The Segebart Report
Friday, February 15, 2019
668 Bills have been filed in the Senate and the House. House and Senate Calendars are starting to fill up with bills eligible for floor debate.
Floor debate began this week with approval of rules that have existed in the Senate for many years.
- The Senate rule which governs committees (Rule 39) was unchanged since the Democrats were last in control (86th General Assembly), until Senate Republicans implemented specific policies requiring that subcommittee meetings are public (Rule 39, Subrule 13) and requiring every piece of legislation to have a public subcommittee meeting (Rule 39, Subrule 3)
- Senate Rules have always required committee meetings to be open to the public, and Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure (Section 650), which governs Senate procedure, states that all rules governing meetings of committees also apply to subcommittees, thus subcommittee meetings were also open to the public, but that has been clarified in the Senate Resolution 3
- There has never been a “24 hour” requirement in Senate Rules
- There is no intention to change the way the Senate has operated under both Democrat and Republican control, and current and past practices have been clarified
We voted this week on an education funding package to allocate more than $89 million in new spending for K-12 education. These bills are the first to be sent to Governor Reynolds this legislative session.
This package includes new money for schools and additional money to address transportation and per pupil inequities across the state. Our primary goal was finding an amount the state can guarantee our schools to allow them to plan their budgets and their school year, while also taking into account the number of things our budget also has to fund. The sustainable funding increase continues a nine-year trend of growth in new spending for K-12 education. In the last nine years, the legislature has increased K-12 funding by nearly $845 million.
When you look at all the taxpayer money that goes into K-12 education, the annual investment is $7.1 billion or $14,600 per student. Without a doubt, this is a strong investment into the education of students all across the state.
Years from now, Iowa’s students will be the leaders of our state, and their education and success is vital. These bills passed in the Senate affirm our commitment to passing an education budget in a timely manner for Iowa schools, and affirm our commitment to schools as teachers prepare our students to grow and succeed.
It is an honor to be your senator. There is a forum this week in Storm Lake at King’s Pointe at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
The Segebart Report
Friday, February 8, 2019
Ground hog was wrong, Mother nature is still in charge. February is Heart month. Remember that CPR is always a good response for a person who has no heartbeat. They suggest that you do not need to do the mouth to mouth respirations that were recommend 20 years ago, but a hint to do the compressions in sync with the disco tune Staying Alive made popular by the John Travolta move called Saturday Night Fever of the 1980”s.
This week I ran the bill often called the “Iowa Care Act” both through the subcommittee and 24 hours later through the full committee. It is now eligible for debate on the floor and is funnel proof. It passed both committees unanimously the bill provides for the designation of a lay caregiver relating to an inpatient’s stay at a hospital if the patient so desires. It requires the hospital to notify that care giver when the patient is dismissed from the hospital. The hospital will also discuss the care the patient needs when returning such as medicines, shots, or other therapies. They will also evaluate the abilities of the caregiver to perform the needed care for keeping the patient in their home. As you might imagine this keeps the patient from being institutionalize and saves the state or the family a lot of money.
It is an Honor.
Forum this week at Denison Cronks Café 10 am.
The Segebart Report
Friday, February 1, 2019
Coldddddddddddddddddddd. Twenty below has not happened in the seven years I have served in the Senate. But things were still hot in the Capitol. Subcommittees were meeting every day.
I chaired two subcommittees on Thursday. SF5 would remove the automatic property tax exemption for Forest Reserves. Arguments for and against the bill were made to the committee by 25 different representatives of groups involved with timber sales, soil conservation, and water quality to name a few.
The original bill was passed into code in 1924. I did not sponsor SF5, but was assigned by the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee as the floor manager. The desire of the legislator who sponsored the bill was to help many of our smaller counties in the southern part of Iowa reign in a costly property tax dollars exemption. The southern counties have the lion’s share of Iowa’s natural forest. The county general fund pays for roads, police and fire protection, mental health services, and many other services. Those small counties are also experiencing purchasing of tracts of forested areas by out-of-state buyers whose intent is not contribute to the tax base at all because of this exemption in the code. I believe the job of granting or denying this exemption should fall to the county board of supervisors. I am asking for that amendment before moving the bill along. This will restore local control and end an unfunded mandate that has existed since 1924.
My second subcommittee was SF60. This is a metabolic newborn screening panel bill that would match Iowa’s panel to the federal panel. This screening of newborns is a blood test of newborns during the first 48 hours of life and would test for 25 life threatening conditions that may be present but not normally a problem that require treatment before their symptoms take effect and often become fatal to the child. There are over 5,000 deaths per year caused by these diseases. The tests would be made by the state hygienic lab. Startup costs are quite high and are a concern for several senators, but at this time I am very supportive of the bill. A neighbor of mine and a constituent lost their baby and brought this issue to me. The disease was called spinal muscular atrophy and it is now being recommended to the state screening panel.
It is an honor to be your senator. There is a forum in Audubon Saturday morning at Memorial hall at 10 am.
The Segebart Report
Friday, January 25, 2019
The second week began on Tuesday with Monday being Martin Luther King Day. Subcommittees are beginning to meet on a regular basis. My first subcommittee as a member of Natural Resources Committee was on SF46, a bill to allow landowners to permit people to fish without a license in private ponds with permission from the land owner. This is in ponds only, not in any streams that may run through the private property.
The second subcommittee was about improving the ‘bottle bill,’ SF59, to allow grocers and convenience stores to opt-in or out of redeeming cans back from consumers at their stores, but use redemption centers instead. The redemption centers will be able to receive two cents in handling fees from the bottlers instead of one penny as in the past. The Bottle Bill, the nickel deposit on cans and bottles in Iowa, has been one of the best laws in Iowa history for cleaning up the streets and recycling beverage containers.
I am also working on a subcommittee to remove the Forest Reserve property tax exemption option. This bill would increase the amount of tax dollars to counties for things they use their general funds for, such as conservation, or mental health services, or police or fire protection. Many parts of Iowa have large tracts of forested land being purchased by out of state buyers who request the exemption and pay very little to support community public services.
It is an honor to be your senator. There is a forum this week is at New Hope in Carroll at 10 am.
The Segebart Report
Friday, January 18, 2019
Greetings to you all from the state Capitol
Week one of the 2019 legislative session of the 88th General Assembly of the Iowa State Legislature is underway.
New members were sworn in on Monday. Governor Reynolds gave her Condition of the State address on Tuesday. She called for the Legislature to extend the time Mental Health Regions have to spend down their capital balances and increase the percentage of their operating budgets that may be carried from one year to the next. I am currently drafting a bill to do just that! She said, “I am proud to declare the condition of the State is strong. Our budget is balanced and our cash reserves are full; wages are going up while unemployment is at an all-time low, and we‘ve been recognized as the No. 1 state in the country.”
She continued, “It is time to move past the talking phase” in regards to a Children’s Mental Health system. She also called for the Legislature to appropriate additional money to train nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants in Mental Health.
The forum at Kings Point this Saturday may be canceled by bad weather, so check the media before leaving in a snow storm.
It’s an honor to be your senator.
I serve as the vice chair of the Human Resources Committee, as well as the Natural Resources & Environment and Local Government committees.