The state legislator who is temporarily disabled tried but failed to get his fellow House members to vote to hire one person to be in charge of statehouse evacuation plans.
Representative Mark Kuhn, a Democrat from Charles City, was severely injured in a farm accident in November and while being temporarily wheelchair-bound he found it difficult to safely evacuate the capitol building during two false fire alarms. “That’s exactly why I’m calling for one person to be accountable,” Kuhn says. “I think it’s an issue that the people of Iowa deserve more attention to.”
On a party-line vote, Republicans rejected Kuhn’s call for spending 82-thousand dollars to hire someone to be in charge of statehouse evacuation plans. Republicans say there’s no reason to duplicate efforts since there are already people on staff to develop, maintain and carry out evacuation plans.
Republicans also rebuffed Kuhn’s formal request for a review of all state buildings to determine if they’re accessible to the handicapped, or if there are plans in place to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. “We have a legal responsibility to the people of this state who have a disability,” Kuhn says.
Representative Tom Sands, a Republican from Columbus Junction, says there are already plans laid out for making state-owned buildings handicapped-accessible. “With all due respect, I don’t think another study is what we need to solve the problem,” Sands says. The discussion occurred as the 100 House members debated bills that sketch out the state budget plan for next year.