Happy Valentine’s Day! We may be getting a slight reprieve from the frigid temperatures, but I’ve hardly had a chance to notice with the busy week we’ve had at the Capitol. We experienced our first floor debate of the legislative session and, in preparation for next week’s first funnel, committees continued to work hard to review and discuss proposed legislation.
The first bill we passed this year was one that protects property taxpayers. In certain situations, HF 2108 will provide taxpayers with better notice if their property taxes are going to increase. Additionally, these taxpayers will have better access to the appeals process.
Legislation was also passed that would prohibit the sale and possession of electronics, or e-cigarettes, to individuals under 18. E-cigarettes, unlike traditional cigarettes, produce a nicotine vapor rather than tobacco smoke. I am pleased the House stepped up this week to support legislation to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of our children.
We also passed HF 2175, a bill that would prohibit telemedicine abortions, commonly referred to as webcam abortions, from taking place in Iowa. These types of abortions occur when a doctor remotely dispenses an abortion-inducing medication to a patient. Last year the Iowa Board of Medicine voted to ban these types of abortions, but due to a court challenge, a temporary injunction has prevented the ban from going into effect.
We agree with the Board of Medicine’s ruling, and according to a survey conducted by the University of Iowa last November, the majority of Iowans- nearly 70 percent- do as well. I am hopeful our state will join the nine other Midwest states that have already prohibited this activity. HF 2175 focuses on the safety of the patient and ensures women in Iowa have the best possible standard of care.
Legislation was passed that would change the law regarding funding for our local school districts as well. HF 2194 requires the Legislature to set the Supplemental State Aid amount (previously referred to as Allowable Growth), at the same time we set the state’s two-year budget. The amount of aid for the next school year will be set within 30 days of receiving the Governor’s budget proposal and the amount for the following year will be set by the time we adjourn- when we have a clearer understanding of the revenue estimates.
As I mentioned last week, the Legislature has a long track of overpromising and under-delivering to our schools. If we set a Supplemental State Aid amount that is unachievable, the additional cost will be passed onto the taxpayers of Iowa. HF 2194 delivers the certainty our schools need in order to provide the best education for our children.
These bills, all having received bipartisan support, have been sent to the Senate for their consideration.
We are looking forward to next week’s first funnel week- a deadline for legislators to pass bills out of their respective policy committees in order for the legislation to remain eligible for consideration. Our committees will continue to work efficiently to pass policies with the best interest of Iowans in mind.
Thank you for your feedback over the past few weeks. I always appreciate hearing from you. If you are in the Des Moines area in the coming weeks, and have some free time, please feel free to stop by my office. I’d love to visit! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-281-4618.