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Distrcit 72 Update

May 1, 2015
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Garwin , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Week 14

This Tuesday was marked by another tradition, the induction of new members to the Pioneer Lawmakers. These are legislators, legislative staff, and registered lobbyists that have marked 20 years since they were first elected or began work at the capitol. The ceremony is a joint session of the House and Senate. Tuesday evening held another ceremony, an annual memorial service for those lawmakers that have passed away in the past year. I know the families of these legislators greatly appreciate the ceremony.

We also passed the first budget bill of the session, House File 630, which allocates Federal Block Grant funds to the associated state programs. These include substance abuse, child care, homeless transition, Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and many other programs. None of these funds are from the state General Fund.

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State Rep. Dean Fisher

We were disappointed to learn early this week that the Senate had issued their own budget targets for the various budget bills. The House leadership had been working with the Senate to set joint targets this week instead of separate targets for each chamber. Joint targets help the process run much more smoothly. The Senate's targets spend $7.357 billion, $182 million more than our revenue estimate of $7.175 billion. The House Republicans remain committed to sound budgeting principles. We will not spend more on ongoing expenses than our revenue estimate.

Bills of Note

HF 585 - Safe At Home Act - On Wednesday the Senate took up this bill and amended it to create a separate Revolving Account in the Treasury and then passed the bill 45-0. The bill now comes back to the House to see if we concur with the amendment. This amended version will likely come to the Floor of the House early next week, I expect its passage in the House and that we will send it to the governor. The Secretary of State's office continues to hold meetings in counties across the state to educate the local authorities on this program and to obtain feedback. I have attended several of these, including meetings in Marshall County, Jasper County, Johnson County, and just this week we held a meeting at the capitol for Polk County authorities. We are receiving strong support from law enforcement, county authorities, and those working to help victims of domestic violence.

SF 385 - Criminal Case Expungement - This bill allows a defendant, prosecutor, or the court itself to apply to have a criminal record expunged in cases where the case is dismissed or no conviction is obtained. There is a 180 day waiting period unless the charge is the result of identity theft. Deferred judgements will not be expunged.

HF 449 - Psychiatric Bed Tracking System - This bill directs the Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop an in-patient psychiatric bed tracking system. Once a court-ordered mental health commitment is entered, the clerk of court is required to utilize the tracking system to check availability and reserve an available bed. The cost of developing this system is estimated at $200,000. A system of this nature is long overdue; currently law enforcement and the mental health community must make multiple phone calls to check for an available bed.

As always, feel free to contact me at with your thoughts and concerns about our state government.



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