2020 Iowa legislative session preview
What do you think will be the top priorities for the 2020 legislative session?
The budget will be a top priority once again in this session. I will not spend more than we take in and I will not spend onetime money for ongoing costs. The way I see this, we need to spend less than we receive. The estimate we have from the Legislative Service Bureau for FY21 may be higher than we actually receive and thus cause a shortfall which could result in a de-appropriation. It is difficult to reduce a budget after telling someone a larger amount would be coming their way. Mental health is also a big issue. I have been told by some school administrators that they doubt test scores will improve until we get a handle on the cause of these problems in our youth. I sincerely believe that the traditional family is the backbone of this nation. We must do what we can to shore up the traditional family. The MCO issue is also an ongoing problem. Hopefully we can find a better way to get reimbursement to our care-givers on a more speedy basis.
Is there unfinished business from last year?
Some of the unfinished business from last year would be consideration of felons voting rights that have completed their sentence. I believe there is another aspect to this issue. That would be the paying of any outstanding fines, child support, reimbursement of thefts and any other outstanding liabilities. I suppose the three-eighths cent sales tax for the environmental trust fund would also be a left over from past years. The water quality aspect of that trust fund is fine, the rest of it is not something that state government should be involved with. We have set up a fund for water quality issues of about $25,000,000. That along with additional money from private and federal funds should be enough to get us where we want to be in a few years.
In what areas do you see the most potential for bipartisan cooperation?
I think that we could find a way to address the felon voting issue. Another is the way that in some social problems dealing with payment based on a given per-cent, a raise in salary can negate the social payment. As long as there is progress getting off government assistance I think we should help. I would say that about 85% of the issues that we vote on are bipartisan. The issues that we disagree on are always the ones brought to light. The issues we agree on are given little press time.
What’s one of the top concerns you hear from constituents lately?
I think the mental health issue along with drug use would be at the top of the list.
Are there any other issues that you would like the legislature to tackle this year?
I have several issues that I think are important. I will give Educational Savings Account a lot of my time. Basically, this is open enrollment to about any K-12 school. Very similar to what happened back in the 80s from Lakota. I think parents should be given the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice. There are more and more people that want to go a different direction than is currently an option. Most all of these parents are tax paying citizens of Iowa and are not getting the education for their children that they believe is appropriate. There will be no reduction in school aid per student with my plan. In fact, there may be more funds for our public schools. Yes, if a school has a number of students that take this course of action, there would be a reduction in totals to the public school. If the school is teaching what the parents want, there won’t be any additional open enrollments. I believe this could make our public schools better all the way around. Please don’t jump to any conclusions. I will talk to anyone that wants to know more.
Another issue is our marriage laws. I believe “no fault” divorce laws are one of the problems causing our current mental health problems with our K-12 students. The children of Ethiopia have a six times greater chance of living with their biological parents living in a marital relationship than the children of the USA. My solution to these problems is incentives to marry and stay married. There would be more tax reductions and also the possibility of family leave for mom when she has a baby.
As I recall, I have introduced 14 ideas for legislation. One idea not so heavy would let 14 year olds with a drivers permit to be able to drive from field to field. This would allow for a situation where the 14 year old could legally follow dad in a pickup as dad drives the combine.