Sheets Snapshot – April 24, 2017

by Rep. Larry Sheets

I’m told there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – I hope it’s not a train coming in the opposite direction! This has been the most difficult Session in my experience. Regardless, Session will end soon with a number of significant accomplishments. They include: Deappropriations of budgets to match revenue, Supplemental School Aid Funding, Sanctuary Cities rejection, Public Union Collective Bargaining reform, Voter ID legislation to protect the sanctity of the vote, 2nd Amendment protection for gun owners, 24/7 Sobriety program as a way to combat drunk driving , Preemption of the State over Minimum Wage, Worker’s Compensation reform, texting while driving law, Education Funding Flexibility, Article V convention of states resolution for a balanced federal government, Twenty Week limit on abortions, Medical Malpractice insurance reform, First-Time Homebuyer Tax Incentives, and legalized fireworks. Expanding Medical Marijuana and Clean Water legislation are still on the agenda.

Work on the budget continues into the final days of the 2017 session. Budget subcommittees are hard at work setting priorities and determining individual line items in each of their budget areas. Reductions are necessary to ensure a balanced budget. This budget plan fully funds the additional $40 million promised to K-12 schools earlier this session. K-12 education will be receiving the largest funding increase in all areas of government. Most areas will see budget reductions.

Discussion on just one of the many Bills mentioned earlier could take the entire space available. The deappropriation of abortion providers in the Health and Human Services Budget is an act to be completed this week. This is an event I’ve worked 5 years to accomplish. It is an act I’m glad to be associated with. Recently, Representative Sandy Salmon has been at the forefront of this battle. In the past, Representatives Duane Alons, Tom Shaw, and a third Representative had that role. There are about a dozen disciples of Life that have pushed to save the unborn. The Republican Caucus has joined the battle this year.

I am thankful that the Health and Human Serviced Appropriation Bill (HF653) which passed today reads, ”Distribution of family planning services program funds shall not be made to any entity that performs abortions or that maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed. For the purposes of this section, “abortion” does not include any of the following:
a. The treatment of a woman for a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness, including life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death.
b. The treatment of a woman for a spontaneous abortion, commonly known as a miscarriage, when not all of the products of human conception are expelled.”

This is my last Snapshot of the session. It’s time to focus on family. Tomorrow I drive my family to Indiana to celebrate my mother’s 101 year birthday. My youngest son, Joey, was 8 years old when I first came to Des Moines to do the Peoples’ work. He’s 13 now and is quite the young man. A heavy load falls on my wife Carol when I leave. Our oldest is 25. I’m writing this on his birthday, but we will probably work until midnight again today. I hope you all have a wonderful summer, the crops thrive, and the price of corn goes back up. It has been my honor to serve you.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns at larry.sheets@legis.iowa.gov or 641-895-6153.

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