The storm sweeping through North Iowa Tuesday night was devastating to so many. I was pleased to see the Governor’s disaster declaration for our area and would encourage anyone who needs to please contact me if you encounter any problems navigating the system. There is also more information below with links.
This is the current status of the 2021 Session of the 89th General Assembly: Today is the 96th day of the 100 day session. As I reported last week, the House has passed all but one of the departmental budget bills; the Senate has passed none. House members were notified Tuesday afternoon that there would be no more business conducted in our chamber for the rest of the week. We were told to go home.
Next week is a mystery at this time and I suppose you could consider us all “on-call”. It would seem that the majority party in the Senate is holding the budgets hostage until the House passes the Ed. Omnibus bill (SF2369), and possibly other legislation. The majority party in the House does not have the votes to pass SF2369 because many in their party are standing strong for public education and against the vouchers, which is part of this omnibus bill. Fifty-one votes are necessary to pass a bill. The majority party has 60 members and they will not bring the bill to the floor if they do not have the votes. It seems that we are at an impasse between the two chambers and within the majority party. I am grateful to all who are standing steadfast in support their public schools. Vouchers are especially detrimental to rural schools.
We did pass one bill this week that is of major concern to many Iowans – the “bottle bill”. It is definitely not the bottle bill I would have preferred if we were given a say in the final product, but it did a few things that I feel will help the present situation. The bottle bill (Iowa Beverage Container Control law) was passed in 1979 and has been, up until lately, very successful. Since 1979 the redemption rate going to handlers has been one penny per can. This bill, SF2378 as amended, increases that to three cents. I am hopeful this will encourage more redemption centers to open up across Iowa.
The bill also allows portable deposit redemption centers called “Drop-it” to be used across the state and increases the fine for not accepting bottles and cans. However, it does not require grocery stores to accept returns and the distributor is still keeping unclaimed deposit money….two issues that I did not favor. In the end, my vote in favor was based on the increase in handling fee for redemption centers and in order to continue the bottle bill in total. Many have pushed to remove the bottle bill completely.
Again, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns, and as I stated earlier, if there is anything I can do to help expediate disaster relief to those in need, please contact me asap. I appreciate hearing from each and every one of you.