Guest Columns
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The Iowa legislative session has adjourned with a balanced budget once again. Republicans in the Iowa Statehouse have proven time and again that we can cut your taxes while maintaining a balanced budget that adequately funds your priorities. more
I don’t believe California Prop 12, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, specifically speaks to hogs raised in Iowa. If I am wrong, I welcome the correction. more
For the 20th time since 1933, Congress is writing a multiyear farm bill that will shape what kind of food U.S. farmers grow, how they raise it and how it gets to consumers. These measures are large, complex and expensive: The next farm bill is projected to cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion over 10 years. more
We heard from Republican lawmakers that the recently completed legislative session was “historic.” It sure was — historically small. more
The 2023 legislative session ended last week after some long days debating bills and finishing up budgets. We have allocated $8.517 billion for the next budget year, spending only 88.25 percent of ongoing revenue. Responsible budgets have been a key principle since Republicans took the majority in 2017, and have allowed us to fund important priorities, like an extra $107 million to K-12 schools this year. more
May 4 was the final day of the 2023 session. Much of last week was taken up with debate over the $8.517 billion budget. During debate on the largest budget bill, Democrats claimed funding for Area Education Associations was being cut. more
Led by House Republicans, the Legislature has acted on significant measures this session empowering parents while making clear where the lines of control exist when it comes to parental responsibility and school districts' responsibility. more
There was no floor action in the Iowa House last week as the budget subcommittee chairs focused on negotiating the details of the state budget with their counterparts in the Senate. more
When I was 8, I asked for my parents’ permission to compete in the Little Miss category of the Miss Iowa Scholarship Organization. They agreed despite their confusion at my interest, as I was an incredibly bashful child. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I remember being scared to death and practically running off the stage for almost every phase of competition. As you can imagine, I did not walk away with the title. more
Senate File 494 provides oversight of Iowa’s public assistance programs. This bill strikes a balance between protecting Iowa’s welfare programs for Iowans in true need while at the same time protecting the Iowa taxpayer from paying for services for a noneligible individual.  more
Last week moved Senate File 324 that dedicates funds and invests in important initiatives like the More Options for Maternal Support (MOMS) program. The bill would allocate $2 million to the MOMS program to help pregnant women looking for help and resources and allows Iowa’s Health and Human Services department to award fatherhood engagement grants to nonprofits and community-based organizations that address the needs of fathers, whether it is employment, financial obligations, or parenting skills. The bill also establishes a state-funded fellowship program for family medicine and obstetric practitioners in rural and underserved areas. Additionally, it increases funding for families seeking adoptions and expanded scholarship opportunities for Iowa foster kids. more
The Iowa Senate and Gov. Kim Reynolds have set a budget target of $8.486 billion, which will begin the budget process over the next several weeks. The target represents a sustainable increase in spending for education and public safety, while also ensuring tax relief for hardworking Iowans. Iowa’s income tax rates have decreased from 8.98 to 6 percent this year, in addition to the elimination of the tax on retirement income. By 2026 the income tax rate will be a flat 3.9 percent. This tax relief has been made possible because of budgets just like the one proposed this year. more
This was an exciting week for me personally in the Iowa Legislature because I had my first bill signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Senate File 445 is a bill I ran to expedite the property assessment challenge process. This topic is very timely as property owners are receiving their reassessed values right now. more
On March 24, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that will likely change the way the Iowa Legislature establishes the state budget for years to come. And in the process, they may have created an additional issue for themselves. more
Iowa Supreme Court justice Thomas Waterman, of Davenport, wrote this March 24 opinion concluding the Iowa legislature used illegal “logrolling,” or packaging unrelated legislation for last-minute passage. Missouri-based powerline builder LS Power Midcontinent, LLC sued Iowa after the legislature amended a budget bill with an unrelated provision barring LS from bidding on Iowa utility line work, unless Iowa utility firms declined to bid under a right of first refusal. more
I heard a lot from constituents this week after they received their new property tax assessments. The value of a property is of interest to homeowners for several reasons, not least of which is because it is a key aspect determining how much property tax is levied on a property. more
Ask any librarian about the topic of book banning and you will get a reaction. Within minutes, you’ll hear a passionate response about how their purpose is to “find and provide resources that our patrons seek, without judgment.” more
Walk into any library or bookstore and you are greeted with shelves upon shelves of books of every genre, reading level, and topic imaginable. more
Gary Abbott, of Donahue, provided a six-page statement to the Iowa Utilities Board with concerns about the Wolf Carbon Solutions pipeline route near his home. Here are edited excerpts with added headlines addressing three of Abbott’s key concerns. Find his entire statement with this story at, along with links to others on the Iowa Utilities Board site. more
Edited excerpts from Wolf Carbon Solutions’ pipeline permit petition. Find links to the entire petition with this story online at more
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