Your Capitol Voice: Session ‘over,’ but work goes on in D.M. by Bobby Kaufmann, State Representative · Op-Ed · May 10, 2013
Last week was the official end of the 2013 session, and 110 days just flew by, but there is still more work to do.
Three pressures will now push a compromise that can and will come between the House, Senate, and governor.
First, all expenses will fall on the individual legislators for living in Des Moines. Second, the pressure on legislators with farm-related careers to be home for planting is strong and real. Third, there is an expectation among our constituents that we wrap up the session with good solutions.
I am happy to use my dollars and work 18-hour days when I am home in order to finish this session with positive solutions. The stakes are too high and the work too important to not finish in a manner reflective of the hard-working men and women in this district.
I had a great Listening Post in the village of Morse last Saturday. The thoughts and opinions of all of you are so important to this process.
I know there are strongly partisan individuals that want solutions that are far right or left, but that is a not what brings solutions in a legislature where power is shared between political parties.
No one lawmaker or political party has all the answers. I have already been criticized by the right and left, but you send me to Des Moines to find answers. I intend to do my best in that regard.
As vice-chair of the Economic Growth Committee, I was selected to be a member of that budget conference committee to iron out the differences between the House and Senate. I am excited about this assignment. My goal is to have a compromise bill that will receive near unanimous support among the two chambers. I will let you know how that works out.
I am convinced we can generate a state budget that is fiscally responsible with budgeting principles that apply increases in the areas that you all have told me is important: health care, public safety, mental health, property tax relief and reform, and more.
Last week the Judicial Budget passed the House with only three dissenting votes. Most of our most conservative and most liberal members voted “yes” and were happy with the results. Again, split-party control of state government can and should work. We can do better than our national counterparts.
One glitch in the Judicial Budget was an amendment linking judge’s salaries to their decisions. Please excuse my bluntness, but this is a terrible idea. Several of us vowed to fight this on the floor, and eventually the tiny fraction of legislators supporting this idea withdrew the amendment.
Finally I joined with four other Muscatine County Representatives and Senators from both parties, along with the Muscatine County and Cedar County Boards of Supervisors to oppose Mid-American Energy and their idea for a possible nuclear plant south of Wilton.
I will fight this on a variety of fronts: there is no safe solution for the nuclear waste, the proposed reactor is an untested prototype, and our rich farmland is too precious for a company to purchase more than 700 acres when there are alternatives.
Next year I will continue to fight this poorly planned idea and help to advance alternative solutions that are good for our environment, meet the needs for affordable energy, and do not destroy our agricultural land. Thanks to the S.A.F.E. group for looking out for our future.
Forums: May 13th 11:30 AM, Wilton Chamber of Commerce
You may contact Rep. Kaufmann at Bobby.Kaufmann@legis.iowa.gov, 515-281-3221 or 1527 330th St. Wilton, IA, 52778