Tri States Public Radio Staff
Fri July 15, 2011
Emphasis - July 15
Keokuk, IA – Jason Parrott's guest is State Representative Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk).
They discuss the Iowa Legislature's historic 2011 session.
Kearns says one of the most important pieces of legislation for Lee County involved the budget for Iowa Workforce Development.
He says lawmakers included enough money to reverse a plan to close 39 unemployment offices throughout the state, including one in Keokuk and one in Fort Madison.
Kearns says even if Governor Terry Branstad changes the budget, he has been told that Lee County will keep at least one location because of its high unemployment rate.
Kearns says the overall budget is strong because of improved tax collection.
He says, because of that, lawmakers should have put more money into education, job creation, and corrections.
Kearns says he is disappointed that Iowa's K-12 schools will not see an increase in funding this year.
He says the reason why the 2011 legislative session took two additional months to complete was because lawmakers spent too much time debating social issues that were not going to be approved.
He expects the 2012 session to be rather quick with election season on the horizon.