The Behn Report

Iowa Senator Jerry Behn

In the Legislature

Our focus continues to be our subcommittee work as more and more bills are being filed during the third week of the legislative session.

On Tuesday members of the United Way from across the state visited the Capitol. They discussed different policy proposals to support Iowans through education and health care, and how to assist Iowans in their pursuit of new career opportunities. We also had Easter Seals visit at the Capitol to discuss ways the Legislature can support those with disabilities.

Colleagues on both sides of the aisle have been filing legislation and policy they’d like to see move forward. More than 200 bills have already been filed on a number of issues, ranging from window tints, license plates and medical marijuana. In these first few weeks, over 70 subcommittee meetings have been held on wide variety of topics. Some of these include Senate File 63, which would establish protection for veterans and their service animals against individuals misrepresenting their animal as a trained or in-training service animal. One bill would make some changes to the fireworks bill we passed in the last General Assembly and another, Senate File 58, provides more flexibility for rural schools in transporting students to school activities. These are just a few of the topics that have been discussed in our first weeks here.

While you may hear about these issues and many more, it is likely those bills will be changed as they move through the legislative process and receive feedback from other senators, interested groups, and our constituents.

Number One in High School Graduation

Iowa remains the envy of other states because of its first in the nation status, and not just because we are the first state to kick off the presidential selection process. Iowans can proudly say our great state boasts the top high school graduation rate in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics recently announced Iowa held its top ranking with a 91 percent high school graduation rate.

We will continue to stress the importance of education. The investment we make in a child’s education is advantageous for everyone. Iowa’s children are the state’s greatest resource and their education plays a significant role in bolstering our state’s economy. With Iowa ranking as the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the country, our business leaders and job creators will be looking to our recent high school graduates and post-secondary graduates to fill the abundant vacancies in our workforce.

The success of Iowa students in the classroom is unmatched. However, the legislature must continue to work to ensure those diplomas mean they are prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education after high school graduation. Involvement of the parents, high standards, and reliable funding levels, will continue to increase their career readiness. This is an exciting time for Iowans as we continue to see our successes recognized across the nation.

As always, I want to hear from you. My Senate number is 515-281-3371 and my home number is 515-432-7327 or write me at: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319 or at my home address: 1313 Quill Avenue, Boone, IA 50036 or email me at