Baxter, Guth meet with constituents

State Representative Terry Baxter (left) and State Senator Dennis Guth (center) speak to constituents following the legislative forum at Garner, on Friday.

Rebecca Peter | The Leader

GARNER – Drainage law, ag-gag laws, and public safety were among the topics covered by State Senator Dennis Guth and State Representative Terry Baxter during a legislative forum at Garner, Friday, March 8.

The forum was hosted by Hancock County Economic Development. Forums were also held at Britt and Corwith.

Terry Baxter, Garner, represents District 8 in the Iowa House. The district includes Hancock, Wright and a portion of Kossuth County.

The 2019 Legislature just wrapped up ‘funnel week’.  “Funnel week” refers to the deadline when House bills are required to pass at least one House committee to be eligible for debate for the Senate

“We have about 120 bills right now that are eligible for the debate floor,” he said. “A lot of things are happening this year that I think are extremely positive.”

Baxter explained how the House, Senate and Gov. Kim Reynolds each work on budget proposals.

“Ours is a little bit higher than what the governor’s is. The Senate comes about $49 million below what the House is at this time.”

House priorities include:

•$1.5 million increase to Iowa’s critical access hospitals

•Committing $17.7 million to the Future Ready Iowa program

•Additional funding to nursing homes serving Iowans on Medicaid ($19 million).

• $3.85 million increase for Public Safety.

•Expanding access to health care in rural Iowa by recuiting additional providers ($700,000 increase).

•Continuing Iowa’s investment in high education  ($7 million increase)

•An increase of $5.3 million for mental health funding.

“We do have a little more money this year, which is a positive thing. What’s happened with the ag sector being a little low, some of the manufacturing and other sectors have kicked in this year. We have more money coming in,” he said.

Dennis Guth, Klemme, represents Senate District 4. The district includes Emmet, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock and Wright Counties.

He said SSB1227 makes it a criminal offense to falsely gain access or employment at an agricultural production facility that is not open to the public, if the intent is to cause physical damage or economic harm. The first offense would be considered a serious misdemeanor and a repeated offense would be an aggravated misdemeanor.

“The legislation would protect livestock producers from malicious activists who seek to destroy animal agriculture with negative media coverage and false accusations,” he said.

Read the complete story in the March 13 Leader.