This is the sixth week of the 2020 Session of the 88th General Assembly. It is also “Funnel Week”. A bill has to pass out of committee in the Chamber where it started. Any bills that don’t pass out of committee by the end of “funnel week” (with the exception of Appropriations and Ways and Means bills) are “dead” bills. Because of this deadline, many subcommittee meetings went on and some committee meetings lasted longer. It keeps us pretty busy up here. Several bills have passed out of the committees that I am a part of. I have chosen a few of them to summarize for you that I thought would be of interest.
This bill would make it possible for county engineers to be employed by more than one county at a time. Some counties don’t have as much work for their county engineers as other counties do. This bill would allow more than one county to employ an engineer and split the cost.
We have a shortage of large animal vets in Iowa. This bill seeks to incentivize people to become large animal vets by making funds available to help cover their college costs. Anyone who would receive these funds would be required to practice in the state of Iowa for four years before they could move somewhere else.
This bill deals with the property tax levy that schools use to help drop-out students and at-risk students. There will be a 5% limitation.
It is difficult for hearing impaired children to keep up with the mainstream situation. This bill seeks to help deaf and hard of hearing children, ages birth to eight years, succeed in their education. The bill would require the Department of Education to engage an Early Language Development Coordinator (such as the AEA), provide parent resources, and develop an advisory committee, among other things.
This bill would allow people that are a part of the Rural Physician Loan Repayment Program to keep receiving payments for loans after they refinance a federal loan with a private educational loan. We are trying to encourage physicians to come to the rural parts of the state by using the incentive of paying part of their loans.
UNI Day at the Capitol:
Last Monday was UNI Day at the Capitol. I had the opportunity to visit with Timothy Dirksen, a Biochemistry student at UNI. It’s always fun to run into someone you know up here. It looks like he’s doing a great job.