Capitol Comments, March 11, 2016

This was a very busy week at the Capitol, with multiple subcommittee and committee meetings, as well as daily debate. The Rural Caucus has also continued to meet with leaders throughout the state to develop an alternative to the Governor’s water quality plan.

Even though we have had moments of disappointment this week, we have been encouraged by those bipartisan efforts to address issues such as bullying, tax coupling, and state government transparency. Furthermore, the City of Independence has been awarded a $100,000 grant for the Independence Aquatic Center Project. This project will include an 8,070 square foot pool, two diving towers, floatable water walk, single flume waterslide, shade structure, bathhouse, concession stand, and party shelter.

Unfortunately, House Republicans continued to put off many of the most important issues such as education funding, rural opportunity zones, and Medicaid oversight. Iowa law requires that school Supplemental State Aid be set 18 months in advance, and yet we find ourselves in the same situation as last year with House Republicans refusing to compromise or bring to the floor any of the numerous bills passed by the Senate. This causes turmoil for our school districts in their budgeting process, and if it is not handled soon, will result in a host of issues that harm our children the most.

In addition to educational concerns, the lack of oversight of the Governor’s Medicaid privatization effort is disconcerting. This transition from public to privately run Medicaid was never approved through legislation, and the rapid implementation is unprecedented. I have had many constituents reach out to me for help, and I find myself equally frustrated with the lack of answers from those in charge of this transition.

It is my honor and a humbling experience to be the State Representative for our community.  I appreciate the messages and correspondence I receive from people in the District.  You can always contact me anytime at bruce.bearinger@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-3221.

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