Contact Rep. Hanson:
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
801 North Court St.
Fairfield, IA 52556
It was by dawn’s early light that we concluded the 2017 legislative session. After all night negotiations with the Senate, the House adjourned at 6:26 AM on Saturday. I immediately drove home to attend the Keosauqua and Bloomfield forums. I am thankful that I have a very understanding wife as she met me in Fairfield and drove us to the forums as I napped.
The last week of the legislative session is always hectic. While trying to conclude the session, we attempted to carry on normal activities. Last Monday I was happy to welcome Mike Miller and Sandy Stone of Keosauqua and Paula Mohr of the State Historical Society into the Statehouse. Mike Miller was recently awarded the Loren Horton Community History Award by Governor Branstad for his work with the Van Buren Historical Society.
On Tuesday, the House debated SF 489, a bill allowing for the sale and purchase of consumer fireworks and novelties in the state. After a long debate, the bill narrowly passed and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature. I did not support the bill as it did not offer the degree of local control that many thought necessary for the safety and protection of their communities.
Wednesday, after consideration and passage of a number of non-controversial bills, we debated a very important bill dealing with the funding of the Health and Human Services Department. This bill deals with the funding of the Departments of Aging, Human Resources, Public Health, and Veterans Affairs. Elements of this bill will affect our lives from birth to death. The amendments offered to this bill were many and important.
Thursday, after the passage of a number of bills, debate centered on one major bill -- water quality. The improvement of our water quality will be a massive effort and passing language that states our high ideals without funding any of our plans is just plain papering over the problem, in my opinion. Raiding other funds, funds needed to educate our children and aiding our elderly live out their few remaining years, to provide token funds for water quality improvement is not a step forward. It is a step backward! Water quality is an “Iowa Problem” that all of us are a part of the problem and all of us a part of the solution. We must separate water quality improvement from politics, in so far as possible, and work together. Finger-pointing and shifting money from one fund to another plus the pitting of rural and urban citizens against each other does not offer a solution that will solve our long term problem! The clean-up costs are now estimated to be $5 Billion and growing daily. The bill I think of as a token approach passed without my support. After passage of the water quality bill, the House recessed until 10:00 PM. The plan was to discuss medical cannabidiol. Upon our return we were told to go home for the evening. Medical cannabidiol oil and its pharmaceutical use is a hotly discussed issue with deeply divided opinions. While an important issue, I don’t think it is an issue nearly as important as water quality. Because Republicans in the House and in the Senate failed to reach agreement on water quality improvements we adjourned without any real plan to address the issue.
Friday morning was spent in caucus going over the bills necessary for state government to operate next year and end this session. Much of the discussion centered on SF516 an appropriations bill that will total about $3.73 billion in FY2018. Of special concern is the plan to spend more than we receive in revenue by borrowing $131.1 million from the cash reserve. We are to pay this back over a two year period. I’m concerned that this plan places Iowa in a state of poverty for the rest of this decade. The funding of education, our courts and health services will continue to be an underfunded growing problem.
Friday afternoon I was able to meet all four sections of the Davis County 4th grade as they toured the Capitol. It is always a pleasure to greet this well behaved and well organized group. The Davis County Community certainly has reason to take pride in their schools.
Much of our time on Friday, Friday night, and early Saturday was spent at ease as negotiators scurried between the House and the Senate. They were attempting to find the common ground necessary for the passage of bills that will allow us to adjourn. I was in hope that these negotiations might go much smoother this year as both chambers are held by the same political party. That was not to be the case. We concluded with the passage of a budget that borrows money from our unspent balance funds. We are now officially spending more than we take in! Again, I think the budget we passed will not well serve the people of Iowa.
Please continue to phone or email me with your comments and concerns throughout the interim. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you may telephone me at 641-919-2314. You may also find my home phone number in the Fairfield phone book. Your message is important to me and the people of this district.
Representative Curt Hanson attended the signing of a bill that make stricter laws for texting and driving.
