Increase of $40 million in state aid to schools



R-District 6

Another busy week. Being a chair of a standing committee is like drinking water from a fire hose. My clerk and I are getting much better at the process and have it figured out. In my opinion, human resources generates more bills than the rest combined.  The deadline for bills to be drafted is next Friday. This will turn down the pressure on that fire hose quite a bit. The first funnel deadline is March 3.

The funnel deadline is the point where all bills that haven’t made it through the committee process  are done for this year, but still are alive for next year. They won’t have to be redrafted next year. They can start the committee process next year at the top of the list. I will be prioritizing the list I have and concentrating to get them done before the first funnel. Currently my list includes: bills from the Older Iowans Legislature (includes sexual predators facilities and workforce development); cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is one of the leading causes of birth defects; dense breast tissue reporting, a hereditary condition that causes mammograms to miss breast cancer diagnosis in one out of six woman in Iowa, just to name a few.

Action in the Senate this week included SF 2 which took away state money from abortion providers in Iowa, but will offer many more choices for women’s health care across the state.  In my district, that means we will go from no choices to 15  Medicaid providers. The school supplemental aid was also passed out of the Senate.

Senate Republicans are committed to providing responsible and sustainable funding for local school districts. The Supplemental State Aid (SSA) increase for FY 18 makes a promise to local schools that can be kept. Senate File 166 provides an increase of about $40 million in state aid to local school districts. This is a first step towards meeting our obligations to set school aid in a timely manner. Schools have been asking for the legislature to set SSA early, so they know what they have to work with, so they can make plans for their budgets. Senate Republicans have taken this request seriously and started moving the process forward with SF 166.

It is an honor to be your Senator for the sixth District.