Following the conclusion of funnel week, many bills finally came to the floor this week for a vote. The overwhelming majority of these bills were non-controversial bills, covering a range of topics. Most of these bills passed unanimously. One such bill was Senate File 2201, which made the kidnapping of children 17 and younger a class “B” felony by adding it to the definition of second degree kidnapping. This will require those likely to be repeat offenders to serve longer sentences, in response to the tragic kidnapping and murder of Kathlynn Shepard in May of 2013.
While the bipartisan passage of many bills this week was a breath of fresh air, Iowa Senate Democrats unfortunately continued their record of failed leadership with regard to fiscal stewardship of Iowa taxpayers’ money. Multiple times this week, Democrats pushed for spending increases ranging from two million dollars to 50 million dollars. Since I was elected, I have fought to ensure Iowa’s taxpayers are treated fairly. It is simply not realistic to think government can grow at a rate of ten percent or more, as families see modest increases to their income at best.
Over the past few weeks, the Senate appropriation subcommittees began meeting to discuss the budget for Fiscal Year 2015. Over the next few weeks, the majority parties in both the House and the Senate will release their budget targets for fiscal year 2015. This is the first major step in the budgeting process. Over the next few weeks I will outline the budget proposals and provide updates on the process. Fiscal discipline was a cornerstone of my election and I will continue to fight for responsible budgeting.
Throughout the legislative session, Representative John Landon, Representative Kevin Koester and I host forums to hear feedback from our constituents. Last week we had over 30 people at our forum at the Noodle Zoo in Ankeny. We had a great discussion about many different topics. We have three forums left this year: March 8 at 8:30 am at the Neveln Center, March 29 at 8:30 am at the Noodle Zoo in Ankeny, and April 12 at 9:00 am at the Neveln Center. I hope to see you at one of these forums. As always, feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected].