Legislative update: Rep. Megan Jones’ bills on non-ag animal businesses, educational weighting funding survive funnel

Legislative update: Rep. Megan Jones’ bills on non-ag animal businesses, educational weighting funding survive funnel

After giving birth a month ago to her third child, Rep. Megan Jones is back in Des Moines.

She returned just in time for the first legislative deadline, known as the funnel, which requires all bills be reported out of committee if they are to be discussed on the House floor.

Jones (R-Clay County) spoke with the Signal about a couple of the bills she sponsored that survived the funnel.

HF 720: Addresses funding needs for facility in Sioux Central School District

Jones and two other area Republican representatives, Dan Huseman (Aurelia) and Gary Worthan (Storm Lake), worked together on a bill that would help the Sioux Central School District with funding for students at the Midwest Christian Children’s Home near Peterson.

The home is a 24-hour residential facility in the Sioux Central Schools’ geographical district.

The three representatives introduced the bill that would help the district compensate “a little bit more,” Jones said, for those children.

“Those students are in the Sioux Central District and many of those kids don’t get special weighting,” Jones said. “But they really need an extra boost in funding because they do have special or intricate needs that the school district is just having to come up with money for.”

These students come with additional needs, Jones added.

“These are adjudicated juveniles, so they’ve been through the court process, they probably have some problems,” Jones said. “So the school district needs to get them some additional special attention.”

She is hopeful the bill is approved and helps the district.

“We’ve been working closely with Scott Williamson, the superintendent of the school district, and some of the associations so we can figure out a route to hopefully get them a little bit more money,” Jones said. “It’s not a huge impact, but it really would be important to Sioux Central to do that.”

HF 311: Removes requirement that ag department collect SSN of people running non-ag, commercial animal businesses

Another bill Jones addressed was her bill that eliminates the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s requirement that it must collect Social Security numbers of people who operate certain non-agricultural animal commercial establishments when they apply for a permit or have a permit renewed that authorizes to operate the business.

That would include, among others, facilities such as certain animal shelters, pounds, pet shops, research facilities, boarding kennels, pet shops and breeders.

“The state government doesn’t need social security numbers outside of the Department of Revenue,” Jones said. “This just helps eliminate a burden for them and also protects Iowans when it comes to their Social Security numbers.”

Secretary of Agriculture Michael Naig, originally from House District 2. His office asked Jones if she’d be willing to introduce the bill “to help clean that up for them.”

“It’s just a security risk,” Jones said. “And they don’t use the social security numbers, anway, but they’re required to collect it pursuant to state code.”

Jones returns to Des Moines with infant son at her side

Jones returned to Des Moines with her newborn, Arthur Clyde Jones – whom she and her husband call Archie – at her side.

“It gets a little tricky, but we just get there earlier than what I normally would and we just kind of stay a little later so we can make sure that we still get our jobs done,” Jones said. “It will be nice to have him around.”

She has done this before, though, with infants too young to be accepted by daycare. Last year, Jones went through the same experience of bringing a baby to Des Moines with her daughter, Alma.

“She slept most of the day and that’s probably what he’ll do, too,” Jones said.

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