District 72 Update-Rep. Dean Fisher-Week Six
February 28, 2014
This week was “Funnel Week”, when all bills need to be through committee to be eligible for consideration in the full House. This always generates a frantic push for bills to be run through subcommittee and committee. This also generates a great deal of lobbying activity from citizens as well as the registered lobbyists. Tuesday was a particularly busy day. Dozens of members of the group “Stop RICL” (Rock Island Clean Line) were at the capitol with their bright yellow t-shirts to testify at several subcommittee meetings dealing with putting the brakes on this transmission line proposal. I have been in support of the landowners because of the threat of eminent domain taking prime Iowa farm land, and because this project is not part of an overall power grid plan. Two bills that are part of this effort were passed out of subcommittee on Tuesday; I was a member of one of those bill subcommittees that dealt with requiring these types of power lines to be included in the regional power grid plan. Bills These are a few of the bills that survived the “Funnel Week” that are of interest: Lemon Law - House File 2181 - My bill that increases the vehicles subject to the Lemon Law from those under 10,000 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) to 15,000 lbs. GVW passed the full House by a vote of 97 -0 on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. Child kidnapping - House File 2253 This bill elevates the penalties for kidnapping a child under the age of 15 and eliminates the earned time credit for some offenders. Suppressors - House File 384 This bill allows the purchase of a firearm suppressor in Iowa as long as federal regulations are followed. Suppressors are commonly used in other countries to reduce hearing damage and reduce noise nuisance complaints. Protect children’s identity from theft — House File 2116 Allows parents to protect their children by placing a security freeze on the child’s credit records to protect against identity theft. Home Base Iowa bill package Home Base Iowa is a program initiated by the Iowa National Guard to attract military veterans to Iowa. This package includes; an exemption for military pensions from state income tax; a Military Homeownership Assistance Program that provides a $5,000 down payment or closing cost assistance to eligible veterans; Occupational Licensure assistance by adopting rules allowing credit for military training and experience. Iowa has a shortage of mid-level skilled workers that many military veterans can fill. Iowa Juvenile Home The Iowa Juvenile Home issue continues to take twists and turns. Last week I reported that the Senate removed the name “Toledo” from their bill in an attempt to strike a middle ground. Along with that change language was added to the bill that calls for the new Girls State Training School (GSTS) to be in a location that would be a “state-owned facility that is best able to begin offering services immediately upon enactment”. The dilemma is this: if there is language that is specific enough to designate the GSTS to be in Toledo, then the governor’s office has indicated that he will not sign the bill. However, if the bill does not specify Toledo either by name or by strong enough indirect language, then it is possible that another site will be selected. Furthermore, such a bill would remove the name Toledo from the Iowa Code as the designated location of the GSTS , and once that is done it will be extremely difficult to argue for the GSTS to be in Toledo. I will continue to work on restoring the GSTS in Toledo so that Iowa once again has a home for these troubled teenagers that desperately need help. Forums The Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a series of legislative forums again this year at the Fisher Community Center directly West across from the Hy-Vee main store in Marshalltown. These forums include the three legislators from the Marshall County area, Rep. Mark Smith, Sen. Steve Sodders, and me. The next will be held Friday, February 28 at noon. The forums are every other Friday during the session. These forums are a great way to get an update on what’s happening in Des Moines and voice your concerns; I hope to see you there. In Closing I would encourage you all to come down to the capitol for a visit. If you do, ask for a tour of the capitol dome, Diane will be ready to take you all the way up to the cupola. And of course you will want to take the tour of the rest of the capitol with the regular tour guides. As always, feel free to contact me with your thoughts and concerns about our state government. My contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org 641-750-359.
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