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88% of bills approved with bipartisan backing

On the House floor for action last week: House Files 223, 262, 264, 266, 291, 292, 323. This was the first debate of the session, and it saw the passing of seven bills with overwhelming bipartisan support. The 87th General Assembly passed 88 percent of its legislation with bipartisan support, and we are on our way to seeing more than that this session.
Read the whole guest editorial in the Feb. 28 Kossuth County Advance.

Iowa should regulate pot like alcohol

Marijuana prohibition is ineffective and expensive. While law enforcement and the court system have done their best to enforce prohibition, prohibition has not made Iowans significantly safer or healthier.
Despite this, Iowa spends millions each year to arrest, prosecute, jail, imprison and punish thousands of nonviolent Iowans for possessing a product that is less toxic, less addictive and less lethal than alcohol.

Of not-so-long-ago memories

Wade, our last-born, texted from Los Angeles the other day asking if I knew what time he was born. I can barely come up with the year any of our five offspring were born – how in the world would I remember the hour? I suppose some super-mothers do, but I probably wouldn’t like them much.

What's behind judge selection proposals?

Procedures on how Iowa nominates new district court judges are probably going to change. Republican majorities in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate are planning to send Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds a bill that would alter the makeup of the nominating commissions that select finalists for openings.

Plan fixes nominating process that isn't broken

On "Iowa Press" this week, Rep. Holt, the chair of the House Judiciary committee railed against the current process of selecting members of district and state judicial nominating commissions. Yet, he did not identify one judge that was the product of this process who was not fit to be on the bench.

Bills on hunting, eagles, rescue pets, judges

Because of my background as a sportsman, I have become the go-to person on the Natural Resource committee for hunting, fishing and recreational issues. The past four years I've spent considerable time outside of the capital learning even more on the issues facing conservation, water quality and natural resources in the state of Iowa.

Stinson Prairie Arts Counci becomes more regional, adds experiences

The Arts Council began the year with an annual meeting and election of officers. Many exciting plans are being made for the upcoming year.
The first change is in the vision of the Arts Council and its role in providing fine art experiences to the public.
Read the full column in the Feb. 14 Kossuth County Advance.

Abortion, judges and education

Several important pieces of legislation began the journey to becoming law this week. Three of those are as follows: an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would stop the court from negating legislation on abortion, a bill that gives citizens more say in who is nominated for open judge seats, and funding for education.
Read the whole column in the Feb. 14 Advance.

Election case

After receiving a report from the Contested Election Committee (CEC), the Iowa House voted to dismiss a contested election for House District 55. The contestant, Kayla Koethers, originally lost to incumbent Michael Bergen by nine votes. The CEC, led by Rep. Holt, concluded that the contestation lacked support by Iowa Code 53.17, Iowa Administrative Code 721.21.14(53) and legislative history surrounding the adoption of HF 2273 in 2016.

Budget work

As week three wraps up at the capitol, many bills are in the process of being drafted, and subcomittee meetings are in full swing.
We also continue with discussions on budget issues. The House and Senate are working on separate budget proposals.
Find the House Happenings in the Feb. 7 Kossuth County Advance.

Stray kittens, football and stuff

It occurs to me that I haven't given you an update recently on the stray cat family that dines on my porch every evening. I'm sure inquiring minds want to know. Sorry to have kept you waiting.
If you are a latecomer to this column (and please bring a note from home explaining why you are late), I started feeding a little gray cat a couple of years ago. I named her St. Francis because I'm crazy about St. Francis and have his statue next to the birdbath.

School transportation

The third week of the 2019 session saw legislation working on a wide variety of ideas in subcommittees. There are more than 200 bills already filed. I'm sure there will be at least that many more.
One of interest to rural Iowa is Senate File 58. It provides more flexibility for rural schools in transporting students to school activities.
Read the whole column in the Feb. 7 Kossuth County Advance.

Bill would change how compensation board picked

This week I have filed a new bill, HF 78, relating to the earliest school start date. This bill gives Iowa K-12 schools permission to start after the last day of the Iowa State Fair.
HF 117, relating to the composition of county compensation boards, intends to have counties form compensation boards from city council members and countee trustees, appointed by a temporary board of peers, to serve as the county compensation board.

Bill would allow person with gun to take kids to school

Since Republicans gained the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives two years ago, we have been working to improve Iowa's business climate. I am excited to see the fruit of that work when I hear Iowa has the lowest unemployment in the nation.
Read the whole column in the Jan. 31 Kossuth County Advance.

Wide range of topics kick off the session

The 88th Session of the Iowa Legislature is in full swing. I am giving my attention to cleaning up a few bills that I tabled at the end of last year rather than just pushing them through prematurely.
One bill relates to the identification and management of infectious diseases in wildlife populations.
Read the whole column in the Jan. 31 Kossuth County Advance.

Expanding our health network: MercyOne and KRHC

These are exciting times at Kossuth Regional Health Center(KRHC). Our "us" just got a whole lot bigger. KRHC has been a part of the Mercy Health Network since 1986. Now we are celebrating and strengthening that relationship with the transition to the new Mercy Health Network brand of MercyOne.
Find out what it all means in the Jan. 31 Kossuth County Advance.

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