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District 72 Update

January 28, 2016
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Garwin , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Newsletter for January 21, 2016

We are finishing our second week of the session and the pomp and circumstance of the first week is behind us and the real work of the Legislature is underway.

The Budget

Article Photos

State Rep. Dean Fisher

Over the next few weeks and months there will be lots of discussion on the budget, and no doubt lots of media coverage. I feel it is important to make sure my constituents understand the issues fully instead of just being fed the sound bites that often dominate the media coverage. I began that in my newsletter last week by spelling out what the revenue history and next year's estimates are.

One area of concern is protecting our cash reserves and economic emergency fund from being appropriated for ongoing expenses. These funds contain $718 million, three fourths of that is for managing cash flow, and one fourth of that is for when cash is needed immediately for emergencies such as natural disasters or economic emergencies. It is never proper to use these funds to increasing spending appropriations. It is tempting for some legislators to want to look to these funds when revenue is not growing as fast as they would like.

However, tapping into these funds creates serious trouble in the following years. First, those reserve funds are not a source of revenue, they are "savings". If a portion of those funds are used for increasing ongoing expenses in one year, then there is an expectation that that increase will be part of the "baseline" for the next, thus those reserve funds may need to be tapped again the next year. In addition, state law requires that reserve fund to be replenished. That creates a scenario where the amount taken in the first year creates a need for double that amount the next.

This is precisely one of the problems created in the 2009-2010 timeframe when the Culver administration used a portion of these funds to increase ongoing spending. Shortly before the start of this year's session some legislative Democrats suggested that these funds need to be used again to ease our budget constraints. Please rest assured that I will not support these kinds of budgetary shenanigans.

Safe At Home Act

The Safe At Home act that I sponsored last year has been implemented and participants were able to register for the program as of January 1st. Safe At Home creates an address confidentiality program within the Secretary of State office for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, human trafficking and child sexual abuse crimes. To date, 14 participants have signed up, and we expect that number to continue to climb slowly as word is spread about this important program. I have filed a bill to revise the Safe At Home act that seeks to restrict when a court can order the program participant to disclose their physical address. It also specifies that persons in other states that are participants in other address confidentiality programs will have the same protections in Iowa courts. This is in response to an actual case where an ex-husband used the court to obtain the victims new address in another state that she had fled to and resumed to harassing her in that state.

I would love to have you come down to the Capitol any Monday through Thursday to visit, discuss your concerns with me, and take a tour of this beautiful building. It is one of Iowa's treasures. We can even arrange a tour for you up to the capitol cupola on top of the dome!

As always, please feel free to contact me at or 641-750-3594.



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