By Rep. Dean Fisher
Over the next few weeks and months there will be lots of discussion on the budget, and no doubt lots of media coverage. I feel it is important to make sure my constituents understand the issues fully, instead of just being fed the sound bites that often dominate the media coverage.
One area of concern is protecting our cash reserves and economic emergency fund from being appropriated for ongoing expenses. These funds contain $718 million, three-fourths of that is for managing cash flow, and one-fourth of that is for when cash is needed immediately for emergencies, such as natural disasters or economic emergencies. It is tempting for some legislators to want to look to these funds when revenue is not growing as fast as they would like. However, tapping into these funds creates serious trouble in the following years. First, those reserve funds are not a source of revenue, they are “savings.” Because state law requires the reserve fund to be replenished, a scenario where the amount taken one year results in the need to double that amount the next. Please rest assured that I will not support these kinds of budgetary shenanigans.
Safe At Home Act
The Safe At Home act that I sponsored last year has been implemented and participants were able to register for the program as of January 1st. Safe At Home creates an address confidentiality program within the Secretary of State office for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, human trafficking and child sexual abuse crimes. To date, 14 participants have signed up, and we expect that number to continue to climb. I have filed a bill to revise the Safe At Home Act that seeks to restrict when a court can order the program participant to disclose their physical address. It also specifies that persons in other states who are participants in address confidentiality programs will receive the same protections in Iowa courts. This is in response to an actual case where an ex-husband used the court to obtain the victim’s new address in another state she had fled to and resumed harassing her in that state.
I would love to have you come down to the Capitol any Monday through Thursday to visit, discuss your concerns with me, and take a tour of this beautiful building. It is one of Iowa’s treasures. We can even arrange a tour for you up to the capitol cupola on top of the dome!
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-750-3594.