Capitol Comments By Representative Todd Prichard:
Greetings from the Statehouse. The session is starting to wind down but the workload is still at high volume as the House and Senate try to finish the remaining business. I worked on a number of bills this week ranging from first-time homeownership to military retiree benefits. One bill I have been focused on during the entire session is human trafficking. The bill was modified in the House, unfortunately, removing the reporting and training requirements. Despite the change, I am happy to say that the bill passed out of the House unanimously. The bill is on its way back to the Senate where I hope they will restore the training and awareness aspect of the bill. The legislature will continue to improve the bill and address the issue of human trafficking in Iowa.
This week I was present when the Governor signed into law the Corn Check-off bill I voted for. This bill allows the corn promotion board to generate revenue to help market and develop outlets for corn and products made from corn. This Board has been successful in the past in finding and developing markets for corn growers. The benefits to the state are too numerous to count.
Also, I am pleased to report that an important bill regarding reporting and dealing with cases and of incidents of Sexual Assault in the National Guard passed out of the House. This bill informs victims of their right to report assaults and requires the Guard to report cases to civilian authorities. I think this requirement is an important function in ensuring the safety of those who serve in the ranks.
Another bill I was pleased to support was a bill protecting the elderly from exploitation and abuse. The bill created new criminal penalties to stop others from taking financial advantage of seniors ages 65 and above. The bill also allows for a vulnerable elder to receive a protective order if elder abuse has been proven, which includes infliction of bodily injury by a caretaker of the elder, a sexual offense against the elder, neglect of the elder or financial exploitation of the elder.
Also, I am working on the Broadband initiative the Governor and legislature are trying to support. I sit on the subcommittee for this initiative that could have important and positive impacts for bringing Broadband to rural Iowa. This legislation aims to incent wireless and internet providers to build broadband infrastructure to all areas of the state currently underserved.
Finally, I will leave you with a note on the recent allegations of secret employee settlements state agencies made with departing employees. Deservedly so, this issue has received much press in the past few days. I will continue to pay close attention to this matter as things play out. I will not be satisfied until the truth is uncovered. The oversight and handling of State Tax payer dollars is what I am here to do.