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Senator Sodders gives insight into upcoming session

January 8, 2015
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Editor's Note: State Senator Steve Sodders (D- State Center) represents Tama, Marshall and a portion of southern Black Hawk County in the Iowa Senate where he is Senate President Pro Tempore and chair of the Economic Growth Committee. He also serves on the Judiciary, Agriculture, Labor & Business, State Government, Veterans Affairs, and Rules & Administration committees.

He responded to questions from The Chronicle and also gave his view of the upcoming state legislative session which begins next Monday, Jan. 12.

Gas tax

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

This is an area the Governor will have to lead on. He has given no real plan at this point. The Senate is ready to work with the Governors and House Republicans proposals on raising taxes for roads and bridges. I would caution constituents to pay attention to those proposals as fees are being thrown around as a possible way to raise funds. The gas tax in Iowa is Constitutionally protected to roads and bridges, fees are not and revenues from these could be spent anywhere.

School Start Date

I have maintained this should be made at the local school board level. I believe have the Iowa Department of Ed decide which school district is worthy or not is bad policy. Locals folks can decide on best school start dates that fit their communities.

Cedar Rapids Casino

I will oppose the Cedar Rapids plan on a new casino. We have a possess in Iowa that is fair and that group has determined a casino in Cedar Rapids would not be good for this area of Iowa. Additionally, Meskwaki is the largest employer in my District and the plan in Cedar Rapids could reduce jobs from the District I represent.

Iowa Juvenile Home /

State Training School for Girls

We are still waiting for the Supreme Court to hear our case on the illegal closing of the home. Remember a lower court found the Governors action violated the constitution. The Senate will still look at ways to address what's happening to these Iowa girls in need of help. If the facility is not re opened, which will take help from the IA House of Representatives, then we need to find ways to put facility to use, preferably on the tax rolls for the area.

Education

The Senate will follow Iowa law to provide money to districts for per pupil funding. We will look at freezing tuition increases at our colleges and Universities. Priorities in the Senate are still to increase STEM areas. Budgets will be tight with lower commodity prices, and what the Senate passed on lowering property taxes.

Senator Sodders' Statement:

"I'm am the Chair of Judiciary in the Senate, I will be the second non-lawyer to hold this position in Iowa's history.

"We will be looking at moving Cannibas to a Schedule II controlled substance ( which means it has some medical value) from a Schedule I (which is a substance with no medical value).

"We will look at prison population impacts, community courts, Veterans courts and ways to reduce these numbers to save tax payer dollars."

 
 
 

 

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