Week 3 of the 87th General Assembly saw great progress for the people of Iowa. The de-appropriation necessary to keep the FY17 budget balanced has been agreed to by the House, Senate, and Governor. It will be passed and sent to the Governor the week of January 30th. A number of bills are also advancing to make Iowa government smaller and smarter, with the goal of bringing greater economic opportunity and liberty for Iowans.
The de-appropriation bill to be passed soon will reduce spending for the current fiscal year by a little over $117 million. This was made necessary by growth slightly lower than what was projected by the Revenue Estimating Conference and upon which the budget was set for 2017. K-12 Schools will not be reduced, and the Governor’s proposals to cut deeply into Community Colleges & Public Safety were reduced. These two areas will get a much smaller cut than what was originally proposed. Funding for Public Safety & Community Colleges will be a high priority for House Republicans as we begin to set budget targets for FY18. These targets will be set once funding for K-12 Education is determined for 2018.
Notable bills to make Iowa government Smaller and Smarter include:
- House File 1, which establishes an ongoing review of all state programs to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. This bill would also require reauthorization of all government programs every 5 years to make sure programs are still needed and serving their intended purpose.
- House File 3, which limits the government’s ability to enact burdensome occupational licensing barriers that make it harder for Iowans to work in certain careers.
- House File 20, which protects Iowa students from sexual exploitation by a school employee.
- House File 28, which requires high schools to teach financial literacy courses to better prepare students and promote important skills for adult life.
- House Joint Resolution 1, which protects the privacy and liberty of Iowans by extending 4th Amendment protections to electronic communications & data.
- Collective Bargaining Reform to restore balance to the system and safeguard financial solvency & democratic principles in the execution of state government.
- Legislation to permanently couple with federal tax code Section 179 beginning in tax year 2017. Since coupling allows a tax deduction all in one year instead of over an extended period, it becomes revenue neutral after about five years.
- A number of initiatives to protect & strengthen fundamental 2nd Amendment rights are moving forward.
- The creation of a state family planning program that will provide funding for women’s health services and expand women’s access to care, while denying funding to abortion providers. Life begins at conception and must be protected.
I continue to work on legislation to make “Sanctuary Cities” illegal in Iowa, to include any entity that receives state funding, such as cities, counties and universities. The safety of Iowa’s citizens must be our top priority.
In my capacity as Chair of Veterans Affairs, I am working to get the VA to become a participant in the Kidney Paired Donor Program (KPD). This will decrease the wait time for hundreds of veterans waiting for a kidney, and will also increase the likelihood that they can find a match.
I am honored and blessed to serve as your State Representative.