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Capitol Highlights: House looks into radon-testing schools

March 7, 2014
By Rep. Tedd Gassman - Representing Iowa House District 7 , Estherville News

The House of Representatives has looked into radon testing in schools but at this time is undecided about future action. On Tuesday the Senate passed a bill that if it became law, schools would be required to report the results of radon tests to the Iowa Department of Education. In communication with the school districts in the 7th districts many are already testing and don't need a law to continue to test for radon. If we require radon testing it could be a very large unfunded mandate. The cost of testing could be substantial and if a problem is found the cost to mitigate those problems could be substantial. If radon is found at a level that should be dealt with, and it is not, that could leave the school liable for problems in the future. At this point in time my position is to leave it up to the local school.

House Republicans and Senate Democrats have agreed on the size of the 2015 FY state budget. Next year's general fund budget will spend $6.9718 billion. The LSA December estimate was $6.983 billion. The FY15 budget at this time is 99.8 percent of the estimate. I am concerned that if there is any slippage in the revenue we could have expenditures greater than income. Included in the expenditures is $155 million of new money for supplemental state aid, $120 million for backfill of last year's property tax reduction, the federal government has shifted an additional $86 million in costs to pay Medicaid claims from their budget to the state, education reform is also added at about $50 million. This is $411 million dollars added on to last year's budget. There are other items besides these. The targets inside this budget have not been completed so there could be some minor changes.

"In my 10 years, I do not remember one (year when we had joint targets) and in talking in staff, they do not remember when there is a split chambers that there have been joint targets," said Rep. Chuck Soderberg, R-LeMars, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, "so it's a pretty significant milestone to work together to achieve this."

Thank you to all my constituents in District 7 for allowing me to serve as your representative. The challenges are many but the rewards are great when I can help out in even the smallest of ways. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or concerns about legislation coming forth.



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