Contact Rep. Hanson:
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
801 North Court St.
Fairfield, IA 52556
We began the week on Monday and Tuesday with debate considering mostly noncontroversial bills, and Thursday concluded the week with more noncontroversial bill debate.
One bill that has gained attention from many but has not yet been debated is HF 612 regarding water quality. HF 612 funds water quality efforts by diverting funds from the states Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) and by creating a new water excise tax. The RIIF diversion increases year after year for 13 years and will fund in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices. The bill will also impact both the SAVE and LOST funds.
The legislation exempts sales and use taxes of water by a water utility, and then creates a new water excise tax of which 1/6th will go to funding drinking and wastewater infrastructure and 5/6th to water quality assistance. With the revenue from the excise tax, the Iowa Finance Authority will bond against the revenue and create a revolving loan fund.
As a supporter of water quality and nutrient reduction programs, I am concerned that this method of financing the necessary improvements should not simply transfer revenue available for the funding of schools and judicial services that are also priorities of Iowans.
The Education Committee met for six hours Tuesday night with discussion on SF 475. This bill addresses aspects of education programs that leave me with many questions. Ultimately, I believe online learning by for-profit companies using slick advertising will promote the poaching of students, leaving many rural districts with diminished resources necessary to maintain their current programs. The bill passed committee on a 13-7 vote and will now move to the floor.
On Wednesday I arranged and attended a meeting with top DNR officials regarding several critical wastewater treatment standards in Iowa. Individuals representing Rural Utility Service Systems (RUSS), which serves seven counties in Southeast Iowa, were also in attendance. The individuals were RUSS Director Bruce Hudson of Henry County, County Supervisor Bob Waugh of Van Buren County, County Supervisor Deke Wood of Keokuk County, and County Supervisor Lee Dimmitt of Jefferson County.
Legislative Forums: The final Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Legislative forum will be held on April 15th at 7:30 a.m. at the Fairfield Public Library. My final personal forum will be held on April 22nd. I will meet with constituents in Keosauqua at Great Day Cafe at 9:00 a.m. and in Bloomfield at Rancho Centinela at 12:00.
Please phone or email me with your comments and concerns. You may email me at Curt.Hanson@legis.iowa.gov or you may telephone me at 641-919-2314. Your message is important to me and the people of this district.
On Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 Representative Curt Hanson welcomed constituent, Teressa Kuder, into the Statehouse. Kuder advocated against putting a cap on medical malpractice lawsuits.
On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Representative Curt Hanson welcomed County Supervisors and a Rural Utility and Services System Director to the Statehouse. Pictured above from left to right, Representative Hanson, RUSS Director Bruce Hudson of Lee County, County Supervisor Bob Waugh of Van Buren, County Supervisor Deke Wood of Keokuk, and County Supervisor Lee Dimmitt of Jefferson County.
Deficit Forces Governor to Update Budget Recommendations
According to new budget documents released this week, Governor Branstad is recommending the state borrow from their savings accounts to cover for a $131 million state budget deficit this year.
When the state’s non-partisan budget experts met in mid-March, lawmakers learned the Republican Majority and the Branstad-Reynolds administration have turned a $927 million state surplus (FY 13) into a $130 million deficit this year (FY 17).
While Republican lawmakers were quick to blame others instead of taking responsibility, the state budget is in a deficit this year because Republican leaders in Des Moines failed to adequately manage the state budget. Earlier this year, the state faced another $110 million deficit and Republican leaders forced Iowa students and working families to pay for the shortfall to keep the budget in balance.
The state budget deficit is largely the result of new corporate tax giveaways that have increased exponentially and now top $500 million annually. According to state experts, those giveaways have not produced the economic growth Republicans promised and instead, have slowed the state’s economy. For the last three years, Republican lawmakers have also spent more than the state collected and used one-time money to fund on-going needs.
The lack of fiscal discipline by Republican lawmakers and the Branstad-Reynolds administration over the last several years creates significant challenges for the 2018 state budget. The budget documents provided by the Governor also include recommendations for further cuts next year to Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens – seniors, the disabled, and children.
House Democrats plan to work to restore fiscal discipline to the state’s budget-making process, and ensure Iowans no longer have to pay for the GOP’s excessive giveaways. Fiscal discipline is both what the state can afford and where those dollars are invested. The state budget needs to be re-balanced to prioritize people before corporate welfare, and a skilled workforce over top-down economics.
Bill Lowering Wages for 65,000 Iowans Heads to the Governor
Instead of increasing the minimum wage, Senate Republican lawmakers have approved a bill that lowers wages for 65,000 Iowans. The bill passed the House earlier, and now heads to the Governor for his signature.
The bill would preempt local ordinances on wages and products sold. After waiting for Iowa lawmakers to act for nearly a decade, four counties have recently increased the minimum wage in their own communities to finally give a boost to the lowest wage earners. The bill, House File 295, takes away the minimum wage increases already approved in some Iowa communities.
Now set at $7.25 per hour, Iowa’s minimum wage was last increased in 2008 and every state surrounding Iowa (except Wisconsin) has increased their minimum wage above $7.25. To meet basic living expenses, a single person in Iowa resident should make at least $13.16 an hour and that rises to $21.52 an hour for a single parent with one child. One of the counties that took action to increase the minimum wage is Wapello County, which has the 3rd highest poverty rate in Iowa and 2nd lowest per-capita income.
The Governor had indicated that he would be willing to increase the state minimum wage, but Republican legislators have refused to budge on any increase to Iowa’s minimum wage. Democrats in the House offered to do so, but it was rejected.
Continue Reading the Statehouse News
Stricter Laws for Texting & Driving
Rural Iowans Lose Under CAFO Legislation
Bill Making Asbestos Suits More Difficult Signed by Governor
Domestic Abuse Changes Advance to Senate
Maintaining Your Current Medication
Local Boards Eliminated that Help Counties Decide Compensation
Legislature Continues to Combat Opioid and Heroin Overdoses
Crime of Harassment to Include Revenge Porn
Christian Education Exemption for Child
To read the rest of my Statehouse News go to:http://iowahouse.org/StatehouseNews/3-31-17