The Rozenboom Report by Senator Ken Rozenboom – February 7, 2020

by Ken Rozenboom

Week four was a short week for legislators because of the Iowa caucuses on Monday, meaning we didn’t start the week until Tuesday. Our first “funnel” deadline is quickly approaching, and there’s a lot of pressure to get bills through the committee process in the next two weeks. While the week was shorter, it did include the first floor debate of the year.

Several Iowa counties were ravaged by flood damage last spring when levees were breached due to ice build-up, winter melt, and spring rains. Many Iowans were forced out of their homes and had no choice but to suspend farming or business operations due to the unprecedented flooding.

Before adjourning in 2019, the Senate voted to allocate $15 million toward flood relief. The first bill passed out of the Senate in the 2020 session, Senate File 2144, was a supplemental appropriation to again go toward flood relief. This bill appropriates $20 million to the State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to be allocated to local communities to begin repairing levees to protect against potential flooding this spring.

One of the duties of the Iowa Senate is to confirm or deny the Governor’s appointees to many boards and commissions. This year those appointees include several department heads. The governor has named new directors for the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Transportation, all of whom will go through the confirmation process. In addition, the governor named Kayla Lyon as the new Director of the Department of Natural Resources.

As the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment I have a keen interest in who heads the IDNR, and I’m personally very excited to head up the confirmation process of Ms. Lyon. This Tuesday she testified in front of my committee and demonstrated the necessary skills and leadership ability to lead that important department. From her childhood experiences growing up on a northeast Iowa dairy farm, to her obvious passion for protecting Iowa’s natural resources, Kayla conducted her committee interview in a very professional and compelling way. I certainly will advocate for her permanent appointment to the position.

Speaking of the Iowa DNR, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s state park system. Also on Tuesday, the DNR presented their plans to celebrate this milestone anniversary at parks all around the state. For more information please link to: www.iowadnr.gov/parks2020.

Iowa’s first state park was Backbone State Park in northeast Iowa. It was dedicated on May 28, 1920. Today, Iowa’s state park system has 83 state parks and recreation areas for hiking, camping and sight-seeing.

It’s hard not to notice all the black and white license plates on Iowa’s vehicles. Commonly called the blackout plate, the legislature authorized the new plates in 2019, making the plates available on July 1, 2019. In the first 6 months of the program 109,000 blackout plates have been purchased, contributing an additional $4.6 million to the Road Use Tax Fund. Because of the popularity of this program other alternative license plate options are being discussed.

Please join Representatives Brink and Hite and me at Eggs and Issues this Saturday morning at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa from 8:30 – 9:30. It’s a great opportunity to let us know what’s on your mind.

Posted by on Feb 8 2020. 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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