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Iowa Legislative Update PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Peggy Huppert   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:57

Do you think it’s true that good and bad things come in threes? Well it certainly seemed that way this week in the Iowa Legislature, where it was the second “funnel” week of the session. By today all bills not dealing with spending or taxing have to pass out of their originating chamber and out of committee in the other chamber to remain alive. This eliminates many bills!

We had three disappointments related to our legislative agenda:

(1)  The bill to legalize online poker was brought up for debate in the Senate. An amendment requiring that all casinos applying for the new license be smoke free was offered by Sens. Bob Dvorsky (D-Iowa City) and Randy Feenstra (R-Orange City). Unfortunately the amendment was determined to be not relevant (germane) to the bill so was not even debated. The House did not take the bill up so it is now dead for the session. The stand-alone bills eliminating the casino smoking exemption died earlier in the session, so it seems likely this issue will not be addressed this session.

(2)  The education reform bill was passed in the House this week. The massive bill had dozens of amendments, most of which were defeated. One of those amendments, offered by Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines), would have required that all K-12 school property be tobacco and nicotine free.  That amendment was ruled not relevant, so Rep. Abdul-Samad requested that the House suspend the rules to consider the amendment. That motion failed, so the amendment was not considered.

(3)  A bill sponsored by Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, establishing a consumer-friendly health insurance exchange was eligible for consideration in the Senate but was not brought up for debate by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. It now seems almost certain that the Legislature will not pass legislation establishing an exchange this year.

Luckily we also have some good news!

(1)  The K-12 tobacco-free school requirement is part of the Senate education reform bill.  This bill will likely end up in conference committee where we will urge members to include it.

(2)  A number of House and Senate leaders have pledged that funding for tobacco prevention and cessation will be restored in Health & Human Resources appropriations bill. We are hopeful that will happen and will continue to work to see that it does.

(3)  Sixty high school students from across the state came to the Capitol on Tuesday and made their voices heard on tobacco-related issues. All costs associated with this youth advocacy day were covered by the Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance. The kids did a great job. They were articulate advocates for public investment in tobacco prevention and cessation!

As always, feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Harkin Announces More Than $100,000 for Affordable Housing Assistance in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:57

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded Iowa a total of $101,056 in grants under the Housing Counseling Program.  The funds will go toward counseling services to homebuyers, homeowners, low-to-moderate-income renters, and the homeless to expand homeownership and improve access to affordable housing.  Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds HUD.

“Quality, affordable housing is a necessity and any funds that can go toward expanding access to it is money well-spent,” said Harkin.  “I congratulate all of these recipients on this competitive funding and look forward to the improvements it will generate.”

The funding was awarded as follows:

Center for Siouxland – $25,000
Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority – $24,465
Home Opportunities Made Easy, Inc. (HOME, Inc.) – $28,014
United Neighbors, Inc. – $23,577


This Week in the Senate by Senator Shawn Hamerlinck PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Shawn Hamerlinck   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:52

March 16, 2012

The first policy bill I authored this year passed through the Iowa Senate chambers on Tuesday.  In order to receive veteran discounts at stores, veterans must prove status.  It is irrational to believe these individuals must carry around their DD214 and Discharge Certificates to receive a 10% discount at a local business.  These documents are as important as birth certificates.  Therefore, Senate File 2037 allows the word “Veteran” to appear on a driver’s license or a state issued ID to serve the same purpose.  Keep your DD214 in the lock box from now on!

The second funnel deadline appeared on Thursday which means any bill which has not passed one of the chambers and a committee in the other chamber is no longer available for discussion.  Think of this as a taxpayer protection rule.  This means all the wish list bills are now dead.

Budget bills have stalled as the House, Senate and governor’s office are showing off to each other like peacocks displaying their feathers.  No one is ready to start the fight but the cards have clearly been displayed.  As a result there was still time this week to move through a series of “post-card” bills.  These are bills which sound good in theory and great to use as campaign fodder, however, in true application they are difficult to enforce.

