Agree or not, have the conversation

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 9 2014 | 12:01 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:20 am in

By Quentin Stanerson

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A couple of weeks ago, there was an Iowa House subcommittee regarding educational savings accounts for private and home-schooled students (HF2090). Since then I have seen two letters in The Gazette and Mount Vernon/Lisbon Sun. One editorial was opposed to the House legislation, one editorial was in favor.

I was a member of the three-person subcommittee. Subcommittees are open to the public and are used to gather information from different stakeholders. If a bill moves out of subcommittee, it has the opportunity to move to the whole committee or it could die if the chair chooses not to bring it before the committee.

After a bill passes the entire committee, it has the opportunity to be debated on the floor if leadership so chooses. Again, it dies if not moved forward. As you can see, the subcommittee is the very first step in a multistep process and is used to gather information. Many bills leave subcommittee and are then amended in the full committee or on the floor of the House. In some cases, bills leave subcommittee and are never considered in the full committee.

I expressed concerns with the bill and that for me to support it in the full committee there would have to be changes/amendments. I did, however, agree to continue the conversation and listen to all stake holders; therefore I signed on in the subcommittee. The bill moved forward with two of the three subcommittee members signing on. HF2090 was not heard by the full committee before a self-imposed “funnel” deadline and it therefore will not move forward this legislative session.

As of late, there has been some misinformation being thrown around. This is understandable with it being an election year and all. In no way did I approve of an appropriation for HF2090. It was a subcommittee; that preliminary step in the bill process. Appropriations are handled in a separate committee, of which I am not a member.

I am a public schoolteacher and coach. There is no one who is a bigger proponent of public education issues. I am also the state representative for House District 95 and represent all of the 32,000 folks in that district. I received hundreds of emails from constituents in favor of these educational savings accounts.

Just because an issue is something that is not important to one, or because someone disagrees with the concept of an issue, does not mean I will not listen to my constituents’ concerns and have a conversation on issues that are important to them. That is what I agreed to in the subcommittee.

Apparently there are some who, if they were in this chair, would only listen to those they agree with. Rest assured that I will continue to listen to each and every constituent. Even in cases where we might not agree, we will have the conversation.

Quentin Stanerson of Center Point is House District 95 state representative. Comments: Quentin.Stanerson@legis.iowa.go

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