Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

February 21, 2013

Sinclair "frustrated" by lack of progress in Senate

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — The Iowa Legislature has been in session for six weeks, and Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-District 14) is "frustrated" that there has been little progress made in the State Senate. 

According to Sinclair, Gov. Terry Branstad has pushed to have education reform addressed first. The House approved a reform bill late Tuesday night, but Sinclair, who is on the education committee, has not taken up the bill. A great deal of work has been put in, and will continue to be put in, by Sinclair and other education committee members. 

Other issues, such as property tax reform, have taken a back seat to education. Sinclair would like to see the Senate take up this issue in a more timely manner, as action on property taxes will affect local governments. These cities, counties and school districts are crafting their budgets for the coming year now. Getting information from the state level to them sooner would help them better prepare their spending plans. 

The Democrats maintain a slim majority in the Senate. Their leader, Sen. Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, chooses what is debated and put to vote in the Senate. 

"I don't think Mike Gronstal wants to talk about property tax reform," Sinclair said. An interview request was e-mailed to Gronstal, but no response has yet been received. 

While Sinclair wishes the Senate was more productive, she is also relieved that inactivity means fewer burdens being placed on Iowans. She also believes one of the Senate's primary purposes is to craft a state budget, and she has not seen anything produced regarding the budget as of yet. 

Sinclair has co-sponsored a number of bills, including ones intended to ban traffic cameras, the transfer of funds from the General Fund to another for infrastructure improvements and other local government issues. The list of bills sponsored by Sinclair can be found at 

http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.aspcategory=billinfo&service=dspldata&var=sspo&cfid=12337&GA=85

The Senate has canceled committee meetings for today (Thursday). The session should resume Monday, Feb. 25. Though the Senate has not held many votes, Sinclair sad she has had a great deal of interaction and input from her constituents. Sinclair can be reached at amy.sinclair@legis.iowa.gov.