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The Senate Side with Senator Annette Sweeny- Fourth Week of Session 2020

February 13, 2020
Reinbeck Courier
Week four was another short week for us because of the Iowa caucuses on Monday. While the week was shorter, it also included the ?rst ?oor debate of the year. This week work also continued on ?nding solutions to one of the biggest issues in education, violent student behavior. Update on SSB 3080: it was approved at the subcommittee level and a number of changes were made during the Senate Education Committee to aid implementation, clarify intent and provide more speci?c allocation of resources for therapeutic classrooms. The goal of this legislation remains the same, giving schools districts options for placements of students with violent behavior, keeping teachers safe, and ensuring all students receive the education they deserve. Also this week the Senate began work on Senate File 2144 provided funding in the current ?scal year for ?ood relief and funding to address issues at the State Resource Center in Glenwood passed the Iowa Senate. This supplemental appropriation directs $333,000 to the institution to improve operations and the facility, which has been the subject of a federal investigation. The bill calls for $137,000 to contract with experts for the direct consultation, evaluation, and planning for improvement in operations. It also calls for $102,000 to complete a comprehensive facility assessment as well as an OSHA consultation. Lastly, $94,000 is directed to contract with the UIHC for a peer review of patient care. More Resources for Flood Recovery One of the ?rst bill passed out of the Iowa Senate this legislative session appropriates $20 million in state funding for ?ood disaster relief in Iowa. Iowa counties were ravaged by ?ood 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 ?ooding. The Senate voted to allocate $15 million toward ?ood relief before adjourning in 2019. The ?rst bill debated of the 2020 session, Senate File 2144, was a supplemental appropriation to again go toward ?ood 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 ?ooding this spring. The levels of state funding necessary to address the immediate need have been determined by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security in coordination with the governor and her staff. The Department of Homeland Security will continue to work with federal agencies to determine the amount of future federal funds anticipated to be received. Once the department has a clearer picture of the federal funds to be received, which they should know before the legislature adjourns, additional state funding may be required to help Iowans rebuild and get back on their feet. The legislature will look at appropriating additional funds at that time. Funding for these emergencies has not created a budget crisis because Senate Republicans have carefully managed the state budget and provided a cushion to absorb this need for ?ood relief. Since the natural disaster occurred last spring the state department of Homeland Security has been working with federal agencies to acquire available resources to assist displaced Iowans, rebuild roads and highways, work with fellow Iowans and communities in the southwest portion of our state. Finally, I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers across our great state who participated, help organize, ran and spoke on behalf of so many candidates during the Iowa Caucus. Many locations were held in community centers, churches, schools and even homes on Caucus night. Without your months and weeks of hard work and organization these things could not of been accomplished. As we know there have been some glaring issues regarding the reporting of the results. I want you to know there are always ongoing conversations and ideas to implement on how to make our caucuses accurate and ef?cient. We take our First In The Nation serious and we will continue to work hard on your behalf to keep it so your voice is heard Here is a link to stay tuned to the legislature: Click here!

Best regards, Annette

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