A bill that would have forced schools to test for radon and required radon control systems in new homes and buildings in Iowa has died in the Iowa House.
Gail Orcutt, a lung cancer survivor from Pleasant Hill, begged a three-member subcommittee to keep the bill alive.
“I feel like I’m speaking for all the people who aren’t here,” Orcutt said.
Orcutt, a 59-year-old who never smoked, got lung cancer because of high radon levels in her home. Orcutt told lawmakers every year 400 Iowans find out they have lung cancer because of exposure to radon.
“There are so many people in Iowa who still don’t know about radon,” Orcutt told legislators, choking back tears, “and you’d think by now everybody would.”
Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, thanked Orcutt for her testimony.
“Gail, I really appreciate all that you’ve done to move this legislation forward,” Windschitl said, “but I think that there are still some things to be ironed out as far as the cost of it.”
Republicans like Windschitl say schools will face significant costs if tests reveal high radon levels and new equipment has to be installed to get rid it.
“I don’t know if we’re going to have enough time to iron out all those kinks,” Windschitl said.
The bill passed the Senate in March, but Windschitl and another Republican in the House voted against the bill in a three-member subcommittee today. That dooms its chance of passing a full House committee by this Friday’s deadline.