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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

News from the Hill: Troopers, Transportation and Tuition

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has announced plans to put 29 new troopers on the road in the next few months. Many of these will be transferred out of Post 16, which is responsible for overseeing the Capitol Complex, and some will be new graduates from the DPS academy. Due to budget constraints over the past few years, the department has not conducted a training academy since 2001. This year, however, the DPS academy has been operable once more and will graduate a small number of troopers. In addition, the department has been the subject of criticism for having such a large contingent of troopers based at the Capitol Complex. They will better serve the public interest out on the highways rather than serving as Capitol security officers.

The first budget bill to pass out of sub-committee this year was due to the work and co-operative efforts of Representative Dan Huseman and Senator Steve Kettering along with their Democrat counterparts to move the Department of Transportation budget bill to the full Appropriations Committee. At the same time we are all waiting for congressional action on the TEA-21 appropriation bill which authorizes the federal transportation programs. Since this authorization expired in 2003, Congress has passed continuing resolutions to keep the current policy in place.

Many parents and grandparents are familiar with the Iowa Educational Savings Plan Trust (529), which allows taxpayers to make contributions to a trust in the name of a beneficiary to pay the costs of higher education. The Independent 529 Plan is the first private college-sponsored, national prepaid 529 plan. The Independent 529 Plan allows you to lock in tuition costs at today's price, guarding against tuition inflation and freedom from market risk. Buena Vista University is one of the 11 institutions in Iowa who will participate in this plan if approved by the legislature.

The best news of the week is that state revenues have increased enough so that we will be able to fund the shortfall in the Medicaid Program for this year, in addition to the anticipated shortfall for next year.Please stop by if you are at the Capitol. I can be reached via email at mfreema@legis.state.ia.us or mfreema@iw.net ; phone 515-281-7481 (weekdays) or 712-732-3781 (weekends).

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