The House and Senate have reached agreement on an overall general fund budget plan. Next year’s general fund budget will spend $6.97 billion, or 99.8 percent of on-going state revenue. This plan fully funds the property tax credits including the homestead, elderly and disabled, military and ag-land tax credits. It also fully-funds the commercial property tax credit which was passed last year as part of the largest tax cut in Iowa history. In stark contrast to the 2007 through 2010 period this will be the fourth consecutive year the state will spend less than it collects.
The session is showing signs of slowing down. There is still much to be done, however, with 139 remaining bills after the second funnel. The House amended and passed Senate File 2311, which is a bill relating to the criminal offenses of 1) enticing a minor, 2) prostitution, 3)sexual exploitation of a minor, and 4)human trafficking. No need to say why this protection is needed. Another bill relating to radon control, passed 99 to 1 in the House and an act funding retirement incentive programs offered by school districts passed 100 to 0.
SF2118 is a Senate bill that essentially wants pets to be treated like children in divorce custodial situations where one partner is accused of being abusive. A similar bill is being considered in New Hampshire. Such a bill is thought to be a legal Trojan Horse for animal rights groups, like PETA. Rep. Dwayne Alons amendment reforms this bill in terms of “property of sentimental or emotional significance which may cause the victim to stay in the abusive relationship.” I support his amendment.
I’d like to add a few words about a controversial subject … the Colorado and California circuses regarding recreational marijuana are preventing Iowa children from receiving appropriate medical treatment. Doctor administered non-hallucinogenic cannabis derivatives have helped youth suffering from seizures (in particular, Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy). Iowans support cannabis derivatives for medical use if properly controlled like morphine. Nevertheless, efforts in the Iowa Legislature to legalize non-hallucinogenic cannabis derivatives have failed to gain broad support this election year. I guess no one wants to be accused of promoting a “Rocky Mountain High.”
Thank you for granting me the privilege of serving and representing you.