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Gassman and Guth wrap up the legislative session

April 27, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

The Iowa Legislature wrapped its 2016 session this past week. State senator Dennis Guth and state representative Tedd Gassman, who both represent Emmet County, discussed some of the highs and lows of the session.

The issue of de-funding Planned Parenthood and other centers with abortion services is an issue that could extend the legislative session, should discussions on the topic become extended.

"No taxpayer money should go to any organization that performs abortions," Guth said. "It was timely that the federal government was also having discussions about these places drawing contracts for the sale or trade of fetal body parts. They have quietly broken the law many times, and I don't think these are the kinds of outfits the state government should be affiliated with."

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Guth was reached at his farm in Klemme and was positive about this year's legislature.

"This session has been productive and civil," he said. "It's been not as contentious so we can get things done and spend less time throwing rocks at each other."

Gassman agreed with the assessment of the recent session.

"I believe we have had a good session. We have a balanced budget. Not everyone is satisfied with the way the funds have been appropriated. The total budget is about $7.35 billion of Iowan's money," Gassman said.

Guth had just been made aware he faces Democratic challenger Susan Bangert of Algona in the general election, should she be nominated at a convention to follow the state-level primary election.

"I was aware of her because she ran for a House seat in 2010," Guth said, "but I had not heard she was running for Senate this year. It will be a positive thing for the voters to have choices."

Gassman was reached in Des Moines, but his Scarville farm was on his mind.

"I still have corn to plant, and it makes you nervous, especially when the weather is nice."

The House has two budget bills to finish, Gassman said. "I think there are two in conference committee right now." A conference committee consists of three Republicans and two Democrats from the House, three Democrats and two Republicans the Senate.

"Those 10 people work out an agreement and we as a body will continually be kept abreast of those negotiations until an agreement is reached," he said.

Some of the bills Gassman managed on the House floor dealt with education.

"The transitional coaching authorization bill actually started last year and finished this year," Gassman said. The law allows school districts more freedom to hire last-minute coaches from outside the district if someone already working for the schools cannot be found to fill the position.

"I also floor managed a bill that gives the recipients of some scholarships an opportunity to use the money over a period of two years instead of one year. This helps students budget their funds more in line with their expenses," Gassman said. Gassman said many lawmaking days stretched into the evening hours.

"Some have gone on until midnight. That is one of the bad parts of the job. I don't think anyone has full control of their faculties when it gets that late," he said.

Both legislators said they planned to make a number of public visits around the district over the summer, and to get to as many community events as they are able to attend.



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