Greetings from the Capitol!!
As we move toward the second funnel week in the Iowa Senate we are debating many hot topics.
Among this week's debated legislation was the passage of dove hunting. Like it or not, a dove hunting season was adopted in the House and the Senate and is on to Governor Branstad, who has promised to approve and sign the bill into law. Some would say that we shouldn't be shooting a universal symbol of peace, while the other side of the argument says that the birds are a tasty treat and challenging to shoot.
Also on our radar is the topic of nuclear power. Iowa will be faced with tough decisions in the near future as the state struggles to find a consistent power source that can accommodate business, industry and citizen's needs. Coal will run out and wind and solar power are inconsistent it's possible that Iowa could see rolling black-outs in the future.
The world is watching Japan and how they are handling their nuclear power problems and all research and technology are indicating that Iowa would never face the same problems. The state will need to make a decision about establishing a new nuclear power plant soon. Construction of a nuclear reactor will take close to 10 years to complete and have a positive long-term economic impact.
Nuclear power is an ongoing issue and I will continue to keep you updated.
On Thursday, March 31, the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency will release a map that could be the new congressional and legislative districts for the next decade. Legislators do not have to approve the first map but a plan must be accepted by September 1 and signed by Governor Branstad by September 15 or the map will be drawn by the Iowa Supreme Court.
A somewhat controversial bill dealing with a whole host of gaming issues remains lodged in committee but could become a live round before the 2011 session comes to a close. Some of the notable issues include horse racing, possible changes to the wagering tax, dog racing, online gaming and even a smoking ban in Iowa's casinos.
These and many other issues remain on the table for discussion this session.
Iowa will be represented in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall by a statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as the "Father of the Green Revolution" and the man who saved an estimated one billion lives with his advances in wheat science
Borlaug is also known for founding the World Food Prize, which has been called the "Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture" which aims to inspire additional achievements in improving the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.
The Iowa Legislature this week approved a resolution, with bipartisan support, that will exchange one of the state's two current statues both of which depict 19th-century politicians with a statue of Dr. Borlaug.
Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for a lifetime of work to feed a hungry world. His critical advancement was developing a new type of wheat, which is one of mankind's food staples. He used traditional plant breeding methods that improved wheat's resistance to detrimental diseases, allowing farmers all over the world to increase their yields and help alleviate hunger.
Borlaug founded the World Food Prize, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. The World Food Prize has grown tremendously from when it started as a half-day event, and now hosts its three-day Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, known as the "Borlaug Dialogue," on food security each October, surrounding World Food Day and in conjunction with the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony.
Last year, the World Food Prize events attracted over 1,000 participants from more than 65 countries to Des Moines, Iowa, in America's heartland. The events also include a Global Youth Institute that connects high school students from Iowa and around the world to notable experts, with the goal of inspiring more youth to work toward careers in science and agriculture nearly 20 are selected each year for a summer internship at an international research center.
By an act of Congress in 1864, each state is allowed two statues of "notable citizens" to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. Iowa's two current statues depict Samuel Kirkwood, Iowa's governor during the Civil War, and James Harlan, a U.S. Senator from 1855 to 1865. Both men also served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
See you out and about!