Update for District 72-Rep. Dean Fisher
April 12, 2013
Week twelve of the session is done. We continue to debate bills on the floor of the House, but the pace has slowed dramatically this week due to the funnel. The second funnel requires each chamber to run the other chamber's bills through its committee process for these bills to remain alive. We have run through the House initiated bills and have run the bills sent over by the Senate through committee and the Floor as well. The more difficult work of major initiatives for the year still looms. These are: the budget, property tax reform, and education reform. The House has passed nearly all of the major House initiated Appropriations bills, sending them to the Senate. The Senate has sent one Senate initiated Appropriation bill to the House. The House has been waiting for the Senate to return the Education Reform bill since February 20. Finally, the Senate did return their version of the Education reform bill late Wednesday. The House considered this bill on Thursday morning, voting down the Senate's version and setting up a joint House/Senate conference committee. This committee was selected immediately and has begun work on reconciling the two version of the bill. Both chambers will then have the opportunity to vote up or down on the conference committee bill. Regulation A recent Des Moines Register article highlighted Iowa's ranking amongst the states is 46th in regards to regulation of businesses. According to the article, we regulate more professions than most, and require much longer training periods than most. In other states it takes eight days of training to become qualified to inspect pipes and tanks. In Iowa, it takes 738 days. Iowa requires travel agents and even sign language interpreters to have a license. Iowa requires a barber or cosmetologist to have 2,100 hours of training. No other state requires more, 47 require less. We need to work on streamlining Iowa's licensing requirements in order to unleash our entrepreneurs in the state. I am starting to work with business to identify areas with potential for the most gain in the next legislative session. I do not expect this work to be easy however; but I believe they are important to the growth of our state. My First Bills - an Update The first bill I filed, now House File 608, a bill to allow insurance companies the right to restitution, is still alive in the House. After passing the Commerce committee, the bill was diverted to the Judiciary committee because of questions regarding its effect in court cases. The bill was amended in Judiciary to limit the restitution to property losses, excluding medical claims in particular. This was done to prevent a case concerning medical claims that could drag out for months or years from slowing down the court case against a criminal. Unfortunately the bill is now too late to meet the second funnel. This bill is still eligible for the 2014 session, so I will continue to push it through the process in hopes of getting it passed next year. My bill to add the Declaration of Independence as a requirement for High School Social Studies to the Iowa Code has also been held up in committee. It was unlikely to be considered by the Senate, and is somewhat redundant considering the Iowa Core Curriculum requires that the Declaration be taught. I still believe that this requirement belongs in the Iowa Code and Core Curriculum; I will continue to press it in the next session. I will continue to work on my bill to restrict energy drinks from minors in hopes of running the bill through in the next session. It is a difficult bill to draft because the definition of an energy drink is fairly subjective. Most likely I will end up basing the definition on the total amount of caffeine, including caffeine contained in herbal ingredients. Currently energy drink labels do not include the caffeine that exists in these herbal ingredients, nor the amount of the herbal ingredient, so the total caffeine content can vary dramatically. Closing Comments Thursday April 4, I had the pleasure of welcoming the Marshalltown Community College Student Senate to the House chamber. I also joined them for an informal meeting with Governor Branstad in his office. I was impressed with the poise and confidence that these students demonstrated as they interacted with the Governor. A great event to attend is the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition 12th Annual Spring Kickoff Event with Special Guest Speaker Senator Rick Santorum. This event is on Monday, April 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Des Moines Christian School, 13007 Douglas Parkway Urbandale, IA 50323. For more information or to RSVP - firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 515.225.1515 For more details go to the IFFC website at http://ffciowa.com/ Also coming up is the Iowa Call to Prayer Day, Tuesday, April 16 at the Iowa State Capitol from 12:00 - 1:00 PM. You can join your national and state elected leaders as we stand together in prayer with fellow Iowans. You can also add your name to the historic Call to Prayer Proclamation. The next Marshalltown Chamber Legislative Forum is scheduled for Friday, April 12, at noon at the Fisher Community Center in Marshalltown. I would encourage you all to come visit me at the capitol during session. Monday afternoons through Thursdays are best for a visit. Please call or email me ahead so I can be sure to greet you and personally show you the House Chamber and take you on a tour up to the top of the dome. We can also arrange a guided tour of this stunningly beautiful building that is "The Peoples House." As always, I look forward to hearing from you, and I look forward to seeing you around the district, or down here at the capitol.
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