• Rizer Report | Week 7

    Rizer Report-Funnel Week

    These last days in the House have been a whirlwind of activity due to it being “funnel week.”  The “funnel” is a rule-imposed deadline for all non-tax or non-appropriations bills to make it through their respective committees.  If they don’t make it through committee this week, providing enough time to get through both houses, then they die until next year.

    Two of my four sponsored bills made it through the funnel.  The bill adding plasma gasification to the acceptable means for recycling waste unanimously passed the Environmental Protection Committee; this bill paves the way for a plasma gasification plant’s construction in Marion, which will provide long-term employment for 50 workers, generate $650k annually in property taxes, and divert waste from the landfill.  The bill strengthening our synthetic drug law passed unanimously out of the Public Safety Committee; this bill will better deter, prosecute, and punish people who sell, buy, or use these dangerous drugs.  My only bill which didn’t make the funnel was the Smoke-Free Casino bill, which died after a subcommittee meeting in the State Government Committee; while this bill didn’t make it, it did open up a discussion about the role of the Racing and Gaming Commission which might yield changes in the future.  My 4th bill updates a tax incentive for hiring people with disabilities, but it wasn’t subject to the funnel as it’s a tax bill.

    In addition to bills I’ve sponsored, I managed a number of bills through various committees.  In Commerce, I ran a bill that would protect public safety by restricting the importation of powdered alcohol.  In Judiciary, I ran a bill that would give cities liability protection against injury claims resulting from the normal and expected risks of recreational activities; this will allow cities like Dubuque to lift their sledding ban rather than protect against unjustified lawsuits.  I ran a bill through Judiciary that would give military victim advocates confidentiality protections to better serve victims of sexual assaults.  Finally, I ran a bill through Judiciary that would make it illegal to install counterfeit or non-functional airbags in vehicles, protecting public safety.

    This week I also voted a number of important bills out of committee.  In Human Resources, I voted for a bill which would make organizations like Tanager Place eligible for monies appropriated to recruit psychiatrists, an important step in filling our shortage of mental health providers.  In Judiciary, I voted for a bill which would protect the privacy of military funerals by restricting protests to areas 1000+ feet away; this bill will keep the Westboro group and others from dishonoring our veterans, while protecting their legitimate First Amendment rights.  Finally, I voted for the omnibus gun bill, which received overwhelming bipartisan support and passed out of Judiciary 19-2; the bill will protect 2nd Amendment rights, improve our permitting process, and allow Iowans the same access to hearing-protecting suppressors that the vast majority of other states already have.

    I capped off what was a busy but great week by assuming the duties of the Speaker one afternoon to read-in bills and adjourn the House for the day.  Wanting to well-represent our district, I gaveled us in and out with such force that some referred to me later as “Thor.”  It was an honor to sit in the Speaker’s seat, but I’m glad to be sitting in my own in the back working hard for the great people of Marion, Bertram, Ely, and the surrounding parts of Linn County.

    As your Representative, I’m always open to hearing from my bosses, who are those of you reading this!  Please contact me anytime at [email protected] or on my cellphone at 319-651-7316. I’ll be back home in the District every Friday, so if you want to get together for coffee to discuss an issue, just let me know.  I look forward to serving all of you!