March 2, 2017
We have just finished funnel week. To pass the first funnel, the bill has to be passed by both the subcommittee and the full committee (subcommittees are open for public input). Two weeks ago LSA stopped individuals from having bills drafted. Now the only bills that may be drafted have to come from the Appropriations Committee, the Ways and Means Committee, or leadership. The rush of funnel week is somewhat a frantic time as bill sponsors and floor managers try to get their bills through subcommittee and full committee. Bills that do not make it through to get on the debate calendar are dead for the year, except for bills coming from the two committees mentioned and leadership. These are just House bills, the next funnel has to do with bills coming from the Senate and those going from the House to the Senate.
A week ago I had a number of guests from Grinnell visit with me about several bills that are currently eligible for debate. Most of the items are still alive. Fortunately, one bill that did not make it through the funnel was HF 138 that would have ended the license requirement for many occupations and add a provision to end the “Certification of Need” that controls the expansion of medical care facilities in Iowa. We are fortunate that failed because, in my opinion, it would have been the death knell for medical care in rural Iowa. We need to watch this item to make sure that it does not rise Phoenix-like from the ashes.
Recently in the Agriculture Committee we had a presentation on impaired waters and how they are determined. The list of impaired waters in Iowa is ever expanding because reporting systems are much more aggressive than in the past. A representative from the Department of Natural Resources explained to us the criteria of how water bodies are determined to be impaired. They use a number of criteria and unless all criteria meet the requirements, that water body is placed on the list. Once on the list, very few streams will ever be taken off of it. Fortunately for agriculture, most impairments are not caused by animal waste.
Last week I visited with Taylor Reed, a graduate of Grinnell High School, whom I met several years ago when she was here with her father for UNI Day at the Capitol. She is a recent graduate of UNI with a degree in elementary education. She was here with her Attorney Dwight James to discuss the ramifications of medical malpractice insurance modification. Taylor had to have thyroid surgery before she was able to do her student teaching. During the surgery a nerve was damaged leaving her without a voice. With further surgery on the damaged nerve and with a much weaker voice she was able to get her student teaching finished. She still does not know if her voice will be strong enough for her to engage in her planned-for teaching career. Meeting with her two years ago and again last week has given me a completely different view of malpractice insurance (thank you Taylor).
This morning we had a wonderful experience at gavel in time. Senator Rita Hart sang “You Are My All in All” accompanied by Representative Ashley Hinson on the violin and Representative Rob Bacon on the cello, it served as our morning prayer. It was a moving experience and a very inspirational way to start our day.