Week fourteen of the session is done. We have run through nearly all the minor bills and work continues on the remaining four major issues. These four issues are: the budget, property tax reform, education reform, and medical care for poverty level citizens (Healthy Iowa Plan vs. Medicare Expansion). One other issue remaining is the Farm Landowner Liabili
ty issue. The House and Senate are continuing work on resolution for that issue as well. I continue to work on the budget bills that I am assigned to in the Appropriations and Health and Human Services budget committees, and I am thinking ahead to the 2014 session, working on new bills.
Recently Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) hosted constituents at the state capitol. Pictured are Darlene Hanner from Marshalltown, Brad Fisher from Montour, Jo Otta from Garwin, Mary Etta Fisher from Garwin, Rep. Fisher and Joann Katzer from Marshalltown. -Photo provided
Late this past week the House members of the Education conference committee made another offer to their Senate counterparts in an effort to find common ground and achieve an agreement on the plan. The House stood firm on supplemental state aid and one-time funding plan as well as the policy outlined in House File 215, but yielded on several policy points the Senate had indicated they needed, as well as yielding on beginning teacher pay salary minimum by increasing it from $32,000 per year to $33,500. If accepted, this agreement would provide significant funding increases to the schools as well as implement a teacher career ladder and other reforms. It also would provide our Homeschool and Private school families with significant improvements in policy. Hopefully we will reach an agreement this coming week.
Sticking to PrinciplesOn Tuesday, April 16, I participated in the Call to Prayer Day in the capitol Rotunda, joining many of my fellow legislators and many other citizens that attended in signing the Call to Prayer For Iowa proclamation. This event was sponsored by the Iowa Legislative Prayer Caucus, an extension of a bipartisan effort begun in 2005 in the U.S. Capitol. Iowa is the 11th state to take such a step to call for a state day of prayer. The agreement was signed that day by Lt. Governor Reynolds, House Majority Leader Upmeyer, Senate Minority Leader Dix, and later signed by Governor Branstad after he returned from his trip to China. I was honored to have my mother Mary Etta, brother Brad, aunts Joann Katzer and Darlene Hanner, and neighbor Jo Otta join me at the capitol for this event.
On Thursday, April 18, I had the honor of speaking at a High School graduation ceremony at the Iowa Juvenile Home's Herbert Hoover School for three young ladies who had completed their studies. All three of these students had visited the Capitol a few short weeks ago, so I already had the chance to get to know them, making it a special treat for me to give a short address to the families and friends. I wish them the best.