Hite Capitol Update: April 4, 2019

Rep. Dustin Hite (R-District 79)

Rep. Dustin Hite (R-District 79)

by Rep. Dustin Hite

This week was the second funnel deadline of session, which requires Senate bills to get approval from at least one House committee. If a bill fails to pass committee, it is ineligible for the rest of session. But, bills dealing with spending and taxes are not subject to the funnel and remain alive. The Legislature did a good job this year of working ahead to ensure that priority legislation wasn’t left until the last minute.

With this deadline, we were busy in committee meetings passing the pieces of legislation both sides agree will help the state. For instance, the Judiciary Committee passed six bills onto the House floor with bipartisan support on Wednesday. I would like to specifically highlight Senate File 570, which provides for immunity from civil liability for registered architects and professional engineers providing disaster emergency assistance under specified circumstances. This will remove barriers that architects and engineers face when providing assistance in emergency situations. I am happy this bill passed through committee and remains alive this session.

After the second funnel, we turn our attention toward the budget. On Thursday, the House passed the Education budget which funds community colleges, Regent universities, job training programs, and other priorities that keep higher education affordable for Iowa students, address the skilled worker shortage and trains Iowans for 21st century careers, educates teachers to recognize the signs of mental health issues in students, and train new health care providers to practice in rural Iowa.

Some specific highlights of the House Education budget include:

$14.8 million in new funding for Future Ready Iowa and Last Dollar Scholarships to train 7,500 workers for the careers of tomorrow
$16 million funding increase for Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI to keep tuition affordable for Iowa students
$7 million funding increase for community colleges and job training programs that support workers and employers
$3 million in new funding for mental health awareness training to help K-12 teachers identify students with mental health problems
$3 million for All Iowa Opportunity Scholarships to help 635 low-income Iowans attend college
$1.4 million for a rural primary care loan program to help put new doctors in rural areas that need health care providers

The Legislature already provided K-12 schools with a $90 million funding increase at the beginning of session. This funding package increased general support while also targeting dollars to rural schools with high transportation costs and reduced the long-standing per pupil inequity in the funding formula.

In terms of tax legislation, I am currently working on House Study Bill 165. This bill deals with property tax reform as it relates to budget limitations for counties and cities. I, along with my colleagues, am working to address concerns around this legislation to ensure it benefits the maximum number of Iowans. This process is ongoing, and I hope to have more to report next week. If you have any questions regarding House Study Bill 165, I would be happy to answer them. Just send me an email at dustin.hite@legis.iowa.gov or message my Facebook page “Representative Dustin Hite”.

Finally, as always, I would like to mention those that came to visit me at the Statehouse. On Tuesday, Ms. Van Kooten’s 8th grade class from Oskaloosa Christian School came to tour the Capitol and even got to see the top of the dome. Additionally, Joel Groenenboom was in Des Moines to meet with me about school choice. I was also visited by some Iowans very near and dear to my heart, my mom, my aunt Pat and Uncle Curt Hite, and my aunt Joyce Klein, who were up here on Tuesday to see exactly what I do at the Statehouse. Thank you to everyone that came to see me this week. I look forward to meeting even more of you in the last month of session.

Posted by on Apr 4 2019. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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