Legislators discuss U.S. 30 during coffee

Rep. Mary Wolfe, Rep. Norlin Mommsen, and Sen. Chris Cournoyer hold the floor Saturday at the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce for another Legislative Coffee session with constituents. Jake Mosbach/Clinton Herald

CLINTON -- Area residents heard from Clinton County legislators during another legislative coffee session Saturday, receiving updates on issues such as making U.S. 30 four lanes across the state, water quality and property tax laws.

Sen. Chris Cournoyer, Rep. Norlin Mommsen and Rep. Mary Wolfe have made the conversations with constituents fairly regularly, and as the 2019 Iowa legislative session heads toward its home stretch, final decisions are being made at the Statehouse in Des Moines.

Saturday, Mommsen updated constituents regarding Highway 30 and how its health correlates with the health of the Gateway area. The representative said he believes traffic count numbers are misleading transportation officials into ignoring the Highway 30 when it comes to making it four lanes.

"It's important that we are the squeaky wheel that makes it known," Mommsen said. "At the end of the day, when they look at that traffic count, we're done. But we have to explain why that traffic count is what it is, because it's so important for the economic development in Clinton County, especially western Clinton County."

The legislators also sounded off on illegal immigrants attempting to find employment in Iowa and Clinton County. A measure in the legislature made news in late February which would require Iowa employers to utilize E-verify, an online database in which employees' immigration statuses are made known.

The database has also been discussed to curb human trafficking in the state.

Wolfe said she doesn't believe the technology will be totally effective when it comes to battling those issues, however.

"I doubt that E-verify would have much of an impact," Wolfe said. "The people who are engaging in human trafficking... are not the type of people who are going to obey the rules, including E-verify. That's kind of the catch-22. I don't think it would work."

The healthcare debate doesn't seem to be going away any time soon, and Cournoyer is keeping her finger on the pulse of the issue, she said Saturday.

The senator said legislators and other state officials are doing everything they can to work with Managed Care Organizations to provide Iowans with the best healthcare possible, even through controversy and unrest.

"They're working very hard to make sure people keep their caseworkers (for long-term care programs) and go through as little pain as possible during those transition periods," Cournoyer said.