In the Legislature
This week was our first funnel week and it is one of the busiest weeks we have in the legislature. The first funnel week is when bills need to be through the committees of the originating chamber in order to be considered for the rest of this legislative session. If they do not pass committee, they are considered dead for this year, but they can be considered again next year.
The funnel is a self-imposed deadline to help us focus on the bills we want to get passed during the session so we can do the people's work in a timely manner and end the session on time. Some of the bills that have been discussed are:
State Senator Jeff Edler
SF 349 raised the limit of tuition grant received by a qualified resident student. This raised the amount to be the average regent tuition and mandatory fees. This bill was passed on the Senate floor with a 50-0 vote.
SSB 1124, the school transportation equity bill, passed the Education committee this week. We discussed this a little bit last week, but this is the bill that would start to bring equity to the funding levels between small and large geographic school districts. Funds approved may only be spent on transportation costs. This bill is important to many rural districts across the state as they seek to provide the best education to their students regardless of where they live in Iowa. We feel it is important to get the funding correctly adjusted to have the most impact on each student's learning.
SF 257 sets forth the steps and considerations for conducting a bass fishing tournament on public water and requires the person conducting the tournament acquire a permit from the DNR. This allows possession of up to five live bass of any length for weigh-in during the tournament so long as they are kept alive and released after weigh-in. This bill was passed on the Senate floor with a 50-0 vote.
SSB 1087 passed out of the Judiciary committee this week. This bill addresses the high cost of medical malpractice insurance in Iowa. We are trying to find a balance between protecting patients' rights and creating an environment where we can attract and retain qualified medical practitioners.
As we continue our work here in Des Moines, please contact me with your thoughts and opinions. I am here to represent you and be your voice in the Iowa Senate.
Workers Compensation Reform
In 2006 Iowa had the 5th lowest cost of workers compensation premiums in the country. This rate was very beneficial to Iowa companies. It allowed them to keep their costs down and be competitive with businesses in other states or other countries. However, over the last 10 years the costs have skyrocketed moving Iowa's workers compensation premium costs to the 24th highest in the country.
This year a coalition of over 250 job creators from across Iowa have banded together in support of SSB 1170 to work to bring balance back to Iowa's system. This bill will crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse of the workers compensation system by restoring predictability and fairness to the system in Iowa that worked so well for nearly a century.
This bill is an important aspect of the pro-growth agenda for Senate Republicans. It will help lower the cost of doing business in this state, providing them with more resources to invest in Iowa and continue to create jobs and opportunities for Iowans.
I'd like to recognize some of the students from Lenihan Intermediate School. They sold kindness grams, which included a nice message and a treat, during February and used the funds to buy $211 dollars worth of pet food and supplies for the Animal Rescue League. This is a very generous act by some of our students and makes me so proud to represent you in Des Moines.
Senator Edler represents Tama, Marshall and a portion of southeastern Black Hawk County in the Iowa Legislature.