Capitol Comments from Rep. Todd Prichard – February 2014

Prichard Official 2013

By Representative Todd Prichard

It was a busy week in the legislature.  Committee work is well underway as we try to evaluate and decide what bills will go to the floor for debate and approval.  The House Veterans Affairs Committee has approved a bill to give veterans preference in hiring and promotions by small businesses. Next week we will hold a sub-committee on the issue of human trafficking.  It looks like we the legislation I am working on will be a bipartisan effort. 

Every year, one of the first bills considered by the Legislature is setting the amount of school aid schools will receive for the school year that starts a year and a half later.  It’s been the law in Iowa since the early ‘90’s when then Governor Branstad signed it into law. It gives school districts plenty of time to plan and use state resources effectively. This week, the Iowa Senate approved a plan to increase school aid by 6% for the 2015-2016 school year, we hope to see that passed in the House and on Governor’s desk soon.

In a survey sent out last week, Iowa superintendents told us that we need to follow the law and take action quickly this year.  They told us a 6% increase in basic funding for schools would be used to expand early literacy, boost student achievement, and reduce class size.

We’ve raised expectations for our schools and students and it’s important for us to follow the law.  We owe it to our students, teachers, and parents to make sure schools have time to put together a plan that will make sure every student gets the skills needed to land a good job. 

As the cold winter weather continues to linger, I am disappointed in the lack of movement of my emergency energy assistance bill.  The Senate this week passed a $2 million emergency supplemental bill.  Unfortunately, I don’t see the House moving this desperately needed bill out of committee.  I do want those people affected by the recent price spike of propane to know that I will continue to work on this important issue and find both short and long term solutions.

I always like hearing for you, so feel free to contact me with any of your questions or concerns at todd.prichard@legis.iowa.gov.

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