Newsletter: Rozenboom Report (2/22/2013)


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Rozenboom Report

Week 6 of the 85th General Assembly continued the pattern in the Senate of having a lot of committee work but very little floor action. Across the Rotunda, the House held a marathon session on Tuesday night to hammer out the education reform package and funding. My understanding is that they have established allowable growth at 2% for each of the next two years, and they raised the teacher beginning salary from $28,000 to $32,000. At this point I don’t know the other details of the bill that passed through the House. Now we’ll have to see what the Senate Democrats choose to do with the House proposal. Stay tuned.

Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy

I have received many e-mails in support of the proposed Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy that has been developed by Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. As the ranking member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee I will be in a good position to support this initiative and provide funding. Governor Branstad’s proposed budget includes $2.4 million for FY14 and $4.4 million for FY15 for this initiative.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based framework to assess and reduce nutrients to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico. It is designed to direct efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point and nonpoint sources in a scientific, reasonable and cost effective manner.

The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force was established in 1997 to coordinate activities to reduce the size, severity and duration of hypoxia in the Gulf. Hypoxia is a large area of low oxygen that can’t sustain marine life. Nutrients that lead to algae growth are the main culprit.
In its 2008 Action Plan, the task force called upon each of the 12 states along the Mississippi River to develop its own nutrient reduction strategy.

Working together, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences developed this proposed strategy.

The Iowa strategy outlines a pragmatic approach for reducing nutrient loads discharged from the state’s largest wastewater treatment plants, in combination with targeted practices designed to reduce loads from nonpoint sources such as farm fields. This is the first time such an integrated approach involving both point sources and nonpoint sources has been attempted.

This proposed strategy is the beginning. Public input will be considered before the strategy is finalized and as operational plans are developed.

Valentine’s Day 2013

What’s this strange reference to Valentine’s Day in a legislative newsletter all about? Let me explain. As some of you know, our son Matt was adopted by Becky and me over 25 years ago, and we’re proud to call him our son. The circumstances of Matt’s conception and birth are somewhat noteworthy in the sense that they speak to the long political and cultural battle in this country about abortion. Last week, Matt spoke, by phone, to his birth mother for the first time ever……..on Valentine’s Day. Those events compelled me to tell Matt’s story, to encourage my colleagues in the Senate to listen to the voice of the unborn baby when we consider legislation that deals with abortion and life. Attached is the transcript of my comments. http://247.ms/1g/edvfou If you wish to watch the video you can go to the Iowa Statehouse website at www.legis.iowa.gov . Under the Senate archives look for the February 19 file. My comments begin at around the 10 minute mark.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments about pending legislation.

Senator Ken Rozenboom
641-295-6551

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