Flood relief funding was a major focus for the Senate last week, with the full chamber passing a $20 million appropriation to fund those efforts. Damage estimates from last spring’s Missouri River floods range from $1.5 billion to $2 billion.
Sen. Mark Costello’s (R-Imogene) district includes some of the flooded area. In a floor speech, he said that with the additional $20 million in funding, the state has now contributed a total of $35 million to flood relief. Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) said that the new appropriation probably wouldn’t be enough to repair such extensive damage. The bill, SF 2144, unanimously passed the chamber, 48-0. It also included an additional $330,000 appropriation to the Department of Human Services for the Glenwood Resource Center, a facility for Iowans with severe intellectual disabilities. The bill now moves to the House for consideration. Governor Kim Reynolds said in a news conference that the state is looking into all possible flood relief funding options.
The Senate is also considering a number of Governor Reynolds’ nominees for various state agency and board posts. Among them is former Democratic State Rep. Helen Miller of Fort Dodge. Reynolds nominated Miller, an attorney, to chair the state Parole Board.
Meanwhile, three long-time Republican lawmakers have announced they will not seek reelection this year. Senate President Pro Tempore Jerry Behn (R-Boone) will retire after six terms. He was first elected in 1996. He is also Vice Chair of the Ethics Committee. His son, Chad Behn, said he plans to run for the seat in November. Earlier this year Sen. Tim Kapucian (R-Keystone) said he won’t run for reelection in 2020. He has served 12 years in the chamber, and is Chair of the Transportation Committee. Rep. Dan Huseman (R-Aurelia) will also retire after this session, following 26 years of service. He is the longest-serving Republican in the Iowa House and is the Vice Chair of the Labor Committee.