Week 9 brought us the results of week 8’s funnel. Monday through Wednesday was full of caucus meetings and several hours a day of debate on the Senate floor. The vast majority of the bills were considered non-controversial bills that received unanimous or near unanimous support. Senators from both sides came together and supported several common sense bills. One result of this bipartisanship was the funding required to continue the reform and regionalization of mental health in the state. This has been an issue that both sides agree has not received enough attention. The Senate was also able to pass legislation for mandatory suicide prevention training for teachers to prevent the tragic, and often avoidable, loss of student lives. It is absolutely necessary for public servants to be able to come together to makes changes for issues like these and the Iowa Senate did just that. With the clean-up of these bills, along with the confirmation votes on many appointments, I would expect the Senate will begin to concentrate on issues that will involve more discussion in the weeks to come. These items would include education reform and funding, property and income tax reform and all the budget items will be coming to the Senate floor. Wednesday was County Day on the Hill. I met with Clayton County Supervisor Larry Gibbs, Winneshiek County Treasurer Wayne Walter, Clayton County Recorder Sue Meyer and her husband, Jeff Meyer. We discussed issues facing their respective counties and what the future holds. It was great to have a chance to converse with local government officials. We, as legislators, must remember to work with county officials and constituents to make our whole state better. I was able to spend time at the Capitol Thursday with the Allamakee County Supervisors. I had the chance to listen to concerns from Allamakee County Protectors on the issue of “frac sand” mining. Keeping to my motto that government should be solutions-based; we will work hard over the next 17 months to address local residents’ concerns. We also discussed the funding of Luster Heights Prison. I am pushing to keep this facility in Allamakee County open. A standard-setting facility, such as this, should be applauded and imitated across the state. As always, please contact me with questions, concerns or comments. I can be reached via email at Michael.Breitbach@legis.iowa.gov. You can also reach me at my Facebook page. Just search for State Senator Michael Breitbach and comment or send us a message.
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