Legislators differ on Senate bill language on IJH

Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, sees it as a way to compromise.

Rep. Dean Fisher, R-Garwin, called it a “bullet to the head.”

The legislators disagreed over language in an Iowa Senate proposed bill that would plan to have a facility for delinquent girls open in the state, but didn’t indicate that it should be in Toledo.

The continued saga over the closed Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo was a topic at a Marshalltown Chamber legislative forum featuring Fisher and Sodders Friday.

Sodders said that Toledo is the only logical place for a juvenile home, but he feels putting the town name in the bill will make it harder for House Republicans and the governor to go along with it.

“If I put Toledo in it then I don’t believe (the governor) will sign it,” Sodders said. “Our goal is to not get it vetoed.”

Fisher said he can’t support a bill that doesn’t include that the facility in Toledo must reopen and said there is not much talk of IJH in the House currently. Although Fisher continues to fight to save IJH, he admits it’s an uphill battle.

“I think it’s going to be tough to get the governor to sign anything that puts it back in Toledo as a state run facility,” Fisher said.

Next week is funnel week, where legislators will be trying to get bills out of committee to meet the deadline to be discussed on the floors of their chambers.

Sodders said a gas tax to help pay for roads and bridges in the state has more momentum than it had earlier in the year.

“We have been in discussion with Republican colleagues to try to move this ball forward,” Sodders said.

Fisher said the issue of increasing the minimum wage in the state is not expected to see the light of day in the House.

“I suspect it’s dead,” Fisher said. “I don’t see the House taking it up.”

Sodders has three public forum listening posts planned for Saturday in the area. He will be a Hawkins Memorial Library in La Porte City at 10 a.m., Tama City Hall at 11:30 a.m. and host a 2 p.m. forum today at the Meskwaki Tribal Center.

Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, was originally scheduled to appear at the chamber forum Friday but announced earlier in the week he would not be there. Smith was attending the funeral for two sisters of Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, Friday in Clinton. Her sisters were murdered last week in Pennsylvania in what Smith called a “horrible tragedy.”