Water Quality Bill
This week SF512 came to the House floor for a vote following a debate, which ended in a 59-41 bipartisan vote in favor of funding legislation that will help water quality in Iowa and throughout the USA. The passing of this bill provides long-term funding for water quality improvements in Iowa, and will help ensure that all Iowans have access to clean drinking water. The bill provides $282 million in new funding over the next twelve years to make improvements in water quality treatment infrastructure and research on the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Many of my constituent’s reached out to me prior to the vote and expressed their support of SF512, which will benefit their families, farms, etc. This is not the end of the water quality discussion though as House Republicans have and will be committed to working on keeping clean drinking water and keeping our lakes, rivers, and streams clean.
Bills of Interest
HF2004 establishes a workforce housing tax credit program that provides tax incentives to applicants who complete certain qualifying housing projects. These credits are capped at $20 million per year with $5 million of that cap being reserved for small city housing projects, which has been altered for the purpose of eligibility to include small cities that are only partially located in one of the eleven most populous counties of Iowa. The reason for redefining small cities was to help small cities that are located within a highly populated county to be eligible for the funds.
HF2013 would give public defenders access to any document that they would require. I believe that public defenders should get resources for free as they are paid for by the citizens of Iowa through taxes. When they are forced to pay for emails, documents, etc. it makes for a higher bill then is necessary for Iowa state citizens to pay.
The passing of this bill would prohibit the use of automated traffic enforcement systems, including red light cameras and speed cameras. This issue has been debated for a long time and I voted yes to end the use of these types of cameras in the Local Government committee.
Managed Care Update
Iowa House Republicans are currently working on managed care issues within Iowa. There are still challenges within the system, but we are working on supporting the patients and providers in our districts. There is no reason the state of Iowa cannot have a successful managed care program as there are forty other states using managed care for their Medicaid programs. If we would go back to the government-run system costs would increase, resulting in a cut to K-12 education and/or tax increases. This is obviously not what I want for our district as I am working to reduce taxes for constituents. Managed care is a necessity for the sustainability of the program to make sure there is not a future risk for vulnerable Iowans. I am still advocating for a change for those that are totally disabled.
One goal of mine is to find money in the budget for transportation costs for public schools in rural areas. I have gone forward with a bill that I believe will help assist our schools in order to cover part of the cost of transporting students to and from school. The 7th Representative District includes some of the school districts within Iowa that bus students in a large radius, which means higher costs and fewer resources. I presented this bill to superintendents, school board administrators, and staff that attended the Capitol on January 24 and many believed that this would help education costs for rural areas of Iowa. I know that we have written about this before, but nothing has been funded. I will do my best to start funding of this issue.
I would like to formally announce that I have decided to run for re-election for the 88th General Assembly. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for the people in my district and believe that we are making a difference for our people. I have appreciated meeting with all of you, learning about your successes and struggles, and striving to help make Iowa a better place for all of my constituents to live in.