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February 25, 2016     N. Warren Town and County News
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February 25, 2016

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Page Twelve N/Warren Town and County News Thursday, February 25, 2016 .... ] Senate News ] Legislative Newsletter ] ] By State Senator Julian e. Carrett ] Stan Gustafson ] ] Julian.Garre lesis.iowa.gov. ] Iowa House Representative ] ] District 25 ] Education Funding " " I had an interesting exchange with the Democrat Senator who is the Chair of the Budget: House Republicans have released their budget plan for FY2017. The bud- Education Committee, Herman Quirmbach. He was in charge of the appropriations get is within the projected on-going revenue for the next fiscal year, which is esti- bill for Iowa preK-12 schools for the 2018 fiscal year that begins July 1, 2017. A little mated to be $7.327 billion. Included in the House Republican budget plan is an addi- background: You may know that next year third graders will have to be able to read tional $143 million for K-12 schools through an increase in state supplemental aid adequately or they will be required to attend summer school to catch up, or be held and the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program. This amounts to 93% of the back in third grade. Schools have known for several years that that time was coming, revenue increase in FY2017. In addition, the plan fully funds the state's property tax You would think that they would do whatever is necessary to teach their students to credits, including the Homestead, Elderly and Disabled, and Ag Land property tax credits, and the Military Service property tax exemption. Each budget area target is read. Trying to justify a 4% increase over fiscal 2017, Senator Quirmbach cited a sur- vey that Democrats sent to school superintendents asking what they would cut if as follows: Administration and Regulation 50.71 million; Agriculture and Natural they did not get "adequate funding." The Senator reported that 43% of schools said Resources $42.84 million; Economic Development $41.55 million; Education $983.54 they would cut "literacy funding." million; Health and Human Services $1.831 billion; Justice Systems: $738.89 million; I told the Senate that I was amazed to hear that schools would cut literacy funding Standings $3.630 billion; TOTAL $7.320 billion. With targets released, House budget if they didn't get what they called "adequate funding." I would think that literacy subcommittees will now begin their work to build each individual budget area. would be a priority and would be the last thing cut. What is more important that Medicaid: Over the last several years, Iowa's Medicaid system has been growing at an unsustainable rate. Reform is not optional, it's necessary. Medicaid is eating the teaching young students to read? Perhaps they don't really mean it. Maybe they are just trying to scare us into giving them more money, state's budget and is beginning to crowd out core functions like education, public Spending the Surplus safety, and courts. In 2002, I in 11 Iowans were on a state-administered health pro- The most recent figures that I have seen from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau say gram, but today that number has grown to I in 5 Iowans. General Fund spending on that by June 30, 2016 wehave spent our surplus down to $158.7 millioa, down Medicaid has increased by 133%, growing from $557 million in FY 2003 to $1.3 bil- from a high point of $927.7 million. In spite of the fact that our surplus is almost gone lion in FY 2016. there are still people urging us to spend hundreds of million dollars more than we Medicaid Modernization: Over 85,866 provider contracts (over "95%) have been have. There is an estimated $88.7 million shortfall in Medicaid for this current year. signed based on the Iowa Medicaid Fee-For-Service network in the past 12 months. The $158.7 remaining million balance assumes a new appropriation of $88.7 million All four major hospital systems have signed with a managed care organization (Gen- to pay for Medicaid for the rest of the fiscal year. Medicaid has been eating up greater esis, Merc UIHC, UnityPoint) An administrative law judge indicated Iowa's Med- and greater amounts of money in recent years. That is one reason that the Governor icaid Modernization procurement process was "thoughtful and diligent." 34,406 has moved to trar ,sfer th rest of Medicaid to Managed care. Some parts have been Medicaid patients have actively selected an MCO as of 1-22-16. Medicaid Modern- under a f0rm of managed care for years. Many other states have made the Change to ization will create predictability and sustainability in the Medicaid budget. In FY !, try to make Medicaid affordable. 2017, Medicaid costs will increase $41 million even with managed care. Without it, costs would increase $151 million. Medicaid is the second largest program in state P :i; Clean Water government. Its growth threatens the state's ability to provide additional funding to You have probably heard that Governor Branstad has made an interesting pro- schools and various other programs. According to the Legislative Service Agency, posal to raise money to be used to improve water quality. The source would be the state revenue grew by 2.7% between 2006 and 2015: School funding grew at 4.3%, one cent sales tax that now goes for school infrastructure. The state sales tax was while funding for Medicaid grew by 9A%. It's reported that 31 States have now gone raised by one cent in 2008, and was earmarked for school infrastructure projects. You the managed care route. West Virginia reported to be saving approximately $50 may have seen some of he p rojects at the tax!has, funded. e tax,is scheduled to million through their modernization efforts. terminate at the end of 2029. The Governor has proposed extending the tax for 20 *** years and diverting some of the increase in the revenue raised to water quality pro- This was Funnel Week when Bills needed to be voted out of Committees in order grams. His proposal would give the current revenue raised plus the first $10 million to be debated on the floor. Some of the Bills that were voted out of Committee this increase each year to school infrastructure, and any increase over $10 million would week