Bergan Report

Greetings from the State House,

We have reached the second funnel week for the Legislature. The second funnel is a self-imposed deadline by which policy bills from the Senate must be out of committee in the House and likewise House bills must be out of committee in the Senate in order to continue being considered. The exceptions to this rule are bills which have a tax implication or are an appropriations bill. The purpose of the first and second funnel deadlines is to narrow down what the chambers will deliberate over and allow our focus to move to budgets and tax reduction policies.

This week, the Iowa House unanimously passed House File 848, the Governor’s broadband grant program bill. The Iowa House has made it a priority to not just increase broadband speeds, but make sure Iowans in “broadband deserts” get connected to broadband internet. As more people continue to work remotely and telehealth capabilities continues to expand, what was once seen as a luxury has now become a necessity. This bill sets a framework for aggressively building out Iowa’s broadband infrastructure, but will have little effect without significant financial investment, which House Republicans are hoping to pass later this session.

House Republicans have been aggressive in addressing child care access this session. We know there is not one single solution to this complex issue. That’s why the House passed ten bills to address the crisis through a multipronged approach. Together, these bills increase the child care workforce, increase provider rates to maintain existing child care facilities, provide incentives to develop new child care facilities, and help hard-working families afford the high cost of child care. While some of the bills passed in the House did not survive the second funnel deadline, many of these bills are still alive in the Senate and are awaiting further action. The Governor has indicated that she shares the House’s priority in increasing access to affordable, quality child care. It’s vital for our state’s success that these bills pass the Senate so they can be signed by the Governor and become law. We need your help getting these bills sent to the Governor’s desk.

A delegation from Pella were welcomed to the House as they extended an invitation to the annual Pella Tulip Festival. I took the opportunity to wear my Norwegian bunad (folk costume) to extend an invitation to Decorah for Nordic Fest. You are welcome to visit the Capitol. Please let me know if you have scheduled a visit to Des Moines. I can be reached by email at michael.bergan@legis.iowa.gov


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