It used to be, if a kid didn't like the way a baseball game was going, he would take his bat and ball and go home. The same thing happened here Wednesday when House Democrats walked out of the Capitol in protest over two pieces of gun legislation that were about to be debated on the House floor. They left about 9:30am and demanded the Speaker of the House pull the bills from the debate schedule. Thankfully, the Speaker said no and by 4:00pm, the Democrats began to trickle back into the Statehouse. In talking to some of my Democrat colleagues, it would appear they recognized their walk-out was not playing well with the general public, so they decided to come back and debate the bills. After all, isn't that what we were elected to do?
This would be a good spot for me to take a few shots at my Democrat friends, but I am not going to. It would serve no purpose and I prefer to take the high ground. Plus, over the years, I have seen both parties have their special moments. However, my itch to lob a bomb or two across the aisle is fueled by the fact that the Democrats actually walked out of the building and they said that they did not know the bills were going to be debated. The bills have been on the white and blue calendars for days, which means they are eligible for debate at any time. And it is my belief that is it our job as legislators to represent all of our constituents all of the time - even when a situation may seem difficult or uncomfortable. Okay, enough on this topic. That was yesterday and today was a productive Thursday. It's best to put things behind us and look towards next week. That is what people expect of us.
We are at the half-way point of the session, and most committee work is winding down. More time is being allotted for floor debate, and that was evident this week. The House passed four budget bills this week and sent them to the Senate. We have one more to go - the Human Services bill - which will take several hours to debate. It spends about $2 billion and contains dozens of sections. When this bill passes the House, we will have all of our appropriations bills sitting in the Senate. The House is waiting for the Senate for send us their half of the appropriations bills, but it appears they are at least a week behind. We are on a fast pace to finish our work, so I am hoping to see some Senate bills next week.
Last week, House File 2330 passed the House Transportation Committee. Under current law, a minor between the ages of 14 and 18 can be issued a special driver's license (school permit) for the general purposes of getting to and from school. School permits allow the student to drive between 5am and 10pm on the most direct and accessible route between the student's home and school and school activities within the school district.
House File 2330 changes current law to allow for such situations where the child's parents do not live in the same house. The bill allows the child to have a starting or ending destination (in addition to their home) of either parent's residence if that parent has physical custody or visitation rights and lives within the district of enrollment, or in a contiguous school district. The bill passed unanimously and now moves to the House floor for further consideration. I supported the bill.
You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home on weekends at 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. My home address is P.O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at email@example.com.