Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
This last week started with the Iowa caucuses on February 7th. The county conventions on Saturday, March 12th for our next step to the eventual November elections!
On Wednesday, I chaired a subcommittee for House File 2069, which is a proposal to increase the registration fees of water vessels such as canoes and kayaks from $12 to $20 every three years. The intention of this is to raise money to fund water trail development and maintenance. The DNR liaison reported at the subcommittee results of a survey which found approximately 70% favored this increase to create more boat ramps and access to water bodies. Currently, the $12 fee is for the state fish and game protection fund. This bill passed but will be amended before going to the Natural Resources full committee for a vote.
On Thursday morning, I served on a subcommittee for HF2103, which proposes to update current Section 461C.2, Code 2022 related to railroad rights-of-way or crossings of privately owned former railroad beds used for recreational purposes. It amends the law to include recreational activities such as jogging, walking, and any bicycle riding. This bill allows recreation on trails but the private owner does not owe a duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry and use.
Thursday at noon, I served on a subcommittee for HF 2207 which amends Section 321E.7, subsection 1, paragraph a, Code 2022. This bill adds new text which involves moving cranes on highways. These cranes will be required to obtain a route approval from the permit-issuing authority. It also increases the crane’s gross weight per axle from 20,000 pounds to 24,000 pounds.
The Iowa House passed on Thursday HF2316, the Supplemental School Aid (SSA) for K – 12 schools. We budgeted a 2.5% increase in spending over last year, which is a $179 increase per student. We also increased the State Cost Per Pupil (SCPP) by $5 and also increases the transportation inequities between school districts. We also passed HF2315 which appropriates an additional $19.2 million for schools to pay for para-educators, substitute teachers, bus drivers, etc. The bill now goes over to the Senate for consideration.
Also on Thursday, I had a chance to visit with David Duffy of Blairstown. Duffy was at the Capitol on behalf of A.B.A.T.E., A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education and talking with legislators about issues important to them.
Funnel week is this week, so it’s a race to get as many bills as possible through their designated committees.
The news of the number of COVID cases going down in Iowa is wonderful! Please be safe and healthy out there!