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Funnel Week wrap

February 21, 2010
By State Sen. Tim Kapucian (R-Keystone)
Hello once again from the Senate Chamber. This was week five of the 2010 legislative session. Funnel week at the Capitol just wrapped up and that means that if a bill didn’t make it out of a Senate or House committee, it has officially died. We ran through many bills this week in an effort to keep important bills alive. One bill that made it through the committee process leaves us scratching our heads. The bill is intended to reduce disease passed between deer and other animals. It essentially bans Iowans from feeding wildlife. This Department of Natural Resources bill would make it a misdemeanor for children to feed ducks at a public park or for you to feed the birds at your summer cabin. This is yet another ridiculous bill moving through the Legislature.

On Wednesday, the Senate Transportation committee passed SSB 3070, a bill that would ban texting while driving. Earlier in the week, the House Transportation committee passed the same concept, HF 2021, onto the House Floor.

The bill, which is now eligible to be debated on the Senate Floor, would prohibit any person from writing or sending a text message while driving unless the vehicle is at a complete stop off the road. “Text message” is defined as a text-based message, an instant message (IM), or electronic mail (e-mail). The legislation still allows a driver to use a voice-operated or hands-free device to write or send text messages.

If a person is convicted of texting while driving, he or she would be found guilty of a simple misdemeanor and receive a scheduled fine of $30, which after court costs would cost a total of $100.50. However, only warnings will be issued during the first year of implementation (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011).

If a serious injury is caused due to texting while driving, a fine of up to $500 could be imposed and/or the person’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to 90 days. If an accident resulting in death due to texting while driving was to occur, a person could receive a fine of up to $1,000 and / or the person’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to 180 days.

If this legislation were to pass both the House & Senate, and be signed by the Governor, Iowa would join 19 other states to ban texting while driving.

If you remember, last year we debated implementing a Bio-diesel mandate. Well, this year we are set to debate an ethanol mandate that would require all gasoline in the state of Iowa, with the exception of small engines and marine engines, to contain no less than 10% ethanol. Also, the Bio-diesel bill was in the House and didn’t make it out of committee..

As you know, I don’t like mandates. While I fully support and use bio-fuels, I don’t like telling someone else they have to use it. Let me know how you feel. This was one of my toughest issues last year and I want to be sure I am representing the citizens of District 20.

Because we had so many committee meetings this week, it didn’t leave much time for debate on the Senate floor. We did manage to unanimously pass what’s being called Jeremiah’s Bill. The bill is named after a young man who was hit and killed by a red light runner. The bill imposes stiffer penalties and fines on drivers who run a red light and cause serious injury and death. Previously, those people who ran red lights were given what amounts to a slap on the wrist with no serious consequences.

Expect some potentially controversial bills next week as Funnel week is now over.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments. I am proud to represent you at the Capitol and work on common sense legislation that benefits my constituents.

Please feel free to contact me: or 515 281-3371.

Senator Tim Kapucian represents portions of Tama and Iowa counties andthe conuties of Benton and Iowa in the Iowa Legislature.

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State Sen. Tim Kapucian



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