At the Iowa capitol

with Senator Jerry Behn
Sen Jerry Behn
Sen Jerry Behn

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

This week started off a day later than normal due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Tuesday got the ball rolling as bills are assigned to their respective sub-committees and those committees are scheduled and then held for legislative and public input. If a bill passes out of sub-committee, it is then eligible to be debated by the full committee. If it passes out of the full committee, it is eligible for debate by the full Senate.

All bills that pass through the sub-committee and committee process, even though they are eligible for debate, are at the sole discretion of the Senate majority leader to actually be called up on the floor for debate.

That is too much power for one individual and there used to be a rule that if 26 Senators consented, a bill that had passed through the committee process, had to be called up for debate by the full Senate. That rule was changed when Democrats seized control of the Senate, and we have been unable since then, to change it back.

On Wednesday, veterans were honored at a ceremony by Governor Branstad. It was a great ceremony and a wonderful way to say “thank you!” to all veterans for their service and sacrifice to our nation.

One topic that will be front and  center for importance in the Ways & Means Committee is the annual Internal Revenue Code (IRC) update legislation. Why is IRC update necessary? Iowa’s tax laws are based on federal tax laws. Iowa uses the federal adjusted gross income to determine Iowa’s taxable income. So, any change to federal law, could affect Iowa’s taxpayers. Each year, the general assembly must decide if we will conform or “couple” with the federal tax law changes.

One thing that job creators across this state have asked for is consistency. We need to get IRC update done and “couple” as soon as possible, so every taxpayer in the state can get their tax returns done on time and not run the risk of filing amended returns and all the extra costs associated with our delays.

As always, I want to hear from you. My senate number is (515) 281-3371 and my home number is (515) 432-7327 or write me at: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319 or at my home address: 1313 Quill Avenue, Boone, IA 50036 or email me at


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