Last week began with anticipation as the proposed congressional and legislative maps were released on Thursday, March 31, by the Legislative Services Agency. In the weeks ahead there will be public hearings regarding the new maps. The legislature must accept or reject the first and second maps, but can amend the third. If none of the three maps are accepted, the Iowa Supreme Court draws the new lines. In 1991 and 2001 the first draft was rejected with the second map being adopted. A number of incumbent Senators were paired together. Both Republicans and Democrats will analyze the lines and the numbers to decide if the new map puts them in a position for electoral gains. I can't predict what will happen, but it will make for some great political theater.
The second funnel trims the amount of legislation eligible for consideration by the two chambers. However, the funnel deadline is not without exceptions. Both Ways and Means and Appropriations bills are exempt from the funnel. To be considered an Appropriations or Ways and Means bill, one of these two committees must sponsor the bill or be the committee of first referral in the Senate. All tax and spend bills, if not sponsored by these committees, must be referred to these committees. Thus, any legislation which spends money or levies a tax is eligible until the last day of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end on Friday, April 29th.
I served on the subcommittee for SF 496, an act relating to the promotion of biodiesel fuel. The bill will likely be amended in committee to also provide tax credits for ethanol blends which include E10, E15 and E85. There were a number of issues raised during the meeting. I am hopeful that the final product aids growth in the renewable fuels industry.
The next two weekends (April 2 and 9) mark the final town halls of the legislative session. While I cannot introduce legislation for the remainder of the legislative year, I can begin to collect your ideas and input for next year. You are not obligated to stay for the entire hour. So, if you have something on your mind, plan to attend. We want to hear from you.
It is an honor serving as your state senator. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments and ideas. You may reach me at 712-898-2505 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, have a great week!