Can’t get ‘tough on crime’ with no money
On Saturday (Feb. 25), my wife and I traveled to Bloomfield and Keosauqua where we held forums. I was amazed at the range of subjects and the interests of the people attending these informal meetings.
I learned that rural Iowa is experiencing increased domestic violence at the same time the budget available to aid these victims is being reduced. Budget cuts to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is resulting in a backlog of cases and may result in criminal charges being dismissed by the court when evidence is not processed in a timely manner was also a topic.
It is ridiculous to say we are getting tougher on crime if we are dismissing cases because of budget cuts, in my opinion.
The gutting of collective bargaining by recent legislation for public employees and the divisions now drawn within our law enforcement community by the passage of this bill may create problems of unknown depth. Another proposed bill that will change the way professions are licensed is of great concern and discussion. People who have spent a considerable amount of time and money in gaining the necessary education for their chosen fields are very concerned about the qualifications of people able to perform services. HSB 138 is very broad and would change the way professionals are licensed, be they a dental hygienist or a funeral director among other things.
This bill, if passed, will affect us from cradle to grave. Upon my return to Des Moines, I learned the bill is being rewritten as a result of the tremendous negative response from professional people across Iowa.
Iowa’s privatization of Medicaid by turning the administration of the program over to three big insurance companies was also discussed. The comments were all negative. Providers are not being paid in a timely manner nor paid properly. Some may be forced to close their doors. You cannot continue to operate a business when these large insurance companies delay payment.
The proposal to make massive changes in Iowa’s gun laws was brought up at the forums. The concern ranged from sawed-off shotguns to handguns in hospital emergency rooms, schools, and courthouses.
The access of local newspapers and the public to probate and records of wills is also a concern of constituents. Many feel that only having an online access to such records is not in their best interest.
On Monday, the Education Committee met for over four hours. In an attempt to grant more local control of schools we passed HF 26. While I support greater home rule, this bill is a can of worms. The correct solution is a constitutional amendment such as was passed for cities and counties. HF 26 is a bad bill that is likely to result in a number of court cases and need continued legislative attention. It could also increase local property taxes. The quality of education is impacted when the school budget is spent on lawyers rather than classroom expenses. As soon as we solve one problem another problem will pop-up.
– State Rep. Curt Hanson represents Iowa House District 82, covering most of Jefferson County and Davis and Van Buren counties.