Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Facebook | Twitter | Home RSS

Capitol highlights

2015 Session coming to a close

May 1, 2015
By Rep. Tedd Gassman - Representing Iowa House District 7 , Estherville News

Under Iowa Code, the Legislature has 110 days of regular session, but the following year's budget must be agreed to before adjournment. May 1 marks the 110th day of session, and we are doing what we can to bring this session to a close. We will be working after May 1st until the budget has been passed. This week the budget sub-committees have been working to pass their portions of the budget, and soon we will be able to debate the budget on the floor. This issue of my newsletter is the last for this year.

Education Budget

Education funding continues to be a controversial topic that the Legislature is doing its best to work through. Before we can finish out the session, we must agree on a budget that is based on our 4 budgeting principles: 1) We will spend less than the state collects 2) We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs 3) We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs and 4) We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa's taxpayers. Our principles require us to balance the budget, and to do so we are going to make some cuts to higher education spending along with all the other budgets. Making difficult choices and balancing the budget now will help us avoid across-the-board cuts in the future and provide for a prosperous future.

Medical Cannabis

The topic of Medical Cannabis has received a lot of attention this year. SF 484 is a bill that would legalize Medical Cannabis for the use of many individuals with severe health problems such as epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Ehlers-danlos syndrome and ulcerative colitis. This bill passed the Senate earlier in the year, but the House has raised some major concerns. Many House members wish to provide more regulations and restrictions to avoid abuse of medical cannabis. Members are also concerned about where the cannabis will be produced. We do not want the plant to be grown in the state, as this opens up the possibility of abuse. SF 484 will not proceed any further this year, but we will continue to look at this issue in the future. My hope is that in the coming years we will be able to craft a bill that will provide medical cannabis to individuals who could benefit from it without leaving loopholes for recreational use.


Over the last few weeks, the House has been able to pass several important pieces of legislation:

HF 447

HF 447 is a bill that passed the House earlier in the session. It requires cell phone companies to provide phone locations at the request of police officers in emergency situations where an individual is believed to have been abducted. This bill successfully passed both the House and the Senate, and will be signed by the Governor on Friday.

SF 426

This piece of legislation will allow health care providers to engage in open discussion with a patient following an adverse health care incident. Under this act, both the patient and provider would be able to talk about the incident and discuss solutions without going to court. Discussions would be confidential and protected from any discovery if a court case proceeds. This bill was passed through both the House and the Senate and signed into law by the Governor on April 14.

HF 624

This bill proposes to amend the beginning Farmer Custom Tax Credit Code language to allow for a contract term of up to 24 months rather than an annual contract as specified by current law. This bill passed the House on April 22 and is now being considered in the Senate.

HF 641

The purpose of HF 641 is to facilitate expansion and adoption of high-speed Internet. It also gives the Chief Information Officer the authority and responsibility to coordinate the access to broadband internet through public-private partnership, and establish a broadband grant program. HF 641 the House on April 22, and is now being considered in the Senate.

HF 599

HF 599 corrects an oversight in the law governing reorganizations and dissolutions in school districts. Currently the law provides a process for the disposition of general obligation bonds when a district reorganizes or dissolves but does not expressly outline a procedure for addressing school infrastructure bonds (SAVE bonds) as they did not exist when the law was created. This bill adds SAVE bonds to the law regarding school reorganization and dissolution. HF 599 passed the House and the Senate, and has been sent to the governor for his signature.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web