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District 72 Update

Back in session

January 23, 2015
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Garwin , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The 2015 Legislative Session is well underway. The first week as always is filled with tradition and formality.

Monday morning we were sworn in for the 86th General Assembly. We have 17 new members of the House and one seat still open awaiting a special election. That seat was vacated by Rep. Costello who successfully filled the Senate seat formally occupied by Senator Joni Ernst. Later that day we picked out our desks in order of seniority. I remain in seat 28. The House stands at 56 Republicans and 43 Democrats with the one seat yet to be filled.

Tuesday was the governor's Condition of the State address in which he called for the legislature to continue working together for the betterment of Iowa.

Article Photos

State Rep. Dean Fisher
R-Garwin

He outlined several initiatives including continuing to focus on broadband internet access.

This is known as the "Connect Every Acre" initiative. The governor also called for renewed focus on combating domestic abuse and bullying.

Wednesday was the Chief Justice's Condition of the Judiciary address. One of the significant achievements noted was moving the Iowa court system to an on-line and completely paperless system.

Chief Justice Cady also called for a renewed emphasis on reducing racial disparities in the judicial system.

Thursday marked the first full day of committee work and bills filed earlier in the week were read in and assigned to committees. This year I will again be serving on the Natural Resources committee as vice chair.

I also serve on Appropriations, Public Safety, and the Education Budget Subcommittee. I will also serve on the Environmental Protection committee until the special election for district 23 is done.

The Budget

This year's budget will be difficult because revenue has not materialized as projected.

Our fiscal year 2016 revenue projection is set for $7.2 billion, much lower than previous projections and only $200 million more than the fiscal year 2015 budget of $6.98 billion. Spending committed to in our 2013 and 2014 sessions alone total up to the $200 million before we add in school aid growth or salary increases for state employees.

We will be working to resolve the issues that result from this drop in revenue growth.

My Bills

We began to file bills this week. My first bill will correct an injustice in the judicial system.

In a specific case where a husband was in prison for an act of violence against his wife, and the wife is requesting a divorce, current law required the wife to pay $500 so the husband could have an attorney.

This was required because the husband refused to sign any paperwork or hire an attorney. This bill will correct that absurdity by allowing the court to grant a decree of dissolution without a hearing in those situations.

My Clerk for 2015

My Legislative Clerk this year is Collin Brecher from La Porte City. I got to know Collin's grandparents Marvin and Marlene Brecher during my campaign in 2012 and they introduced me to Collin and his family. Collin is a student at the University of Northern Iowa studying political science.

His job as my clerk will earn him credits towards his graduation.

Collin is an exceptionally enthusiastic, intelligent and hardworking young man; he will serve district 72 well in this capacity. If you can visit us in the capitol, be sure to let me know so Collin can take you on a trip up to the cupola on top of the capitol dome.

As always, feel free to contact me at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov with your thoughts and concerns about our state government.

 
 
 

 

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