include: go for water quality projects. The advantage is that it provides money for water qual- HF2034 eases the burden on schools by loosening up professional development ity without a tax increase, but yet leaves substantial money for school infrastructure, funds to purchase additional needed curriculum and textbooks. The proposal is very controversial doubt that the legislature will pass it this HF2309 keeps dangerous and deadly synthetic drugs off the streets and makes it year. A House subcommittee has passed the proposal but I understand that there are easier to prosecute sellers of drugs. likely to be amendments as the proposal proceeds. There is no certainty that it will HF2288 incentivizes production of renewable biochemical products. pass the House. I believe it is even less likely that it would pass the Senate. I expect HSB601 provides more local control and flexibility for school boards to use SAVE the Governor to continue to work on the proposal, dollars. The Bill also addresses many infrastructure and water quality issues. Law Enforcement Profiling HF2241 requires the DOT to submit annual reports to the Legislature detailing I served on a subcommittee that considered what was labeled a law enforcement the status of structurally labeled bridges (a follow up of last year's gas tax increase of profiling bill. I do not support the bill. The 14 page bill prohibits profiling and estab- 10 cents). lishes a number of requirements involving paperwork and other duties placed on HF2147 gives greater access to voting absentee for overseas military members and law enforcement personnel. It provides for a community policing advisory board of overseas citizens. 17 members. Among the 17, the bill provides that the attorney general "shall appoint HSB558 bans sanctuary cities. the following nine board members: four representatives from community organiza- HF2154 increases penalties for illegal solid waste dumping. tions historically associated with efforts to eliminate racial discrimination, of whom HSB621 bans the sale of fetal tissue. one representative shall be at least 16 years of age but not more than 24 years of age You can review the progress of these Bills on our Legislative website: at the time of appointment; three representatives from advocacy groups that support www.legis.iowa.gov. individuals who have experienced discrimination based on race, color, ethnicit re- Summer Reading Pilot Study: Governor Branstad announced a 2016 Intensive ligion, national origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigra- Summer Reading Program pilot study, a project dedicated to assisting school dis- tion or citizenship status, language, or mental or physical disability status; and two tricts in helping young students who struggle to read. Funding is from private gifts clergy members who have significant experience in addressing and reducing racial and transfers from state agencies such as the Department of Education and the Board discrimination and other biases." of Regents. State law which kicks in next school year sets up a process in which a Law enforcement is required to report "stop data," disclosing much detail about student's reading proficiency is tracked from the earliest grades with assessments the person stopped, to the attorney general who is required to compile it, evaluate that determine if the student is on track to reach timely proficiency. Students who and comment upon the data. Law enforcement would have to advise the person are in danger of not reaching proficiency will receive additional resources and their stopped that he or she has the right to file a civil rights complaint against the officer, parents will be notified of the concern and the steps taken to correct the issues. A There are many more details in the bill. I believe it not only puts undue burdens on possible retention is a last resort effort to ensure those severely in need of assistance law enforcement but would require substantial taxpayer money to enforce. We de- are not promoted to the next grade unprepared. This law allows for multiple mea- pend on law enforcement to protect us. The requirements in this bill divert substan- sures to be used to determine proficiency and includes a required summer school tial resources from direct law enforcement activities, to paperwork. I believe it could option. The concern at this point is the current reading proficiency levels. Nearly also damage the morale of law enforcement officers. The bill passed the Judiciary 25% of third-graders did not read proficiently in 2014-2015 on state tests. Beginning Committee by a 7 to 6 vote with I Democrat voting no, along with all 5 Republicans. in 2017, school districts around Iowa will be required to provide high-quality sum- As of now, I do not know if the Senate will pass the bill. The Judiciary Chair, even mer reading programs for students with difficulty reading at the end of third grade. though he voted for the bill, said he agreed with what I said about the bill and that he More than 40 school districts are expected to participate in the pilot project, which wasn't sure if he would advance it to the floor, will involve 1,800 students. The programs will last about four to six weeks. The goal As always, feel free to contact me with your ideas or concerns at Julian.Garrett will be to determine what works and what doesn't for other school districts to imple- @legis.iowa.gov. ment their required reading programs for next summer. Forum: Senator Garrett and I will be attending a Forum at the Farmers and Mer- *** chants Bank in Winterset Saturday, Feb. 27 at 9 a.m. Please plan on attending if you are able. You can find my webpage under the "Our Members" tab at A house without a cat, and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat, may be a perfect house, perhaps, but how can it prove its title? www.iowahouserepublicans.com -Mark Twain Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only oneIf you ask my anything I don't know, I'm not going to answer. had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling. -Yogi Berra -G.K. Chesterton *** *** You have to give 100 percent in the first half of the game. If that isn't enough, in I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very the second half, you have to give what's left. frankly give them fruit for their songs. -Yogi Berra -Joseph Addison ***