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Legislative update from Rep. Sharon Steckman

This news story was published on April 13, 2018.
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The following is a legislative update from Rep. Sharon Steckman of Mason City:

Next Tuesday, the 17th, is the scheduled end of this year’s session. I am writing this on Thursday, the 12th, and once more, I am reporting to you that we have not yet seen a single budget bill – let alone debated or passed one. And, although we have seen some opinions on the tax cut bill, we have not yet seen the actual bill. We anticipate that it will be voted out of Ways and Means today and that it will be debated on the House floor on Monday. The majority party did share some details on Wednesday with the media, but not with the minority party.

Also, there is still no agreement between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

I can only quote one of my colleagues who serves as Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee and he stated that the tax plan does not balance the state budget and will lead to more budget cuts in the future. This concerns me greatly!

SJR 2006 passed the House on a party line vote on Wednesday; the bill creates a Constitutional amendment that determines the line of succession for the Governor’s office. I served on the subcommittee and brought forward an amendment that would assure that there is a confirmation process that would involve the legislature, the same procedure laid out in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This would avoid the situation that was created this past year when Governor Reynolds became governor and appointed the Lieutenant-Governor. Because the amendment was voted down, the minority party chose not to support the resolution.

I am pleased to report that the SAVE bill was passed this week. We have been trying to pass the extension of the one-cent sales tax for school infrastructure for several years. This money is key to providing equality in infrastructure funding to property tax poor districts. The bill extends the SAVE program until 2050; it now returns to the Senate for final approval before heading to the governor for her signature.

It was my privilege this morning to help introduce a resolution honoring Dr. Peggy Whitson, a native Iowan, who became an astronaut and has spent a total of 665 days in space. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant and her doctorate in biochemistry from Rice University. She gained acceptance into the astronaut program in 1996. Her first flight into space occurred in 2002 and subsequently, she has spent more time living and working in space than any other American or any woman worldwide.

There was no floor action again on Thursday in the House. We certainly will not be able to complete all the work that needs to be done in the two days remaining! At this point, I have no idea what the schedule will be after next Tuesday. Stay tuned.

As always, I would appreciate any input from you as we work to wind up this session.

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