Sweeney from the Iowa Senate

We are finishing up the fourth week of this year’s session, and we remained as busy as ever as we worked on many major priorities in the legislature. It was a pleasure to meet with students from all across the district during FFA Day on the Hill on Tuesday. High school students came and visited the Capitol to meet with their legislators, talk about agricultural issues, and learn more about their state government and how it works. It is always interesting to hear their questions and what topics they want to know more about throughout our discussion. I appreciate them taking the time to come visit us.

I have received numerous calls, emails, and personal meetings on the proposed reform of Area Education Agencies (AEA). It passed a Senate subcommittee this week. It is our job to look at state agencies and departments and areas we are investing in and see how they can be improved or changed.

That responsibility is why this bill is important. The point of starting this discussion in the subcommittee is learning more about the system, and working together to figure out how we can make this system work better for the students that need it. A big question for me is the special education piece as we spend $5300 more per pupil on special education funding than the national average.

We have ranked 30th or worse in assessments. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Improvements need to be made but let’s not forget the services our rural schools desperately need.

Topics included this week, religious freedom, traffic cameras, and hands-free devices. As we get closer to the first major legislative deadline of the year, I am sure we will continue discussing many large topics while we work through legislation and find out what has enough support to move forward.

In addition to these topics, subcommittees and committee meetings were held on the ownership of Iowa land by foreign entities. In Iowa, we are very fortunate previous lawmakers saw the urgency to craft legislation to protect Iowa’s greatest asset….our farm ground. This week in committee (click here) An Act relating to interests in Agricultural land acquired or held by a foreign business. This bill requires foreign entities to list all their interests, contacts, and partners. A very inclusive bill to protect what we have.

Last week I wrote about your property’s abstract, not including a drainage district designation. click here: An act requiring that land within a levee or drainage district be included in an abstract to Title. What inspired me the idea for this bill…reading abstracts and visiting with an individual that just bought his first home. One day he received a notice in the mail for a drainage assessment. He had no idea his property was in a drainage district. This bill is about transparency!

American Cream Horse is back! It passed out of the sub-committee this week! Click here to see the bill: American Cream Draft Horse. Yes, you have seen it before, but last year we ran out of time. This horse was developed in the Radcliffe area. The only draft horse to be developed in the United States. Let’s make it our state horse!!!

Be Safe, Senator Sweeney.

Annette Sweeney, a Republican from Buckeye, represents District 27 in the Iowa House.