Rep. Greg Heartsill held his monthly Pleasantville town hall meeting in the PHS Events Center Friday morning. Much of his audience was comprised of PHS seniors.
Heartsill opened the meeting by explaining his role and providing more information about the Iowa Legislature overall. He provided copies of the Constitution to everyone in attendance. One thing he stressed is that the United States of America is a republic and not a democracy.
As the floor was opened for questions, Superintendent Bob Miller asked why the House has not passed Supplemental State Aid (percentage increase in state funding to school districts) even though the law compels the chamber to set this percentage within 30 days of the governor releasing his budget. This deadline has passed.
“That law hasn’t been followed,” Miller said. He went on to ask how he can stress to his students the importance of obeying the law if legislators do not.
Heartsill said that the House was waiting on revised revenue estimates from the Revenue Estimating Conference. Leadership was concerned about “over-promising” a level of funding to school districts that may require a reduction. He pointed to the 2009 across the board cut that districts had to deal with under former Gov. Chet Culver.
In an interview with the Journal-Express following the meeting, Heartsill was asked why the House did not pass a lower percentage, just to comply with the law. His response was that the House also had concerns with setting the percentage too low and creating more issues for school districts.
Another topic covered by Heartsill during the meeting was Medicaid. Iowa expanded its Medicaid program last year, but without Heartsill’s support. Heartsill said one of his issues with Medicaid is that it will affect small businesses. Another is the federal government’s failure to live up to its funding promises to the states.