Scott County lawmakers react to Governor Reynolds’ speech at forum

BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) — A group of bipartisan lawmakers gathered at the Bettendorf Library for the first of four Scott County Legislative Forums Saturday morning.

The seven legislators answered questions from residents on various topics such as infrastructure and child care. For many, it was the first opportunity to hear from lawmakers after Gov. Kim Reynolds’ “State of the State” speech.

Rep. Gary Mohr, R-Bettendorf, said Des Moines Republicans are still putting the pieces together for the governor’s 2022 agenda.

“We are sifting through [the governor’s speech] trying to figure out what the priorities of the legislature will be,” Mohr said.

Education reform was a key item in Reynolds’ speech on Tuesday and for residents on Saturday.

In her speech, the governor called for legislation that she says will provide transparency for parents about what their children are reading.

Rep. Phyllis Thede, D-Davenport, said that’s not a problem.

“Books are a choice for students. They don’t have to read them if they don’t want to,” Thede said. “It’s always been like this, always.”

Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire says she agrees with Reynolds.

“There are very specific examples of books that are currently in public school libraries that should not have content in front of K-12 kids.”

The governor has also proposed legislation that could give low-to-middle-income families resources to send students to private schools.

Cournoyer said that while he foresees competition between schools, she wants more details before backing the plan.

“I just need to see the numbers to make sure public schools aren’t harmed in the process.”

None of the Democrats on the panel commented on the issue.

Residents also asked about Reynolds’ proposed 4% flat income tax and his unemployment reform plans.

Rep. Monica Kurth, D-Davenport, said the governor’s tax plan won’t help Iowa.

“Lump sum taxes are regressive. They’re going to hurt people who make just $7.25 an hour, way more than people who make $100,000, $150,000.

Meanwhile, Mohr said the proposed tax was a good idea.

“A flat tax of 4% for everyone is fair. Whether they are rich or not. Everyone in this society has the opportunity to increase their assets.

The recap of the speech by the Governor of TV6 and the full speech can be viewed here.

The next Scott County Legislative Forum is scheduled for Saturday, February 19 at LULAC in Davenport. For updates, visit the forum’s Facebook page.

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Melvin B. Baillie