Ashley’s Angle: Week Six 2/12/18

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Trusted. Proven. Leader.

Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent Iowa House District 67. I am proud to represent people from Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, and Cedar Rapids.

Girl Power!

 

Last weekend I was invited to meet with Girl Scout Cadette Troop 5329. As these girls are in 6th grade, they are able to pursue their Girl Scout Silver Award. To receive the award, they must log 50 hours towards a community service project with long-term sustainability by the time they complete 8th grade. I was able to help the girls brainstorm ideas for their projects by explaining to them how I serve my constituents and how I figure out what my communities’ needs are and how to meet those needs.

 

Talking Transportation

Monday I spent several hours with the Department of Transportation. I was able to have candid discussions with all of the department heads about their successes, challenges, and priorities going forward. Thank you to Director Lowe and all of the staff who visited with me.

 

Legislative Business

The Funnel is Here 

The funnel deadline is this week. Although I described this more in-depth in last week’s letter, the funnel is designed to help keep the Legislature on pace with everything that must be done. Because the deadline is this week, this week has been very busy as everyone tries to get all of their bills out of committee. In fact, Wednesday night I was here until 8:00 PM due to a lengthy Judiciary Committee meeting in which we voted on 13 bills!

Next week, after the funnel, will be full of floor debates on all the bills that were passed out of committee. The second Funnel deadline is the Friday of the 9th week of the legislative session. Some bills, however, are exempt to these funnel deadlines, such as Appropriations and Ways & Means bills. You can listen to me talk more about the funnel deadlines here.

Updates on Marsy’s Law

A bill that I have been working on that is referred to as “Marsy’s Law” has been passed out of the Judiciary Committee and is now eligible for debate on the House floor. There have been a couple amendments to this bill, which you can feel free to email me about. Furthermore, you can read more about this bill by reading this article from The Gazette.

Updates on Emmalee’s Law

Another bill that I have been working on and discussed in previously newsletters is “Emmalee’s Law”. This is the bill that relates to the legal requirement of individuals involved in accidents that result in injury or death to report the accident. There have been several amendments to the bill, such as making the law only applicable to the person driving the car that was involved in the accident, as well as requiring the revocation of the driver’s license of an individual convicted of breaking this law. You can read more about this bill here.

Bill of the Week

The bill of the week is… a two-fer! HF 2294 and HF 2265.

HF 2294 would set up a study group in the interim to look at our current process for “graduated sanctions” in Iowa, with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of people who end up back in prison on a probation revocation. Graduated sanctions can create efficiency and transparency in managing probation and parole caseloads, and in responding to low-level violations. They also are designed to reform behavior quickly and consistently. This study group would bring in key players to assess the process, current application, and how we can improve it.

HF 2265 is also aimed at second chances and economic development. This bill would protect employers from having criminal history of an employee used against them in a civil suit if it has no direct relationship with the lawsuit being brought against the employer. Basically– we want to eliminate a barrier to employment. If an employer is willing to take the chance with this shield in place, we can get more people back working after they’ve completed paying their “debt” to society. This legislation in no way prevents employers who are required to conduct a criminal background check from doing so, nor does it create a duty for other employers to conduct criminal background checks.

If you have any questions about this or any other bill, please feel free to contact me. You can find the full text of the bills here: HF 2294 and HF 2265.

 

Speaking with STEM Students

As STEM Day at the Capitol this week, I had the chance to catch up with Christopher Patterson, an engineering teacher for Linn-Mar CSD, and some of his students. As high school students, these students have the opportunity to take part in PLTW classes, otherwise known as Project Lead the Way. Through these classes, the students have the opportunity to learn more about STEM subjects. The students can learn how to operate engineering design software, how to create circuits and other digital electronics, and even research the physics of lift and drag associated with aerospace technology. It was really interesting to hear about everything the students are learning about. I’m glad that students are able to take awesome courses such as these in high school!

My Valentine Came Early!

Valentine’s Day came early this year, as my husband Matt came to visit me this week at the Capitol. Tuesday was also Insurance Day on the Hill. Since Matt works for an insurance agency in Waterloo, he also had the chance to catch up with some of his colleagues. Later in the evening, he was even able to accompany me to an event at Meredith Corporation, where we heard about their economic development and growth. We also had the chance to sit in on a WONKS! Podcast at Noce, which was very fun. You can listen to the podcast we sat in on here! It was a great early Valentine’s evening, as I had to stay late at the Capitol on Valentine’s Day for a lengthy Judiciary committee meeting.

Get Involved!

I am continuing to develop my Constituent Advisory Committee.
The group is comprised of people I could email or call to ask questions about specific policy questions. If you would like to join, please email my legislature email (ashley.hinson@legis.iowa.gov) and let me know what your area of expertise is and how I could get in touch with you.
From Education, Judicial issues, Medical, Energy, and Tax policy, I want your input in the process.