Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!
Week five in the Iowa House of Representatives was the first funnel week deadline, which was basically the last week to submit a non-budgetary bill to be considered for a sub-committee.
On Tuesday, the Government Oversight committee held a hearing with five mothers of Iowa students who gave examples of inappropriate and sexually explicit books in school libraries across Iowa. Our intent is to make sure parents are aware and have more say in how their children are educated. If these books, such as Gender Queer, All Boys Aren’t Blue, and Push had a rating system like for movies, they would be rated “R”.
On Tuesday, the Iowa house passed Senate File 192 and was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds – the Supplemental State Aid bill for Iowa schools. It is a 3% increase for fiscal year 2024 for both the Regular Program and the Categorical Supplements. This works out to be a $106.8 million increase, or $222 increase per pupil, raising the state cost per pupil from $7413 to $7635.
On Wednesday, the Iowa House and Senate passed House File 161, which places a cap of $1 million for non-economic (pain and suffering) damages awarded if the incident happened with an independent medical professional and $2 million cap if the incident happened at a hospital.
I voted no on this bill and here is an example why. Here is an actual case where a retired gentleman drowned due to a feeding tube mistakenly placed in his lung instead of his stomach. The victim had four survivors who filed a lawsuit. The victim didn’t have a job, so they would receive nothing from economic losses. With a $1 million cap on pain and suffering, the settlement would be after these expenses: $400,000 for attorney fees for 3.5 years of work, about $222,000 for out-of-pocket expenses before the settlement, and another $100,000 for out-of-pocket expenses to take the case to trial. This would leave approximately $278,000 left of the $1 million cap between the four claimants (the wife, two daughters, and a grand-daughter), or about $69,500 each. This $1 million cap is not acceptable in my view.
On Thursday, we passed a revision of the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Program to increase the maximum employees from 50 to 75 full-time and non-seasonal. This law has been successful in providing grants to meat lockers and should help even more.
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced on Feb. 6th that farm owners can now apply for a Century or Heritage Farm recognition. The deadline is June 1st and the application can be downloaded at https://iowaagriculture.gov/century-and-heritage-farm-program.
Also on Thursday, we had a delegation of elected officials from India visiting to learn more about our government. We had very pleasant conversations and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I also had a nice chat with three representatives from the Hospitality Department at Kirkwood Community College.
I hope this finds you healthy, warm, and please be careful out there on the roads! Have a great week!