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Interim Committees Approved

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The issues legislators deal with each year can be very complicated, and can be tough to fix in the busy months of the legislative session.  When issues get too difficult or become too political to tackle during the legislative session, legislators will sometimes request an "interim committee" to review the issue and make recommendations for action.  These interim committees meet during the summer/fall, but there are usually fewer in election years (like this year) because legislators are busy with elections.  

Legislative leaders met on June 25 and approved seven interim committees for 2014:

  • School Finance Formula Review Committee: This committee meets for one day every five years to review the school aid formula and make recommendations for changes needed because of demographic changes, enrollment trends, and property tax valuation changes. This committee has not yet been appointeed, but will be made up of five Senators and five Representatives.

  • Legislative Fiscal Committee:  This committee holds a two-day meeting every year to look at how state government is organized, and make recommendations for reorganization.  The ten legislators on this committee will meet sometime after the November 4 election (Senators Bolkcom, Danielson, Dvorsky, Feenstra, and Whitver; Representatives Cownie, Jacoby, Oldson, Sands, and Soderberg).
  • Legislative Tax Expenditure Committee: Every five years, this committee reviews each of the state's tax credit programs to determine taxpayer benefit and the overall cost to the state.  The following legislators will meet sometime after the November 4 election to do this review: Senators Bolkcom, Dotzler, Feenstra, Quirmbach, and Smith; Representatives Hagenow, Oldson, S. Olson, Sands, and Steckman.
  • Cannabidiol Implementation Study Committee: Five Senators and five Representatives will make up this study committee tasked with monitoring the implementation of the legislation legalized the limited use of marijuana oil known as cannabidiol. The legislation authorized this use only for treating some forms of severe epilepsy. The committtee is to consider whether the new law is helping the people it is supposed to help, and review the legislatively-mandaged University of Iowa College of Medicine research study on this topic.  The group has not yet been appointed, but is required to meet for one day sometime before September 5, 2014.
  • Local Government Mandates Study Committee: This committee will look at "unfunded mandates" - when state government requires cities, councils, and schools to do something but does not provide the funding to do it.  Again, this committee of five Senators and five Representatives has not yet been assigned, but they are expected to meet for one day following the November 4 election.

  • Local Government Public Records Study Committee: The ten legislators serving on this committee will review public record requirements on local governments, and compliance with those requirements.  The group will meet for one day following the November 4 election; legislators have not yet been appointed to this committee.
Legislative leaders also said they would be willing to authorize a study committee to consider medical malpractice issues if they receive a request from both the Iowa Association for Justice (trial lawyers) and the Iowa Medical Society.  A similar committee worked on these issues last summer, but did not come to agreement on changes needed. In addition, the Senate Committee on Government Oversight will continue to meet throughout the interim to review issues related to state agency accountability, including the ongoing investigations into secret state employee settlement, whistleblower protections, and other state agency employment practices.  That committee is chaired by Sen. Janet Petersen, and includes Senators Julian Garrett, Sandy Greiner, Matt McCoy, Charles Schneider, and Brian Schoenjahn.

You can find schedules, members and materials for these interims by clicking on the links above.  If these interim committees are dealing with an issue you care about, contact the members of that interim, even if they are not your legislator.  Let them know why the issue is important to you, and ask to be kept informed of the progress made. Often these interims will have public comment periods as a part of their scheduled meetings.