There are a number of decisions still to be made, first and foremost being the budget. Governor Branstad is standing firm on his pledge to veto any budget that is not sent to him in two-year form.Senate Democrats have sent the Governor both a one year budget and yesterday a one-and-a-half year budget, which I believe will be vetoed and leave Iowa's government in gridlock over the budget issue.
On Wednesday, the gaming bill was debated in the Senate. The bill consisted of three major components: completion of a report regarding online gambling, changing the current referendum law, and setting schedules for horse racing. I understand the economics behind the proposed changes to the referendum and horse racing, but I ultimately decided to vote against this legislation both in committee and on the floor. I think it's safe to say that this legislation's fate is uncertain in the House.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate passed one version of mental health reform on a 27-23 vote.There are two versions of the reform bill, one of which originated in the House.At some point there will have to be some give and take as to what components of each bill make it into the final version. However, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds have established some broad goals that are likely to be considered.They include establishing a county-based, statewide system of providing mental health services that are affordable, accessible, and still accountable to the public.
There are still several important bills on the table, which deal with abortion, wind energy, and renewable fuels. My hope is that we get through this legislation before adjournment, although nothing is certain.
It is an honor serving as your state senator, so 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. Please forward my newsletter on to your family and friends. If you would like to be added to my email list send me your contact information. Until next time, have a great week!