Greetings from under the golden dome.
The scramble is on to get bills passed out of committee before the end of funnel week on February 21. Policy bills must pass out of full committee in one chamber or another by the end of the first funnel.
In Transportation this week we passed out SF 2122 dealing with rural road classifications adding consistency between the roads and the bridges.
SSB 3045, the so called, “hands free bill”, has been percolating for several years. Professional drivers have been required to go hands free for several years now. A vast majority of Iowans support the bill. Some are concerned about civil liberties and the affordability of devices required for hands-free mode. One thing to remember is driving is not a right, it is a privilege and other rights only go until they infringe on someone else’s rights. When texting and driving threatens someone else’s life, it must stop. We all see it multiple times daily. We wish the message would be received without legislation or law enforcement penalties. Sometimes the only way to alter behavior is through the pocketbook.
We also passed SSB 3107 out of committee. The bill increases surety bonds for forestry companies and authorizes documents to be used in transportation of raw forestry products.
We have several bills left for funnel week February 17-21. In Agriculture we had a subcommittee on student loan debt help for veterinarians who commit a portion of their practice to be food animal practitioners in identified need areas of the state. This bill is critical for rural Iowa and independent livestock producers.
See you out and about the district.