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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community

March 8, 2019
By State Senator Jeff Edler - R-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

In the Legislature

This was the seventh week of the 2019 legislative session, and a week busy with subcommittee meetings. Next week is the first funnel week of the year, meaning Senate bills need to be out of Senate committees in order to be considered for the rest of the year. This does not apply to bills that are in Appropriations, Ways & Means, or Government Oversight committees.

Senate Study Bill 1190 is currently going through the Education Committee. It eliminates regulations such as the requirement school districts use environmentally-friendly cleaning products or requiring notice of a public hearing in a newspaper, and instead allowing online notice. This bill simply removes these mandates for schools, but schools will still retain the authority to continue those practices.

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State Senator Jeff Edler

These mandates are only a few of the regulations the bill cuts from the Iowa Code, reducing mandates on our schools, and putting the power back in the hands of those it should be with our local school boards. Decisions such as these are best made at the local level with local school boards. A previous version of the bill eliminated state requirements for school districts to have librarians and nurses. That section of the bill was amended in committee and districts will continue to be required to have those positions.

Senate Study Bill 1197 started made its way through the Senate Human Resources subcommittee process on Wednesday. This bill builds on the success of last year's complex needs bill, which closed gaps in adult system for people with complex mental health concerns. SSB 1197 establishes a children's behavioral health system in the state of Iowa. This bill is a result of an executive order by Governor Reynolds and recommendations from a workgroup on mental health in Iowa. Many people showed up for the subcommittee to discuss what they liked about the bill and additions they thought would be beneficial for the state. I am honored to have the responsibility of managing this bill through full committee next week, as well as floor managing the bill.

The Children's Behavioral Health System recommendations have come as a result of many individuals and organizations working together to find solutions. I would like to thank all of the local and state organizations, legislators, and especially Governor Reynolds and her staff for their work to make the creation of this system a reality.

A Responsible Budget for Iowa

This week, Senate Republicans released budget targets for the next fiscal year. The overall budget of $7,619,300,000 is the same amount of funding allocated for the previous fiscal year, but includes millions of new dollars in spending. This is possible due to one-time expenditures we had last year that are not required this year.

The budget targets proposed implement a sustainable, responsible, and conservative budget that funds our priorities in education, health care, and public safety all while providing millions in additional tax relief for hard-working Iowans.

With the release of these numbers, budget negotiations with the governor and the House of Representatives will continue as all parties work to move Iowa forward. This budget puts dollars in areas that are priorities for Iowans. Senate Republicans remain committed to Iowa taxpayers and the responsibility of spending their hard-earned money wisely, and we are dedicated to putting this money towards policies to grow our state.

Repealing nonlinear death tax

In a state with a strong small business in presence, the death tax can lead to situations where those who inherit a family farm or business are forced to sell all or a portion of it to pay the taxes due to the government. The value of the assets is high but the accompanying cash is limited and inadequate to pay the tax.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee recently passed Senate File 1 out of committee and made it eligible for consideration by the full Senate. This bill would eliminate the inheritance tax in Iowa. As the bill is currently written the repeal is effective on July 1, 2019 and would apply to any deaths occurring on or after that date. It would finally end the confiscatory practice of double taxation in this state and would eliminate that hardship for some Iowa families.

Senator Edler is the chair of the Local Government Committee and the vice chair of the Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. Additionally, I serve on the Agriculture, Education, Human Resources, International Relations, Veterans Affairs, and Ways & Means committees.

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