We worked until midnight Tuesday evening and then had to reconvene Wednesday morning for the final vote of the education reform bill. Many corporations and organizations support it. Some of the components include:
• Bipartisan support for 2 percent Supplemental Aid (formerly called allowable growth) that the state would provide. Even though many wanted 4 percent, which was approved in the Senate, there was bipartisan support for 2 percent. Final negotiations may result in something between those two numbers.
I favor a 3 percent increase.
• Increasing starting teacher pay up to $32,000. Some districts said the $35,000 starting salary which was proposed by the governor was more than they could afford.
• An optional increase of $300 per student for districts that adopt new base pay and teacher career ladders.
Local districts can implement home rule which allows them to make their own rules providing they don’t conflict with state regulations.
In 1992, Iowa’s students were ranked first in the nation and now they have slipped to middle of the pack. A lot of work and study has gone into making these changes and we are committing to invest $157 million to implement the new plan.
Farmers hosting tours are not shielded from liability
Last Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that people who host educational tours are not shielded from personal injury lawsuits.
A suit was filed in 2010 over a farm visitor being injured in a fall in a barn. At issue is the interpretation of a 1967 law barring lawsuits against landowners who allow the public to use their property for recreational uses such as snowmobiling, hunting, and hiking. The suit was originally denied by a lower court but was eventually appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Nominations sought for farm environmental awards
This is your opportunity to recognize farmers that are taking significant voluntary steps to protect our soil and improve our water quality in Iowa. Those selected will be recognized at the Iowa State Fair. Nominations are due by June 15 and can be found at the following website - Governor.iowa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Iowa-Farm-Environmental-Leader-Award-Nomination-2013.pdf
I encourage your participation.
Century and heritage
Century and heritage farmers are now being asked to apply for the 2013 program which recognizes families that have owned their farm for 100 years in the case of Century Farms and 150 years in the case of Heritage Farms.
The ceremony to recognize these owners is planned to be held at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 13. Applications must be received no later than June 1 and can be found at the following website, www.iowaagriculture.gov/ look under “Hot Topics” and then click on either “Century Farm Program” or “Heritage Farm Program.”
Congratulations to Midland wrestlers for their fine showing at state. Also, congratulations to the girl’s high school basketball teams from Bellevue Marquette and Cascade (Western Dubuque) for qualifying for state.
They will be in Des Moines next week and I hope they get a chance to visit the Capitol. Congratulations also to the boy’s high school basketball teams from Preston and Cascade (Western Dubuque) for advancing in their quest to reach state.
On the home front
Brody played his last high school basketball game Tuesday evening in a disappointing loss to Preston. Sure hope the Trojans proceed to state and bring a trophy home.
Meetings and events
• I plan to attend the Jones County 9.12 Group meeting at 10 a.m. today at the Lawrence Community Center in Anamosa. A 9.12 Group promotes conservative values, is non-partisan and does not endorse any candidates or campaigns. If you want to learn more about them, you can go to Thejoco912.com/events.php.
• I will possibly attend the Dubuque County Farm Bureau at 10 a.m. Saturday at the legislative coffee at Happy’s on Rockdale Road in Key West.
Visitors and guests
Monday we had Farm Bureau representatives from Dubuque, Jones and Jackson counties stop by the Capitol to voice their concerns.
On Wednesday I met with Dr. Darwin Schipper of Preston who was in town with Iowa veterinarians visiting with legislators. We discussed embryo transfers in cattle along with other issues.
Brian Moore, a Republican from Zwingle, represents Iowa House District 58 in the Iowa Legislature, which covers Jackson County.