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Capitol Comments by Rep. Curt Hanson

Mar 20, 2014

State Rep. Curt Hanson, represents Iowa House District 82, which includes most of Jefferson County and Davis and Van Buren counties, in the state Legislature.

It is not often that a popular children’s show and a popular icon of many seniors appear on stage in Fairfield on the same weekend.

Jim Henson’s “Dinosaur Train” of PBS fame played in Fairfield on Friday night followed by a Saturday night appearance of Roy Clark of country western fame. A local youth, Mitch Goudy, had the honor of opening the evening for Roy. Congratulations Mitch; this was a great step forward!

I think people in our area enjoy Branson, Mo., class entertainment at Fairfield prices.

In the Natural Resources Committee we heard a report from the DNR Fisheries Bureau. Their goal is to shorten the time between bites! Fishing, hunting and wildlife watching brings in an estimated $1.5 billion to Iowa businesses. Nearly half of all Iowans participate in hunting, fishing or watching wildlife, making Iowa seventh in the nation for the percentage of people who enjoy these activities.

The report can be summarized by saying that fishing in Iowa is outstanding and those currently fishing will find that these are the “Good Ole Days.”

Iowa universities and Iowa agriculture are trying to prepare for even more extreme weather events.

March 11 we learned about the research and preparation necessary to enable us to continue our ability to help feed the world. Hot and cold weather extremes, floods, and drought all have an effect on agricultural production and soil erosion.  These extremes also impact dairy and egg production, weight gain of livestock and even gardeners see the stresses of weather flip-flops.

Some of these extremes allow disease agents and parasites to multiply, requiring greater application of pesticides.

We were told to expect the wet years to be wetter, the dry years dryer and hotter and to expect these extremes more frequently.

In this era of identity theft many may wish to check their driver’s license for a non-certified record of driving violations. You may check it online by following these directions: Go to www.iowadot.gov; click on “online services” (near the top of the page); click on “licensed drivers” (one of the rectangles); scroll to bottom and click on “view my noncertified driving record;” on the middle right, click on “view my driving record;” type in your information, certify the statement is true, and click “continue.”

The biodiesel industry is growing. It is an important part of our country’s energy diversity and environmental goals. In the beginning, biodiesel used only soybean oil but today biodiesel can be made from just about any fat, grease or vegetable oil.

Many of these products are waste products unsuitable for human consumption. By using these by-products, biodiesel helps reduce the price increase of meat and other food products at our local stores.

This week (ending March 14) finished the second, self-imposed deadline limiting the number of bills still eligible for debate.

In the House we passed a number of bills considered non-controversial. HF2385, which we sent over to the Senate, limits the rule making abilities of state agencies and professional license boards. There is concern that these agencies and boards are abusing their authority by administratively establishing rules and regulations only the Legislature should consider.

The Senate has approved a bill that will strengthen Iowa’s law to prevent texting while driving. Protecting those of us on the highway from people who are typing and reading messages on their phones is a growing problem. I worked on the original texting bill and I know how difficult it is to reach agreement on something so many think is common sense.

The Legislature still has not set the new state funding for our public schools. The allowable growth (supplemental funding) for schools is supposed to be set by mid-February. The Senate has already approved a plan to boost funding by 6 percent and our local schools have spoken loudly in favor of that plan. This bill has not been brought up for debate.

In the House, we hope to expand state aid to public schools so we can continue to increase literacy, boost student achievement and reduce class sizes.  Our local school boards expect us to follow the law as they are expected to follow the law.  A delay beyond the February date is a violation of our own law. Our children deserve a much better example!

The Keosauqua Public Library received one of the 64 grants provided by state library funds. The $850 grant made it possible to purchase two Nabi 2 tablets for the 2 -10 year-old patrons to facilitate and improve youth reading and learning.

Business leaders in Iowa’s construction industry are concerned about a shortage of workers that is holding back growth in the home building industry. This is another positive sign of our growing economy and our lower unemployment rate.

Contact Hanson anytime by email at curt.hanson@legis.iowa.gov or at 641-919-2314. Hanson serves on the House Agriculture and Education, Natural Resources committees, as well as the Education Appropriations Subcommittee.


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