tax sales.
• SF 2086 addresses carrying firearms when transporting a student to and from school.
• SSB 3040 is a proposed amendment to the Iowa State Constitution relating to victims’ rights.
• SF 2052 addresses carrying firearms into county courthouses.
After nearly 12 months of research, discussions, and touring different mental health facilities, it is finally time to release the Complex Needs Recommendations bill. This bill will address the access for and the treatment of patients with complex mental health needs. Hats off to all of the individuals involved with the creation of the report, as well as those who devoted the time to help me understand the issues associated to the report. This is an issue where politics should be set aside. We as legislators need to facilitate the environment for prosperity of all Iowans.
Here is a broad look at Senate action for the week:
• Senate Study Bill 3084 in the State Government Committee will increase the amount of alcohol that can be imported to Iowa by an individual. This common-sense reform enhances consumer choice and ends the current prohibition on purchasing and bringing into the state small quantities of alcohol for personal and private use.
• Another bill, SSB 3048, allows the use of blue and white lights on snow plows to prevent car accidents. The program was originally a study planned to sunset next year. After results of the study showed the lights were effective in preventing crashes, it is believed the tactic should be implemented statewide.
• A popular bill has resurfaced at the Capitol — the ban of traffic cameras. While the bill that passed last year regulated the cameras, this bill, SSB 3025, would ban them completely.
• An education bill, SSB 3002, gives the board of directors of a school district the authority to determine the ride time of a student’s bus route. This legislation allows for a more efficient means of creating bus routes by letting districts work with parents in deciding what is appropriate for students in their district. It also extends the school bus ride time from 60 minutes to 75 minutes and can help our local school districts save money.
• One bill moving through the legislative process will be very important and relevant to a number of Iowans. The bill, SF 2054, restricts the ability of consumer reporting agencies to charge a fee to freeze, temporarily unfreeze, or permanently unfreeze a consumer’s credit. Additionally, companies will be required to allow consumers to ask for a freeze by mail, telephone, email or secure online connection. The ability to take this action for free is an important step in maintaining the safety of consumers and especially important due to the security breaches over the last several years.
• Finally, this week in the Education Committee we set the new level of SSA at around $32 million new dollars of spending. This was in addition to the nearly $3.2 billion already appropriated to K-12 education. Yes, 3.2 BILLION dollars already being spent on K-12 education. That is nearly half of the state budget. This sets the new cost per pupil SSA at $6,731, up from the $6,664 level from last year.
State Sen. Jeff Edler can be reached at (641) 751-5902 or firstname.lastname@example.org