Well folks, I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Because I’m an optimist, I’ll come out with the bad news first.
The bad news and good news both originate in House File 682, the redistricting bill. It passed out of both houses of the legislature and was signed by the Governor. It passed the Senate 48-1.
This bill redraws and defines the legislative and congressional districts for the next ten years. Every ten years Iowa takes a look at the new census data and redraws the maps to make sure that the population is accurately represented both at state and federal levels.
The bad news about this bill is that under the new maps, our senate district will lose Union and Adams townships in Dallas County, and the city of Cummings as well.
Now, before I go any further, I’d like you to know that this was a very sad thing for me to learn. It was a real pleasure to see a lot of friends and make a lot of new ones this last summer when I was knockin’ on doors for my campaign or when we were at one of your parades.
It was an honor to receive your support during the election, and it’s my continued honor to be able to serve as your State Senator for the next year and a half!
And that’s part of the good news. Not only do I get to continue my representation of Union and Adams townships and the city of Cummings in the Iowa Senate until 2012, I’m also happy to announce that the rest of our Senate district remains intact. And our district didn’t merge in any other district. I’m also happy to announce that my seat won’t be up for election until 2014!
So that’s an update on the maps, and again, if you have relatives or friends in other parts of the state and want to see how these new maps will affect them, the link above will provide you with maps that you can take a look at to see where the new lines fall.
Oh, and by the way, after the 2012 elections are over, our Senate District number will change from the 37th District to the 13th District.
Many of you know that I serve on the Senate Government Oversight Committee as the ranking member. You might recall some of the controversy that’s happened over the last several years with the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB).
A bill that deals directly with that lack of transparency on the part of the IASB was passed on a vote of 49-1 (Senate File 519). The bill would:
• Allow school boards, school districts, and school administrators to pay dues to and retain the services of certain entities that provide services to school districts and specifies that these organizations are considered taxpayer-funded organizations.
• Require school boards that receive such services to report to the local community and the Department of Education annual dues, fees, and assessments paid and dividends and revenues received as well as services and products obtained.
• Require an audit of these entities that provide services to schools, requires the establishment of an audit committee within each entity, and specifies that an auditor is to have full access to the records and the audit committee.
• Require an annual report to the General Assembly, Oversight Committee and the Dept. of Education, specifying the following info to be included:
School district participation, monies paid by each, and the profit made off of each school district
Expenses and compensation provided to the 10 highest paid employees
Money paid to all legislative representatives and lobbyists
• Requires a copy to the General Assembly and Oversight Committee of all reports provided to the U.S. Department of Education related to federal grants and grant amounts.
• Requires these entities to provide education and training to their board members on their fiduciary and legal responsibilities.
• Provides the same whistleblower protections afforded to state employees.
• Requires all meetings and transactions to be subject to open meetings and open records law, but provides exceptions to open meeting/open records law that is currently in code such as on personnel, legal matters, and information that if obtained would give an advantage to competitors.
Stay tuned for further updates, and as always, if you have a concern you may always reach me at [email protected].
Kent Sorenson Serving Warren, Madison and SE Dallas Counties