State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) conducted his first listening posts of the 2013 legislative session in Tama County on Friday, Jan. 25, with meetings in Tama and Traer.
At the Tama Library, he laid out his vision for what new legislation will be in front of lawmakers and what likely won't go any where.
This year, Sodders is serving as President Pro Tem of the Iowa Senate, the number three leadership position in that legislative body.
State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) -right center in picture -talks about the Iowa Legislative session currently underway in Des Moines during a listening post at the Tama Public Library on Friday, Jan. 25. Sodders represents Tama, Marshall and a portion of Black Hawk County in the Iowa Senate where he holds leadership roles. News-Herald/John Speer
Here's some of what he had to say to the one half-dozen people gathered at Tama Friday afternoon:
a centralized law enforcement and emergency response training facility for Iowa is an important project for the senator. Sodders, who also serves as a Marshall County deputy sheriff, said funding for the operation could be a two percent property insurance surcharge which would then include some funding from non-profits and others which are not subject to property tax such as churches, hospitals and schools. However, they do routinely carry property tax insurance.
expect no major action on any gun bill. He said a couple of loopholes in recent legislation do need to be closed. One, he believes, prohibits an off-duty peace officer from carrying a firearm on school property. He said some, agencies require officers to be armed when off duty. Persons taking concealed weapons permit training on line are apparently able to avoid qualifying with firearms. Sodders says this provision needs to be shored up so all applicants must be qualified to obtain a permit. He also mentioned adding a way for sheriffs to deny issuing concealed weapons permits to persons with past mental health issues.
he also proposes expanding funding for the beginning farmer program, adoption of the "Hire a Hero" military tax credit for businesses, support for niche farming, improvement or rural access to high-speed internet service and the overhaul of Iowa's mental health service system.