The Iowa Senate passed a series of preservation clauses to buy American products and employ Iowa businesses in government contracts.  Though I whole-heartedly agree with the concept of these bills we must watch states like Illinois establishing the same protectionist clauses against Iowa companies.  These bills have the greatest impact upon the interstate commerce of companies on our borders.  Think of an Illinois company receiving a 5% leeway on bidding against Iowa companies.  Also, I fully support U.S. steel used in construction projects, however we must take on the bigger issue that steel refineries have largely been exported.  We are now feeling the drastic effects of businesses moving overseas.

The Iowa Senate also passed a bill allowing online gambling in virtual poker rooms with real money.  As I have never been a fan of gaming I simply caution on the extent which online gaming may go to in the future.  There is a possibility to move to betting on sporting events and even political races.  Sometimes, like with touch-play machines, you get more than what you asked for.

Next week the Senate will return to debate on education reform.  I look forward to sending you an update.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve in the Iowa Senate.

For more information please visit

hamerlinck signaturesmall.jpg
Shawn Hamerlinck
State Senator
District 42

News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Linda Martin   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:44
The Moline Foundation has a grant opportunity through a fund called Karen’s
Summertime FUNd in honor of Karen Getz. Through the Karen’s Summertime FUNd,
The Moline Foundation is offering mini-grants between $300 and $1,000. The object of
this special opportunity is to provide non-profit organizations extra funds to develop
creative, educational, and fun-filled activities for kids during the summer months. Non-
profit organizations are encouraged to apply if they serve the citizens of Moline and the
surrounding region, including the Quad Cities.

Karen’s Summertime FUNd grants are made possible by Tom Getz, the Getz
family and friends and many generous donors to The Moline Foundation. In establishing
Karen’s Summertime FUNd program, the Moline Foundation honors the life of a woman
who gave to so many others. This special program will help us remember the many ways
Karen Getz reached out to children with her sparkling personality and tireless spirit.
All materials necessary to receive funds are due in The Moline Foundation offices
by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2012 or must be postmarked by or on Friday, April 13,
2012. Please call The Moline Foundation at (309) 764-4193 to request a Grant
Any child oriented non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, including those who have
never received Moline Foundation funding in the past, is welcome to apply.
The Moline Community Foundation offices are located at the Deere-Wiman
House, 817 11th Avenue, Moline.
The Moline Foundation, founded in 1953, is a community foundation which
provides grants to health, human services, education, community development, the arts
and other charitable organizations. The Moline Foundation receives and administers
charitable gifts for the benefit of citizens in Scott County, Iowa and Rock Island, Mercer,
Henry, Warren, Henderson, and McDonough counties in Illinois.

Scott County-wide Burn Ban in Lifted PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Ross E. Bergen   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:33

March 22, 2012

Effective 1:45 pm today the county-wide burn ban has been lifted with the approval of the Scott County Fire Chiefs.

March 14,  2012

At the request of the Scott County Fire Chiefs a county wide burn ban is being requested effective immediately.  Coordination with the State Fire Marshal Office will be finalized Thursday morning on this request.  We expect an official ban to be approved tomorrow.  Due to the extremely dry conditions, the Chiefs are requesting this ban be in effect until measurable rainfall is experienced.


100.40 Marshal may prohibit open burning on request.

1. The state fire marshal, during periods of extremely dry conditions or under other

conditions when the state fire marshal finds open burning constitutes a danger to life

or property, may prohibit open burning in an area of the state at the request of the

chief of a local fire department, a city council or a board of supervisors and when

an investigation supports the need for the prohibition. The state fire marshal shall

implement the prohibition by issuing a proclamation to persons in the affected area.

The chief of a local fire department, the city council or the board of supervisors that

requested the prohibition may rescind the proclamation after notifying the state fire

marshal of the intent to do so, when the chief, city council or board of supervisors

finds that the conditions responsible for the issuance of the proclamation no longer


2. Violation of a prohibition issued under this section is a simple misdemeanor.

3. A proclamation issued by the state fire marshal pursuant to this section shall not

prohibit a supervised, controlled burn for which a permit has been issued by the fire

chief of the fire district where the burn will take place, the use of outdoor fireplaces,

barbecue grills, properly supervised landfills, or the burning of trash in incinerators

or trash burners made of metal, concrete, masonry, or heavy one-inch wire mesh,

with no openings greater than one square inch.

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