Capitol Comments – 3/15/2018

As we come to the close of week ten of the legislative session we managed to pass few bills that do any sort of measurable good for Iowa. An example of a great bill that we passed in bipartisan-fashion was SF 220, the Traffic Camera Bill. This bill allows the state to regulate the use of traffic cameras in the state of Iowa. This legislation ensures that the institutions that choose to utilize cameras are not allowed to abuse them to intentionally increase the institution’s revenue. I voted against an amendment to SF 220 that would ban all traffic cameras in the state and the amendment was voted down 43 ayes to 55 nays with two absent or not voting. The legislation we passed was a great compromise and will be monitored and reviewed in future legislative sessions
With a budget crisis on our hands, the Governor and the Republican Majority are desperate to pass legislation that they can tout as successful and be used in their re-election campaigns. This legislation came this week in the form of Future Ready Iowa (HF 2458). Future Ready Iowa, essentially, repackages existing community college programs and calls them something new. The bill also takes these programs away from the community colleges and puts it in the hands of the state. One example of what this program does is a take a community college summer internship program away from community colleges and put the program in the hands of the state. That sounds like a good deal, but in order to do this the program would hire a state employee for 150,000 dollars and then spends 350,000 dollars on marketing for a grand total of 500,000 dollars being spent on an already existing program, but in the proposed budget, we are unable to fund this new program until the FYE 2020 budget. Based on the MO of our governor, I am quite confident that some or all of the marketing money will be used by Governor Reynolds to tout this program across the state and help her get re-elected. It is legislation like this that has led to a poor approval rating of the Iowa Legislature.

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