This week the Iowa House reached its first self-imposed deadline related to legislative action, commonly referred to as the “First Funnel.” For a policy bill to remain eligible for debate by the full House at some point later during the session, it must be approved by a House Committee before the end of the week or “First Funnel.” If a bill doesn’t survive the “First Funnel”, it is likely the issue is dead for the remainder of the year. This rule does not apply to budget bills or tax bills.
I’m pleased to report that House Republicans’ agenda items have cleared the funnel. We have said we are committed to putting Iowans back to work, making it easier to be an employer in the state, cutting government spending and getting government out of the way. There are numerous bills that we’ve already sent to the Senate that are awaiting consideration. We’ve sent over budget cuts, an income tax cut, a property tax cut, a bill to strengthen our right to work law, and a bill to give Iowans a say over their health care, among others. A few notable bills that just beat the funnel deadline are House File 124, House Study Bill 103 and House Study Bill 124.
House File 124deals with charter schools in Iowa. Enacted in 2002, Iowa’s current charter school law is in its ninth year. After nine years, Iowa has 8 charter schools. Compared to some of our Midwest neighbors, this is a paltry number. Ohio leads the pack in the Midwest with 368 charter schools, followed by Wisconsin at 233, Minnesota at 161, Illinois at 116, Indiana at 62, Missouri 46, and Kansas 37. A major contributor to Iowa’s low number is the nature of its law. HF 124, is working to streamline charter school law and allow for more entities to apply to start a charter school, including colleges and universities, private colleges, and non-profit entities.
House Study Bill 103 is commonly referred to as the “IPEP” bill. This legislation replaces the current Department of Economic Development with a public-private partnership charged with marketing and promoting Iowa called the “Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress. The bill includes the Partnership for Economic Progress, the Economic Progress Authority, and the Economic Progress Corporation. The new partnership’s mission is to grow and diversify Iowa’s economy by encouraging the creation of high quality jobs for its citizens through business recruitment, retention, expansion and creation.
House Study Bill 124 promotes the development of next-generation nuclear power technology in Iowa. The bill creates a process by which Iowa utilities could study, plan, and construct a nuclear power facility in the state. Development of such a plant creates jobs for construction and operation of the facility, while also ensuring a stable, clean source of baseload power for Iowans. Since this could be one of the first facilities utilizing this technology, Iowa could also become a hub for development of nuclear technology and a training site for other companies using the same technology.
For a complete listing of bills that survived the House funnel, visit www.iowahouserepublicans.com. We’ll keep working on these bills as we continue to focus on passing commonsense budget bills that reduce government spending out of committee. The House Republicans’ budget will cut out waste and not spend more than the state takes in.
I hope you will join me at my upcoming forums. I’ve invited Sen. Swati Dandekar (D-Marion) and she will also be in attendance. Details are as follows:
Saturday, March 12, 2011:
10-11 am Robins Community Center, 265 S. 2nd Street.
12-1 pm Coggon Town Hall, 118 E. Main Street.
3-4 pm Fairfax Public Library, 313 Vanderbilt Street.
Saturday, March 19, 2011:
10-11 am Hiawatha Public Library 150 W. Willman Street
12:30 – 1:30 pm Center Point Library 720 Main Street
If you’re unable to attend my forums, please feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns – firstname.lastname@example.org my office phone at (515) 281-3521