July 12, 2024

Democratic legislators hope to get bills past first funnel

Friday is last day for bills to escape committees

This is the final week before the first funnel date of the Iowa Legislature. Jasper County’s Democratic legislators told the Newton Daily News about a few of the bills they’d like see not only make it past Friday’s first funnel, but also pass and become law.

Friday will mark the end of the sixth week of the 2016 legislative session and the final date for bills to be reported out of Senate and House committees.

The Newton Daily News contacted all four Jasper County legislators for this story, but Rep. Greg Heartsill (R-Columbia) and Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton) did not reply by press time.

Here are the priorities during funnel week for Sen. Chaz Allen (D-Newton) and Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton):

Sen. Chaz Allen

SF 2092 and 2093: The legislature is required by law to approve K-12 education funding in two-year blocks. Allen was among the senators who voted along strict party lines last week in approving Senate Files 2092 and 2093, giving a 4 percent budget increase to schools for fiscal 2017-18.

Allen said he hopes the House will take up SF 2092 and 2093.

SF 174 and 175: These are the Senate bills that contain the same 4 percent school funding increase, but for 2016-17, and were passed by the Senate, but a 55-43 vote to knock the funding down to 2 percent was rejected by the Senate. A Senate conference committee has been appointed for this funding negotiation

House Democrats have introduced HF 2196 and HF 2197, which put funding at 4 percent for 2017-18. The House Republican majority has yet to formally introduce school-funding proposals for either of the next two fiscal years.

“The Senate has already approved legislation to fund basic education funding for our K-12 schools by for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years,” Allen said. “I am hopeful that the House will take up these bills.”

SF 2125: Three Senate Republicans joined Democrats in passing legislation this week requires the immediate termination of all three managed-care organization Medicaid contracts.

“It directs Iowa Medicaid to return to public management with a focus on outcomes-based, patient-centered care,” Allen said. “I hope the House will take up this bill as soon as possible.”

SF 2168: Establishes military veterans treatment courts in each judicial district to aid with substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment and transitional services. The bill was approved Thursday by the Senate Veterans Affairs committee, of which Allen is a member.

“I am hopeful we can keep this bill moving,” Allen said. “This type of court would be beneficial to integrate sanctions and incentives with substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and transitional services.”

Rep. Dan Kelley

SF 174 and SF 175 and HF 2196 and HF 2197: Kelley supports proposals initiated by House and Senate Democrats to set K-12 school funding at 4 percent for the next two school years.

SF 2125: The Senate passed this bill to stop privatization of Medicaid, and Kelley wants the House to take it up.

“It is an unnecessary burden for Iowans, particularly our most vulnerable — kids and seniors in need of health care,” Kelley said.

HSB 518: A biofuel byproduct tax credit that has been approved by the House Economic Growth Committee, and is headed for the Ways and Means Committee, where Kelley is a member.

“Local jobs in bio-fuels are dependent on passing this tax credit,” Kelley said. “This bill will protect jobs and add value to the crops and products grown by Iowa’s farmers.”

HSB 601: This is a bill Kelley and many other Democrats want to kill at the funnel date: It’s Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposal to extend the SAVE sunset by 20 years and give new penny-tax proceeds above $10 million in each year to water quality, rather than schools.

“Adequate school funding and water-quality efforts are both critical to Iowa’s future,” Kelley said. “There is no need to choose one or the other as the governor proposes.”

HF 2234: An anti-human trafficking bill Kelley co-sponsors along with several other Democrats and Republicans. It has yet to clear the House Public Safety Committee.

HSB 539: Requires carbon monoxide alarms in new buildings. Kelley said he is working with homeowners, landlords, realtors, builders and health officials to increase the use and availability of inexpensive carbon-monoxide detectors.

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or jbrooks@newtondailynews.com