Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Columns

February 11, 2014

Rep Larry Sheets reports in his Snapshot

Dear friends,

As your employee and representative here in the State House, I report back some of the major events and happenings that go on in your Iowa Legislature. The last week in January, Centerville’s own Simon Estes sang “God Bless America” as the opening prayer.

That week focused on committee meetings and bill assignments. On Feb. 4, the Canadian delegation was pleased when we recognized Canada Day at the Iowa Capitol. I helped read House Resolution 104, honoring over 200 years of goodwill between Canada and the United States. We are now in the fourth week of this session and the activity has become intense.

We are again addressing the Rural Improvement Zone code. The purpose of the proposed bill is to provide a sunset provision on such zones. Sunsetting allows elected county officials to review every 10 years the need to continue subsidizing such zones with county tax revenues. The RIZ Bill Subcommittee met and passed it out of subcommittee this week.

We passed a cost-saving bill out of committee to provide for the use of an electronic filing and notice system by the Public Employment Relations Board. I have also written a bill to address the situation that resulted in the death of the Shepherd girl who was brutally murdered by a man released early from prison for good behavior after 20 years of a 40 year sentence. Two years after that release he kidnapped, molested and brutally killed that little girl. My bill would not have let him be eligible for early release.

I am working to insure that Iowa, and not a federal group, controls the curriculum and testing standards for our school children. Our governor issued an executive order to that effect, but I am working to insure he has the support of the legislature. I have also drafted a bill that addresses the disrepair of our roads and bridges. Today the gas tax is a fixed number of pennies per gallon. That number hasn’t changed in 25 years. I am proposing a percentage tax on the before-tax cost of the fuel that would provide the same revenue on the day of enactment as the fixed tax does now. Such a tax would correct for inflation and also stabilize the fuel tax revenues. If enacted, it opens the way for a one time use of surplus revenues correcting years of neglect.

Upcoming forum: Feb. 15 Chariton Valley Planning Centerville Legislative Coffee at 10 a.m. at 308 N. 12th St.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns at larry.sheets@legis.iowa.gov or (641) 895-6153.

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Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about food prices. Are you paying more than you were last year for certain food items? According to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, "the cost of 16 food items" increased by 3.5 over 2013, as reported by the Des Moines Register. So, the question of the week is, "Are you feeling the food price increase pinch?"

A. Yes, and it hurts.
B. No, I don't feel a thing.
C. Not sure.
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