By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian
---- — Iowa state Rep. Larry Sheets Friday said he plans to run for a second term in office in 2014 in district 80.
Sheets, a Republican from Moulton, still has one more year to serve in his first term and wants to push legislation addressing Rural Improvement Zones and mandatory state prison term reductions when the Iowa Legislature convenes in January of 2014.
Sheets said RIZ’s are “taxation with representation” because it forces others outside the RIZ to pay taxes to subsidize the children inside the RIZ to attend public schools. Also, county supervisors do not have a say if a RIZ happens and RIZ’s do not have a sunset.
Sheets called his first RIZ bill “sharp and harsh” but it did make it through subcommittee and committee and had bipartisan support but House leadership said they were not going to run the bill this year.
“So I’ve got to do some more work on it next year,” Sheets said.
The other issue Sheets wants to address is mandatory state prison sentence reductions. Sheets said defendants convicted and sentenced, especially for capital crimes, should be required to serve the entire prison sentence, not a portion of it.
“I have a problem with mandatory jail term reductions for (defendants) who commit capital crimes, like murder, rape, insect, child abuse,” Sheets said.
Sheets said jail term reductions shouldn’t be automatic but require a special dispensation by the executive branch of government. He would like to see the 1/3 rule eliminated.
Sheets said he expects to encounter opposition from Democrats to modify the amount of time criminals have to spend in state prison.
Another item Sheets said he wants to address is economic development with Debi Durham to bring jobs to Appanoose County and the district. Sheets praised Durham, who is the director of Iowa Department of Economic Development, for her work bringing fertilizer plants to southeast Iowa.
Sheets made those comments and others during the 30 minute meeting.
“I learned who the statesmen were and who the politicians were,” Sheets said about his first year as a Iowa House representative. “And some people who are driven by principal and others by ambition.”
Sheets said he likes to think Republicans aren’t so blatant in political ambitions, even though it does exist in both parties.
“There’s good and bad on both sides,” Sheets said. “I tend to believe there’s more good on the Republican side.”
Sheets said House Republicans stayed true to four key budget positions:
• “We will spend less than the state collects.”
• “We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs.”
* “We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs.”
• “We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa taxpayers.”
Sheets said House Republicans and Senate Democrats played “a game of chicken” with the education reform bill. Senate Democrats caved after three weeks, Sheets said.
What was eventual accepted by the Senate contained key policy language important to House Republicans, Sheet said. He called the language “freedom issues” for parents who home school, private schools and independent registration and teacher certification.
The bill, among other things, gives Iowa public schools 2 percent in allowable growth and 2 percent one-time cash infusion for 2013-14. In 2015, the schools will get 4 percent in allowable growth.
Other observations from Sheets’ first year in his first term were name recognition and political protocol.
Sheets serves in the economic growth, environmental protection, labor and local government committees and economic development appropriations subcommittee.
Sheets said the first bill he ran that was signed into law dealt with septic tank cleanup.