Thursday, April 01, 2010

April JCDems

Speaking of April Fools, it's Central Committee Night

We Johnson County Dems are doing our thing here at the School District building. With the session over our quota of elected has increased: Bolkcom and Dvorsky from the Senate, Mascher from the House, and Supervisors Sullivan and Rettig.

ANything happen since we last met? Oh, yeah, health care passed and the President came to town.

June 5 6 PM: pre-primary fundraiser at Morrison Park in Coralville; the Senate candidates are all invited and Krause and Fiegen are committed.

Summing up the session, we have Bob Dvorsky. "2010 legislature did good work in short order," Bolkcom reads the Reg headline, and Bob says they got it right for once.

Dvorsky: "Funding for the regents is more than we expected, and the final K-12 numbers will mean less layoffs." Got the regents to participate in reorganization for IT which is significant. Multiple jobs programs passed. Cites the anti-texting bill (now applies to all drivers). Hired an asset manager for Honey Creek with goal of making it profitable. "It's a beautiful place, just not enough people staying there." DHS layoffs around 100, maybe none in corrections.

Dave Jacoby and John Stellmach, coincidentally, just walked in together.

Mascher worked on gov't reorganization with Staci Appel. "We came up with a plan that will really save dollars. We have a very disconnected IT system and there was an opportunity to make that more efficient" Reduced overlap of boards and commissions." Also looked at "span of control" or supervisor to employee ratio. Settled on 1:15 ratio. "We want to keep the people in the trenches doing the work as a high priority."

"One of the biggest disappointments to me was the 'shall carry' issue. We lost a lot of our local control and our sheriff did a good job." Also disappointed that breast feeding bill failed; it was a bipartisan bill but it got removed from the standings bill in the last hour. "We'll come back to that one."

Bolkcom tosses aside 29 page session summary and highlights health care: requires insurance payment for cancer clinical trials; autism support pilot study; work to quickly implement federal law in Iowa, increased reimbursement to UIHC.

"I spent most of the session on corporate tax credit reform." New committee will look at credits program by program over next five years. "Some of these make sense but we haven't looked at these credits for a long long time." Puppy mills get applause, but MidAmerican nukes was a setback.

Jacoby cites small business bill. "We took some money from the underground storage tank fund to make small business loans to keep people afloat." Open meetings bill failed but we should hold ourselves in the legislature to the same standard.

Dvorsky again: Johnson County delegation is well positioned with multiple committee chairs.

Sullivan thanks legislators for "allowing the Varnum decision to stand. It's been a year and the world hasn't collapsed." Mascher puts in the good word for Staci Appel: "We can't afford to lose her."

Tom Carsner: "Do you assume the governor will sign the nuke power study?" Dvorsky thinks he will, Mascher notes that people are still working on persuasion re: veto.

Mascher: UI excluded from span of control language because of their grant needs. They're working on their own span of control policy.

Bolkcom gets ribbed about the "move the capital to Iowa City." Joe: "Well, people have trouble pronouncing Des Moines..."

Jacoby doesn't expect more than one casino to get OK'd.

Bike safety: Bolkcom sums up the bill as "you can't steer at `em like you wanna kill `em and you can't throw stuff at him."

Dvorsky puts in the plug for Becky Schmitz and Nate Willems. That's it for the legislators.

New membership discussion: James Eaves-Johnson gets elected on a split vote; meetings should be getting meaner-spirited. Apparently the central committee thinks calling me a Nazi in print is OK. Three more people join the band too.

More voting on district committee members; this gets resolved by the put down your hand method.

Announcement time: Ed Flaherty congratulates Craig Becker's appointment to the National Labor Relations Board. Paul Deaton plugs the 2nd District silent auction and prompts some jokes. Karen Disborw plugs the Water and Land Legacy amendment.

House challenger John Stellmach gets up to speak: calls himself progressive, offers some biography, AFSCME local 12 president. "I care very much about union issues," citing the bills that didn't make it through. Also interested in health care since his wife became seriously ill a few years back.

And we're outta time so we're outta here.

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