The House was ready to finish but the bills are not forthcoming from the Senate. April 22 is the last day the taxpayers pay for our services, so I expect the Senate to drag it out that long.
Last Monday the House debated a bill concerning public employee settlements and disciplinary actions. The bill passed 63 to 35. The purpose was to make reasons for dismissals and severance pay transparent to the public and oversight committees.
The appropriations bill for Health and Human Services had 26 amendments to deal with before the final vote on the bill. One of those amendments in particular dealt with defunding Planned Parenthood. I made it clear to my caucus that I would not vote for the removal of this amendment and would not vote for the bill if it was. There was quite a bit of drama and the said amendment was removed and the bill barely passed 51 to 45. After all was said and done, our leadership and caucus made a commitment to stop taxpayers from funding this abortion mill next year.
Later that week we dealt with the transportation appropriations bill and a bill coming back from the Senate on human trafficking — these passed with near unanimous votes. Holy week saw a bill pass 95 to 1 providing income tax credits for adoption expenses. After dealing with six amendments, the appropriations bill for the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund narrowly passed. Every bill has liberals wanting to spend more of your money than should be spent. Hours are devoted to voting down those expensive amendments. Tuesday night that week was particularly difficult, with debate extending until 10:30 p.m.
The effort in the House is to get every appropriations bill passed and forwarded to the Senate as quickly as possible. We drive them as hard as possible to get your work done. My clerk, Alesha Dittmer, is getting married this spring, and her mind is starting to drift toward matters of love. I also have my own reasons for finishing this year’s work quickly. My youngest son, 10 year old Joseph, tells me “We need to have some bonding time.” I never talked like that when I was 10! He asked me to buy a kite, so I think I know what he wants to do together. That’s ok for him, but I’d be disappointed if the rest of you told me to “Go fly a kite!”