Rep. Hein provides preview of 2020 session

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Monticello Express reached out to our four area state legislators (Rep. Lee Hein, Rep. Andy McKean, Sen. Dan Zumbach, and Sen. Carrie Koelker) to answer a few questions as the start of the 2020 legislative session approaches on Jan. 13. Only Rep. Hein responded. Here are his responses on key issues… 

Q: Do you have any goals going into the 2020 session? 

A: I have always had a goal of going to Des Moines and doing one thing: Pass a responsible budget that meets the needs of Iowans and then return home. We have plenty of laws and I firmly believe the state would run another year or two without passing policy. But a budget does need to be done. 

Q: What major pieces of legislation do you anticipate seeing and/or passing in 2020? 

A: IWLL (Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy fund). This is the constitutional amendment that was passed back in 2010, which builds the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation fund when the sales tax is raised three-eights of a cent. Along with that, there has been discussion of raising the sales tax a full cent and use the rest of the penny to fund mental health and removing that funding off the backs of the property tax. That would be a major shift in tax policy. I would be interested in hearing where people stand on this issue. 

Q: Are there issues Iowans should be aware of in 2020? New potential laws? 

A: Childcare is going to be a major topic of conversation in 2020. It ties into the workforce issue, which employers who are looking for employees say is a major reason for keeping the second member of the family from entering the workforce. 

Q: Do you anticipate changes concerning legalizing marijuana in Iowa, mental health, rural EMS, education funding? 

A: I am a “no” on legalizing recreational marijuana. But I believe a continuation of a discussion about medical cannabis will likely happen. 

We have made good progress on mental health policy, both for adults and children, in recent sessions. I expect that discussion to continue. Funding will be the major part of the mental health discussion, and that ties back to the sales tax issue. 

We are looking at solutions for rural EMS and understand that’s a major challenge in many communities. It costs just as much to maintain an ambulance in Monticello as it does in Cedar Rapids. The only difference is the one in Cedar Rapids answers 10 times as many calls and cash flows. We need to figure out how to help fund the rural ambulances but as important as being able to find people and training for them to be there when the call comes in. 

Education funding. We will be setting this early so schools have time to plan their own budgets. 


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