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We are quickly approaching our 100th day of session which means we should be finishing up. The house has passed all of its budgets and is waiting on the Standings bill, which is typically the last floor action of a session.  We are currently in a holding pattern as we wait for the Senate to vote on the budgets and send them to the Governor without changes (highly unlikely) or send them back to us with changes.  This is where negotiating takes form.  The House is on call until the Senate completes its work.

We finally passed the bottle bill this week with what we thought was a compromise between the House and the Senate, however, it now appears that the Senate feels like we complicated the “opt-out” process for retailers and it could refuse to accept our changes.  As I have stated, this old, antiquated law needs to be repealed in my opinion, and many of you in the district have agreed with me, however, I have agreed to make improvements to it based on data that says Iowans are still supportive of our Bottle laws.  My biggest concern has always been that Iowans (the consumer) need to be able to return their cans and bottles conveniently for their 5-cent refund.  If we cave to the Senate by allowing retailers to opt-out without any standards in place, we are simply not protecting the consumer.

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Last, but not least, I was asked to meet with the Governor on Tuesday to discuss my opposition to the Education Savings Account Bill (Vouchers).  I have been opposed for many reasons and if you have emailed me in opposition or favor of the bill, you have all received my concerns, and my concerns are the same no matter what side of the fence you are on.  I explained to the Governor that I have concern over the autonomy of private schools, our process in the state to assist struggling public schools, and how we are working to improve them, that we should create a true “Pilot Program” that measures the success of the student and reviews the program in 3-5 years before making any permanent program, and we should lower the FPL if we are trying to help families in poverty to make the best educational choice for their children.  The Governor recently began calling this a Pilot Program, but without my suggestions, I don’t feel that it is.  I will continue to keep you posted should any action take place yet this session.

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