Iowa House District 20 Rep. Ray “Bubba” Sorensen (R-Greenfield) will meet voters at the Perry Perk coffeehouse Friday, March 6 at 11 a.m. for a “Spill the Beans” event.
“Perry is a pretty Democratic town,” said Perry-Area Democrats Chair Monica Peitz. “It’s great that Ray’s offering a chance to engage in conversation. I respect that! This is a chance to engage in a discussion on policy issues.”
Sorensen’s committee assignments include the Appropriations, Commerce, State Government and Veterans Affairs committees in the Iowa House of Representatives. He chairs the Appropriations Committee’s Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. The Greenfield Republican issues a weekly newsletter during the legislative session. The following text is from his Feb. 29 newsletter:
We are seven weeks into the session, and bills that survived the first funnel are now being considered for debate on the House Floor. Those that pass, go over to the Senate as we are receiving their bills too as we both work toward second funnel. At this point in session, many Iowans are wondering what comes next for policy they care about.
Our focus is beginning to shift from committee work to floor debate. Our floor debate is a chance for all 100 members (of the House) to express their opinion on a bill, offer amendments, and vote. Just because a bill advanced out of committee, does not mean it is guaranteed a vote on the floor. Majority Leader Matt Windschitl meets with committee chairs and carefully evaluates each bill before advancing it for debate. Once a bill has been called to the floor, it is the responsibility of the subcommittee chair, who was assigned the bill by a committee chair, to advocate for it, answer questions, address any amendments and move the bill for a final vote.
While most bills pass out of the house with bipartisan support, some become partisan. The more partisan a bill, the longer debate may take. Debate on a bill can last for two minutes or two days. Representatives are given ample time to comment on bills and make recommendations for change.
Once a bill passes on the House floor it is sent to the Senate and begins the committee process all over again. The second funnel is the week of March 16th- 19th. All bills that started in the House must be out of Senate committee by that time. The same goes for Senate bills moving through House committees. After a bill has passed both the House and Senate in identical forms, it is sent to the Governor for her approval. Last year the Governor signed over 160 bills in to law.
One of the first orders of business, our Education budget, is still being hashed out, but with a 150 different legislative opinions, that can be easier said than done. We proposed a $108 million K-12 package, the Governor proposed about $100 million, and the Senate is below both of those. We feel we put out a reasonable and responsible proposal that invests significant resources and we know we can follow through on.
On Tuesday, Governor Reynolds signed an education funding bill designed to help schools with transportation funding and per pupil student equity. This helps rural Iowa schools absorb transportation costs and put more money into the classroom. Transportation equity was first funded in FY 19 to help with transportation costs associated with students traveling across rural communities. SF 2164 provides more than $7.2 million in new funding for the 204 school districts with transportation costs above the statewide average of $347.65 per pupil and provides $5.9 million for per pupil spending equity. Now that we’ve addressed the transportation and equity pieces, we just need to finalize the SSA part. The good news is that schools can see the range so they have an idea of what funding will be.
With my committee assignments come bill assignments and subsequently, bills to manage. As stated above, once assigned the bill, you’re responsible for advocating for it, answering questions on it and addressing the amendments that pop up. One of those bills I just ran was dubbed the Lemonade Stand bill. It was brought to the committee chair’s attention that lemonade stands ran by children were illegal to run in Iowa, with headlines like “Iowa Police Shutdown 4-year-old’s Lemonade Stand. So, being a father with a couple of young kids, I was assigned and ran the bill to allow our kids to run their lemonade stands.
If you are wanting to stay up to date and properly informed on what is going on, what bills are running and even to watch when debate is happening, please visit legis.iowa.gov. It is an incredible resource to come back to all the time as a reference.
I was honored to receive the 2020 Leadership Award from the Epilepsy Foundation for helping a few of my constituents to draft and advocate for legislation to help better educate our state on epilepsy and seizures. I don’t deserve the award because my role as a legislator is to be your voice and help you navigate process up here at the Statehouse, but it is refreshing to be appreciated, so Thank you, Roxanne and Kim! You two are the ones who deserve the award!
I am honored to represent House District 20 at the Capitol. To you folks in Adair, Guthrie, Dallas and Cass Counties, thank you for allowing me to serve you and be your voice here in Des Moines and remember . . . Our Liberties We Prize And Our Rights We Will Maintain!