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It appears that legislation to “couple” Iowa tax law with the federal code for the 2015 tax year is finally going to happen. On Thursday morning the Senate Ways and Means committee agreed to bring a bill out of committee that will allow deductions for agriculture and small businesses the same as they have in previous years. The legislation is estimated to save Iowa taxpayers more than $90 million when they file their 2015 taxes. It also will allow our teachers to deduct up to $250 of their expenses when they provide supplies for their classroom out of their own pocket. I understand this language has also been agreed to by House leadership.
Drug addiction is, unfortunately, a problem too many Iowa families experience. In an effort to help out those struggling with addiction and their loved ones, the Senate this week passed SF2218. The bill allows family members or friends to have access to a prescription drug which can be administered to someone they know who has overdosed on heroin or another opioid.
It also would provide immunity from any legal liability to any first responder, emergency medical service program, law enforcement agency, fire department, registered nurse, physician assistant, and family member or friend and the person who prescribed the opioid antagonist from any injury arising from the provision or administration of the prescription, so long as such person acted reasonably and in good faith.
This is a good bill which will allow family members to help their loved ones who suffer from tragic addiction. The bill passed 48-0.
This week on the Senate floor we had an opportunity to take a big step towards protecting the lives of Iowa’s children. Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) introduced a bill for debate that adds members of the transgender community to the class of individuals protected against hate crimes. Hate crimes are those identified as being particularly heinous attacks against a person based on certain characteristics that person has. Senator Jake Chapman (R-Adel) introduced an amendment to the bill that would also add the class of “unborn children” to the category of persons protected against such heinous crimes.
After two attempts by Senator Bisignano (D-Des Moines) to interrupt Senator Chapman, he was finally allowed to finish his description of the abortion processes followed by practitioners. However, it was ruled as “not germane” to the bill already on the floor. This is disappointing, and goes to show the amount of power held by the majority party in the Senate. By ruling the amendment to be out of order, Senate Democrats were able to avoid even having to vote on the issue.
With the increasing number of ATVs and snowmobiles in Iowa there is an effort to correct a void in Iowa code regarding the carrying of firearms on such vehicles. There is bipartisan support to allow Iowans that have a concealed carry permit to have revolvers or pistols with them on the ATV or snowmobile. It would also allow landowners to carry those firearms on their ATV or snowmobile on their own land without a concealed carry permit. This bill passed out of the Natural Resources and Environment committee on Thursday, and is now eligible for a vote in the full Senate.
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