On Monday, April 17th, 2017 Representative Curt Hanson welcomed Chairman of the Van Buren Historical Preservation Commission, Mike Miller of Keosauqua, Sandy Stone of Keosauqua, and Paula Mohr of Des Moines of the State Historical Society into the Statehouse. Mike Miller was recently awarded the Loren Horton Community History Award.
On Friday, April 21st, Davis County Elementary 4th Graders visited the Statehouse on a fieldtrip. The four classes had the chance to speak with Representative Curt Hanson about the beatiful capitol and about how the legislative process works.
Law Enforcement, Teachers, Nurses Lose Voice in the Workplace
Despite objections from thousands of Iowans, Republicans at the State Capitol unraveled 40 years of teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, and other working Iowans having a voice in their own workplace this year.
Written behind closed doors without input from Iowa workers, House File 291 gutted public sector collective bargaining rights and returns working Iowans to a system where the political party in power has the right to decide the fate of all public employees. After it was approved by Republican lawmakers, Governor Branstad signed the bill the next morning in a private ceremony closed to the public, but open to corporate-backed special interest lobbyists.
Under the new law, teachers, nurses, and other working Iowans are prohibited from discussing workplace conditions and how their job is done. Every year or two, the public employee union must organize entire bargaining units to vote in a mandated election not requested by any public employees in the union.
As the bill was fast tracked by Republicans, many bargaining units across the state quickly negotiated and approved new agreements before the new law took effect. After the bill was signed, any contracts that were being negotiated and not completed had to start over under the new provisions of the bill, costing taxpayer’s additional money.
GOP Turns Budget Surplus to Deficit
Lawmakers closed the 2017 legislative session putting the finishing touches on the fiscal year 2018 budget as well as addressing a $131 million state budget deficit in fiscal year 2017. While the state had a $900 million surplus just a few years ago, the deficit was the result of years of mismanagement of the state budget by Republican lawmakers that included $500 million in corporate tax giveaways that overwhelmingly go to out-of-state corporations.
Now, Iowans are being forced to pay for the GOP’s budget mess. Students will be paying higher tuition. Fewer at-risk kids will be able to attend preschool. Victims of domestic violence may not get the support they need and Iowans will be paying higher property taxes.
To cover the state budget deficit this year (FY 2017), Republican lawmakers were forced to make $113 million in budget adjustments at the beginning of session which led to tuition hikes and job losses. To close out the 2017 session, the Legislature still had to borrow $131 million from the state’s savings account to cover the deficit.
For next year (FY 2018), the GOP Legislature approved a $7.27 billion state budget, which is an increase of 0.12% compared to fiscal year 2017. In addition to shortchanging public schools another year, the budget cut millions from state universities and community colleges that means higher tuition for Iowa students. It also has includes reductions for preschool scholarships, services for foster children, and drop-out prevention. Many Iowans are also concerned about Republican plans to close the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and a 25% reduction in grants to support victims of domestic violence.
Continue Reading the Statehouse News
K-12 School Investment 3rd Lowest in Iowa History
GOP Lawmakers Limit Health Decisions for Women
Bill Lowers Wages for 65,000 Iowans
Medical Cannabidiol Takes a Step Forward
New Changes for Voting Iowans
Major Gun Changes Signed by Governor
Iowa Cracks Down on Distracted Driving
Homeowners Affected Under New CAFO Law
Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Laws Changed
Criminal Justice Reforms Sent to Governor
Legislature Passes Sobriety 24/7 Program to Target Drunk Drivers
Cost Saving Construction Measures Now Banned
Insurance Autism Coverage Approved
Major Tort Reforms Passed by Legislature
Veterans Programs Take Hit in GOP Budget
Domestic Abuse Mandatory Minimum Sentences Created
Updated Mammogram Reporting Bill Takes Effect
New Changes to Iowa’s Natural Resources
Bills Allow Iowa Schools Flexibility in Funding
Changes to Alcohol Policy Could Spur Economic Development
New Student Assessment Approval Process
To read the rest of my Statehouse News go to:http://iowahouse.org/StatehouseNews/4-26-17