The Behn Report

Jerry Behn (R), Boone

~by Sen. Jerry Behn

February 14, 2020

One of the first things we did during our fifth week in the Senate was pass our education funding bills, Senate File 2164 and Senate File 2142. These bills together mean approximately $90 million in increased funding for Iowa schools. We are confident this amount is sustainable and responsible, allowing us to prioritize K-12 education and ensure money remains to fund other priorities, like public safety and easing the tax burden on Iowans.

Senate File 2164 was our transportation and per pupil equity bill. The passage of this bill continues to close the gap in equalizing the amount of funding the state sends per student to different districts. It also completes our promise to Iowa schools to level the playing field when it comes to costs associated with transporting students to school. This policy has been a priority several years, and I’m proud we were able to deliver fully on that promise. This bill is now on its way to Governor Reynolds for her signature.

The Senate also moved forward a bill regarding the restoration of voting rights for felons. This bill, Senate File 2129, is separate from the constitutional amendment that has been proposed and would only apply if the constitutional amendment is adopted. The bill clarifies the felons eligible to automatically have their voting rights restored upon the discharge of a sentence. Under this bill, most people would still have their voting rights restored and it only requires a person to complete any parole, probation, special sentence, and pay all victim restitution. This does not include courts costs, fines or fees. It creates exemptions for automatic restoration of voting rights for those who have committed crimes like murder and rape. These people would still need to contact the governor’s office to have their voting rights restored.

Lastly, the Senate also debated a constitutional amendment, SJR 2001, for the protection of life. This will allow the people of Iowa, not unelected judges, to decide how Iowa regulates abortion.

Next week is our first legislative deadline of the year, meaning priority legislation, with the exception of bills in Appropriations, Government Oversight, and Ways and Means, must be moved out of committee by next Friday.

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 jerry.behn [at] legis [dot] iowa [dot] gov.

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