By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
The second of three legislative briefings with area legislators was held Saturday morning in the Washington Area Performing Arts and Events Center with Rep. Jarad Klein, Rep. David Heaton and Sen. Rich Taylor. Sen. Kevin Kinney was unable to attend.
Klein said that the briefing was being held right after ?funnel week.? He said a lot of bills had died in committee. He also said that many people have contacted him regarding a bill that dealt with credit unions and banks, although he had not seen such a bill.
?There is a lot of hype going on out there getting people all worked up over some stuff that is probably not going to happen, but it benefits certain other people to have folks all nervous,? Klein said.
He said the supplemental state aid for schools had passed the House and Senate and had moved to the governor?s office. Klein said that an additional $289,000 would be provided to school districts for a transportation inequality section of the bill. He said that the one percent increase in school funding is coming during a year when other parts of the state budget are seeing a decline, which he said shows continued commitment to K-12.
Klein also said that he is sponsoring several bills, including changes to ignition interlock systems, sex offender registry, and opioids.
Heaton complimented the auditorium the briefing was held in. He said several bills people had been concerned about did not pass muster during funnel week. He said the constitutional right to carry bill was gone for the year. The bottle bill and death penalty bill were both done for the year.
?We passed out an opiod bill to deal with our opiod epidemic,? Heaton said. ?We are going to have a mandatory PMP. In other words the pharmacies are going to be keeping track electronically of the dispensing of these drugs and doctors are going to have to use this system to prescribe them. We think there are a lot of things in that bill that can go a long way with dealing with the opiod epidemic.?
Heaton said the state had done the best it could with the allowable growth, given the resources the state had available.
Taylor spoke of the Senate bill that removed the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Iowa. He said the bill had died before it got to the Senate committee. He said with his studying of the bill, it wasn?t good for either side of the issue. Another bill Taylor worked on in the labor committee dealt with anyone who received any kind of benefit from the state such as food stamps or unemployment, would have to take a drug test before they qualified. He said it passed without his support.
?It is telling Iowans in desperate need of support that we think you are a drug user,? Taylor said. ?It says we think all of you are drug users and we are going to test all of you, not based on suspicion, but just simply because you are getting something we think you shouldn?t be getting. To me that is saying people are guilty until proven innocent and that is not the way things work.?
The third and final legislative briefing of the year will be held from 10 a.m. to noon March 17 in the auditorium.