Fisher: 2013 was historic session

Rep. Dean Fisher, R-Garwin, said the 2013 legislative session was historic with the quality of bills passed that will impact Iowans.

Fisher said property tax, education and health care reform were all advanced during this past session. It was Fisher’s first session as a legislator. He gave highlights during the weekly meeting of the Marshall County Pachyderm Club Friday.

“I think it was a very successful session,” Fisher said.

Fisher said there was a 10 percent reduction in commercial property taxes and overall property taxes were cut $560 million. With lower commercial taxes, legislators are hopeful it will attract more businesses and jobs to the state.

“That was a big, landmark piece of legislation,” Fisher said.

As far as education reform, Fisher said he was happy it provided more flexibility in how homeschools and private schools operate.

Gov. Terry Branstad recently announced his plan to make every school district start school after Sept. 1 in the future. Currently, most districts apply for, and are granted, waivers to start the school year earlier than that. Fisher is in favor of the governor’s plan.

“They absolutely should not start before the Iowa State Fair is over,” Fisher said. “Because our rural kids especially need to have that experience and have that time at the fair to show their projects.”

Fisher said his biggest disappointment of the legislative session was in health care reform. In one of the bills, language was removed that would have prevented state funding to abortion clinics. He was in favor of this prevention of funding, but it was left out of the bill.

“A lot of my constituents don’t like the idea of taxpayer-funded abortion clinics,” Fisher said.

As a result of that language being left out of the bill, Fisher voted against it.

Pachyderm will not meet next Friday due to the Fourth of July holiday.