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Local News: Local legislators served a generous portion of ‘Eggs and Issues’ (1/21/18)

Iowa Sen. David Johnson, I-Ocheyedan; Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman; Iowa Rep. Megan Jones, R-Sioux Rapids, and Iowa Rep. John Wills, R-Spirit Lake confronted questions from a giant viewers on the first Eggs and Issues discussion board of this yr’s legislative session in Spencer. (Photo by Colin van Westen)

This yr’s first Eggs and Issues of the legislative session started with space legislators and the Iowa state auditor becoming a member of with group members for breakfast and dialogue about state issues on Saturday morning in City Hall.

The discussion board started with temporary opening statements to the massive viewers introducing subjects which were mentioned on the statehouse from District 1 Rep. John Wills, R-Spirit Lake, District 2 Rep. Megan Jones, R-Sioux Rapids and Sen. David Johnson I-Ocheyedan. Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman additionally joined the discussion board, she launched the position and duties of her workplace together with their work to cease fraud in any respect ranges of authorities and her want to audit extra cities to ensure they’re dealing with tax cash appropriately.

Mary Marske requested the panel, “What are you going to do to protect women’s reproductive rights?”

Johnson, Jones and Wills agreed that contraception was extensively obtainable within the state and that Planned Parenthood was not the answer to issues with reproductive rights within the state.

“I think it is very simple as far as Planned Parenthood goes, as soon as they stop providing abortions, maybe we can move ahead and allow them to do whatever women’s health services that are out there, that are needed,” Johnson stated.

“No one has been denied family planning services. … Planned Parenthood’s business model is not solvent, they were going to be dwindling off in numbers even before we passed legislation,” Jones famous.

“I would definitely say we did not reduce the amount of women’s health care last year, in fact we expanded it,” Wills stated. “I consider there have been 13 Planned Parenthood clinics that have been receiving authorities help. We stated in case you are offering abortions, you’ll be able to’t obtain these funds.

Travis Johnson, assistant county lawyer for Dickinson County, questioned the panel about modifications proposed that may require police departments and prosecutors workplaces to pay for copies of proof together with photographs and movies used within the discovery part of a trial.

“The bill requires the state and law enforcement entities to furnish any evidence we have,” Travis Johnson stated. “The current rule is we have to provide the opportunity to view the evidence.”

Jones stated she sponsored the invoice as a result of regulation enforcement businesses have been charging defendants blanket charges of as much as $65 whether or not the proof is 2 footage or 80 movies. The defendant ought to solely be charged precise value for reproducing media. She additionally identified defendants have a constitutional proper to have the proof introduced towards them.

Wills added, “In order for our courts to survive and do well, this issue needs to be brought to the attention of the state.”

Both Travis Johnson and Jones agreed this situation will more than likely be settled within the courts.

Travis Johnson provided a compromise, “Put some strong language in there to encourage police departments and county attorney’s offices to be reasonable about their fees. … Don’t put the costs on our police department and our county attorney’s office.”

Jerry Crew requested the members of the state Legislature concerning the risk of Educational Saving Accounts being made out there.

“I just have questions, where are we going to get the money. We are in a very tight budget year, I think everybody knows that. …” David Johnson stated. “Public education is in the constitution and it is something we are going to provide. I am all for school choice if we do it right. I am not sure I have seen a plan yet.”

Mosiman identified schooling and Health and Human Services take up about 75 % of the state’s complete expenditures which makes it troublesome to fund different essential departments just like the judicial department and public security.

Wills indicated the governor has included a change as half of her proposed tax reform in 529 instructional financial savings accounts which might permit the accounts for use for Okay-12 in addition to school financial savings.

“I am a school choice proponent who feels we can’t hurt the public education system,” Wills stated. “We have to develop that balance.”

Jones agreed with each David Johnson and Wills. She stated the price range may forestall any motion, however pointed to the proposed modifications in 529 instructional saving accounts as a attainable compromise.

Bob Becker requested the panel, particularly Mosiman, if Iowa Public Employees Retirement System is fiscally solvent.

“We have four different public pension systems, each of them have a different publicly funded level. Approximately 20 percent of those public pension systems are unfunded which impacts every tax payer,” Mosiman stated. “At least in IPERS which is the largest one, financial experts or actuaries predict it will become fully funded within the next 30 years.”

“There is no emergency and there is no problem with IPERS,” Wills stated. “Don’t worry about waking up tomorrow and your IPERS is gone.”

David Johnson and Jones agreed they don’t see a want for modifications in IPERS this yr.

Clay Central-Everly Superintendent Dennis McClain questioned the panel concerning the one cent gross sales tax, also called the SAVE tax. The tax is about to run out in 2029.

David Johnson, Jones and Wills all agreed they’re in favor of extending the SAVE tax, however every provided a totally different compromise to permit the tax to proceed.

“So either we extend it to 2049, now we have another year in there so we should think about extending it further than that or else just eliminating the sunset,” David Johnson stated. “The schools are relying on that, I believe it is very important to rural schools. …”

“It would probably be a lot easier to remove that altogether, but if extending it is the compromise, that’s what we re going to have to do,” Jones stated.

“In general, I am in favor of extending SAVE,” Wills stated. “I don’t know to what level or how many years.”

Elderbridge Agency on Aging CEO Shelly Sindt questioned the panel about funding for providers serving to the rising inhabitants over 65 years previous.

“I don’t know,” Wills bluntly replied. “I always say I will tell you the truth whether you like it or not.”

While David Johnson stated the Medicaid system must be administered by the state, he had no good reply about the place funding for aged packages would come from.

“I don’t believe there are any major reforms that have to be done,” David Johnson stated. “In order to find some saving that could be directed into the Agencies on Aging. It is just a funding issue that we are going through right now. I don’t have a good answer for you.”

Jones added that with out extra younger individuals within the state, it is going to be onerous to help senior providers.

Rob Aiken renewed the talk about Managed Care Organizations in Iowa.

“I am looking forward to directives from the governor’s office on what she wants to do because this whole system was changed on us without legislative approval,” Jones stated. “It was done through the executive branch. I don’t know how to fix it, I am all ears when it comes to making changes.”

“The governor says she is going to fix it, but I stand with Speaker Upmeyer who said just two weeks ago that if the governor doesn’t fix it, the legislature is ready to fix it,” Wills stated.

Mosimer targeted in on how her workplace might assist saying that she seems ahead to working with the Department of Human Services to cease fraud, waste and abuse.

David Johnson countered with considerations concerning the governor’s dedication to MCOs.

“I wish I were so optimistic about the governor’s speech,” he stated. “I don’t know what her plan is, but publicly she stated we are going to stay with the MCOs. … It is a huge, huge mistake that Governor Branstad put upon this state and took off for China leaving it in the hands of his lieutenant governor.”

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