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N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
April 9, 2015     N. Warren Town and County News
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April 9, 2015

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Thursday, April 9, 2015 N/Warren Town and County News Page Eleven Senate News By State Senator Julian B. Garrett Julian.Garrett@legis.iowa.gov. School Start Date Senator Gronstal withdrew his Motion to Reconsider the school start date bill. It has now gone to the Gover- nor for his signature. Schools cannot start before Au- gust 23 except for elementary attendance centers that are on a year-round calendar. School Funding Republicans on the Conference Committee consid- ering a possible school funding increase rejected a Democrat proposal to increase it by 2.625%. Even at that level, the Governor's proposed budget would have to be cut substantially to get spending below expected rev- enue. Second Funnel The end of last week was the second funnel date in the session. Bills that have not passed at least one cham- ber and passed out of a committee in the other chamber are likely dead for the session. Appropriations and tax bills are not subject to the funnel dates. Budget Work Hopefully we will get agreement soon on the amount the state will spend in the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015. The Appropriations Subcommittees will then be able to begin work on the details of the various parts of the budget. I am once again the lead Republican on the Justice Systems Budget Subcommittee. We will work out the details of the budget for the prisons, the courts, the highway patrol, the law enforcement academy and the Attorney General's Office, among others. If we can- not get an overall agreement, it may be that each cham- ber will work with its own budget amount though that will slow down the work considerably. We will still have to have an overall agreement on each part of the budget before we can adjourn. You may recall that in 2011 we did not adjourn until June 30 because we did not have agreement on the budget until then. 911 Work Group I have been selected to serve on a 911 Work Group that will work on modernizing communications among the various state and local law enforcement and emer- gency personnel. Hopefully we will be able to establish a system that will allow all of the different agencies to readily communicate with each other, at a reasonable cost. Gun Rights The Senate passed a bill to allow Iowans to own sound suppressors for firearms. The House has passed a more comprehensive gun rights bill, but we were not allowed to vote for it in the Senate. The House is working on amendments to the Senate bill. Senate Visitors Senate guests last week included Girl Scouts from Norwalk. Upcoming Forum I will be at the City Hall in Norwalk for a legislative forum Saturday, April 11, at 9 a.m. Also present will be Representative Gustafson, Norwalk Mayor Tom Phillips and City Manager Marketa Oliver. The public is wel- come and invited to ask questions or make comments on whatever is on their mind. As always, feel free to contact me with your ideas or concerns at Julian.Garrett@legis.iowa.gov. HEALTHY IDEAS (NAPS)--Many areas of the country are experiencing a shortage of professionals such as psychiatrists, psy- chologists, counselors and social workers. The human impact as well as the costs of mental illnesses left un- treated can be staggering, say the experts at the University of Phoenix. $** It's now possible to have a "house call" by your doctor via your smartphone and the meVisit--which stands for mobile e-Visit--system, a technology designed by a doc- tor for use by doctors. Learn more from Jeffrey Lewis, president of the Institute for Healthcare Innovation, at jeffrey@institute.bz. / More than 420,000 out-of- hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the U.S. Most of these victims die, often because bystanders don't know CPR or are afraid thefll do something wrong. The AHA is training the next generation of lifesavers with CPR in Schools. Learn more at www.heart.org/CPRin Schools. Legislative Newsletter Stan Gustafson Iowa House Representative District 25 This was the second funnel week, which means if a Senate Bill is not voted out of the assigned House com- mittee or a House Bill is not voted out of the assigned Senate committee, the Bill is dead for this session. We had a light debate schedule this week, as subcommit- tees and committees were busy pushing Bills through the process. The Judiciary Committee, on a bipartisan vote, amended and passed SF427 Wednesday evening which relates to possession of firearms and suppressors. It has not yet been scheduled for debate on the floor. The Legislature has passed SF227 which sets August 23 as the earliest school start date and will be sent to the Governor for his signature. I have received emails from constituents opposed to this Bill, criticizing it because it is "just about money" or the state fair. According to information I received from the Travel Federation of Iowa, the 12 days between August 11 and August 23 will generate an estimated $12.57 million more in state and local taxes. The first bill the House Republicans approved in 2015 was school funding. Schools are getting th e first bite of the apple when it comes to state spending. The prob- lem is the apple, due to falling revenues, is not as big as many had hoped. Other important responsibilities, such as funding Medicaid, economic development and pub- lic safety, still have to receive funding in addition to education. The House position continues the legislature's trend of providing significant increases to the state's K-12 system, bringing the five year total in- crease to over $570 million, a nearly 22% increase. Ac- cording to the Department of Education's Allocation Summary documents, Iowa will spend $10,231 per stu- dent in FY 15. That means in classroom of 20, Iowa spends just over $200,000. Senate Democrats have taken the position that the Legislature needs to enact a 4% increase now, regardless of the current state revenue numbers, and then figure out how to fund it later. Short term decisions which are contrary to available data rarely result in long term success. Saddling the folks in our communities with higher taxes and more debt is a destructive financial course for our local schools and taxpayers. I have also been given information Which leads me to believe approximately 80% of the education budget is for teacher salary and fring e benefits. If this is accu- rate, then 20% of the 6% (i.e. 1.2% increase) Supplemen- tal State Aid originally requested would be enough for everything else needed other than teacher salary in- creases and benefits. Thus the 1.25 % increase in House File 80 would cover the needs of education other than teacher salary and benefits increase. Therefore, we are primarily talking about teacher increased compensation (and benefits) when we talk about any additional funds over the 1.25% increase. I have gotten many letters and emails from across the State which talk about teacher cuts, such as a Middle school having to cut two of the four tennis coaches, two of the four soccer coaches, a teacher for students with reading difficulties and a teacher for students with math difficulties or, another school district having to maybe eliminate "non-required" programs. I would hope that a school district would fund the required (needed) pro- grams first before funding "non-required" programs and make sure that the students have necessary skills, such as reading and math, before they learn to play ten- nis. I even got an email from a former school board member in a school in which the superintendent did not put in a program which would help the teenage boys because the money wasn't there, yet the teachers all got a "hefty" salary increase. What I don't hear from the teachers/administrators who complained about need- ing to cut teachers and programs is whether the remain- ing teachers all got salary and/or benefit increases. Senator Garrett and I will be attending the "Com- munity Chat" in the City Council Chambers at the Norwalk City Hall Saturday, April 11, at 9 a.m. Plan on attending if you are able. You can find my webpage under the "Our Members" tab at www.iowahouse republicans.com. Baby robins eat 14 feat of earthworms every dayl We would just love to print information concerning the birth of your new baby. Please, fill out the information below and send it to us. There is no charge! Parents' Names: Address: City: Phone: (Not for publication.) Circle One -Boy or Girl: Name of Newborn: Weight:. Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Name of Hospital: Baby's Brothers & Sisters & Ages: Length: Grandparents & Their City: Great-Grandparents & Their City: We will list great-great-grandparents if they are still living. Use extra paper, if necessary. Call 981-0406 or return this form to: N/Warren Town and County News ,, P.O. Box 325/Norwalk, IA 50211   .... The average person falls asleep in seven minutes. 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