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State Rep. Fisher reports - Week 3

February 6, 2015
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Garwin , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Week 3

Committee work on bills is in full swing. The committees and appropriations sub-committees are not only moving bills, but they are also hearing updates from the various departments and organizations they fund. For example, on Monday we had a three hour marathon Appropriations meeting where we heard from the board of Regents on funding for the three state universities. Discussed was the new formula for distributing the funds between the three universities that is based partly on the number of Iowa students they are serving.

Thursday in the Public Safety meeting we heard from the Criminal Investigation Crime Lab on Synthetic Cannabinoids. These drugs are complex chemical formulations that are sprayed on plant matter and smoked under the premise that it is synthetic marijuana. These drugs can be hundreds of times more potent than herbal marijuana and they are extremely dangerous.The producers change the formulas rapidly to avoid the law and sell these drugs legally in gas stations and other shops around the state.

Article Photos

Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) met with students from Marshalltown Community College at the Capitol this week. The group came to attend Community College Day on the Hill where they met with legislators and toured the historic Capitol building.
-Photo provided



The Budget

Tuesday we debated two bills that increased funding for K-12 schools. The bills set the rate of increase at 1.25% per the governor's recommendations. The House is dedicated to not spend more than we take in, since revenue coming into the state is much lower than anticipated, the percentage increase is lower than some desire. House Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to amend the bills for a 6% increase, nearly $240 million in spending that would have increased spending well beyond our revenue estimate. Both bills passed without amendment. The bills now go to the Senate.

My Bills

House File 5 - Principal Sharing Bill - Iowa school funding allows for incentives to share positions between school districts. This bill adds the position of school principal to that list of positions. This bill passed subcommittee on Thursday.

Let Kids be Kids Act - I will be filing a bill to require schools to include a policy that a child using his fingers, a pencil, or other object to simulate a gun cannot be disciplined unless he is otherwise causing a disturbance. This bill is in response to incidents around the nation where kids have been disciplined severely for "playing cops and robbers", play where they pretend to have a gun or make gun like noises. The bill also allows t-shirts, etc. that might show a hunting scene or pro-2nd Amendment messages.

HF 16 - Divorce from an Abuser - This bill that I spoke about in my January 15th newsletter will prevent a spouse whose spouse is in prison for domestic abuse from having to pay for the abusers attorney in order to obtain a divorce. A subcommittee hearing was held on Wednesday morning to give the public and lobbyists an opportunity to speak for or against this bill. The lobbyist from the Bar Association identified some potential issues with the bill based on previous case law and other statutes that might impact it. This bill will be deferred while we study the suggested changes to improve the bill.

Visitors

During the week I had the pleasure of welcoming The Student Senate from Marshalltown Community College. These students were in town for a statewide meeting of the Student Senates from all the community colleges. I also had the pleasure of meeting with Alicia Lidtke of the Elberon EMS services who was visiting with EMS services members from across the state to lobby for issues affecting them.

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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