Subcommittee and committee work took up most, if not all, of our time during the sixth week because the end of the week is the first legislative deadline of the year, nicknamed “funnel week.” This deadline requires most legislation be passed out of committee in its originating chamber – Senate bills need to be out of Senate committees, and House bills need to be out of House committees – in order to continue to be considered this session. This process ensures we can focus our time in Des Moines on priority issues.
Because of this deadline, a number of issues come up throughout the week. While each of us are working on our own specific issues, our goal is always to work on legislation to strengthen Iowa’s workforce, encourage investment, and expand opportunities for all Iowans,
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
When we talk about transportation in Iowa we all focus on our roads and bridges. There are multiple other modes of transportation less frequently discussed. One such area is air travel. The Transportation Committee does deal with airport issues and infrastructure.
As a farmer we also think of roads and bridges, however air transportation plays an integral role. Sales teams and company executives travel frequently on company business, or parts for machinery many times includes overnight delivery by air for on time repair. So many parts of the economy are taken for granted. I raise seed beans and sometimes to get the latest genetics the seed company seeks, they utilize winter production in South America. To meet timely planting demands, sometimes the seed arrives by airplane. There are so many things in our lives enhanced by our friends in the air.
A fun fact: The Des Moines Airport moves the equivalent of the population of the whole State of Iowa every year – over three million passengers.
Not to overlook anyone, we also deal with rail issues. The tonnage that travels by rail and truck is staggering.
The lock and dam system is another vital component to transportation infrastructure in Iowa but it is federally regulated.
The International Relations Committee also met to talk about how we can help Iowa’s sister cities in China during the coronavirus outbreak. We’ve partnered with leaders in Dubuque, Davenport, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines to help ship the supplies they need. They are looking for donations of protection gowns, medical masks, surgical masks, medical gloves, protective eye glasses, thermometers, hand-sanitizer, and tissues. If you think you can help, please contact me or go to https://www.iowasisterstates.org.
These are the bills we passed out of my committees this week. There were too many to expand upon so I listed them below. I have highlighted the links to all of these bills, simply click on the bill number and you will be able to read the bill in its entirety.