Guest Columns
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Re-entry into regular life after the Iowa caucuses can be challenging, even when it doesn’t take four days to report results. more
In 2010, Iowans voted to amend the constitution and create the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund with the purpose of “protecting and enhancing water quality and natural areas in this state.” To date, the trust has remained unfunded. By raising the sales tax, the amendment will dedicate 3/8 of the proposed 1-cent sales tax and provide the necessary, sustainable funding for the trust. more
With unemployment at historic lows, employers are desperate to fill job openings. One of the biggest topics of discussion this session will be continuing to find solutions to Iowa’s workforce shortage. Several factors contribute to this problem, including a lack of access to affordable child care options for Iowa families. more
One of the first bills passed out of the Iowa Senate this legislative session appropriates $20 million in state funding for flood disaster relief in Iowa. more
It was a good thing there was a box of tissues on the table in the Iowa House lounge, where Sandy and Scott Van Veldhuizen came to tell the story of how their 12-year-old son died. more
This week, the House Majority announced a K-12 funding package for the 2020-21 school year that will provide schools with additional resources that they can depend on. Additionally, the plan will take into account many of the challenges that school boards and administrators have brought to lawmakers and targets additional dollars to address these problems. more
Media across the state have reported on many incidents of violence against teachers, classroom disruptions inhibiting an environment of learning, and a climate of uncertainty in many Iowa schools. These stories demonstrate that the status quo must be fixed, and Iowa schools need help to properly deal with this problem. SSB 3080 creates policy and funding solutions to give schools a chance to help students with serious violent behavior problems and also ensure the education for other students is not shortchanged. more
Women age 50 and over are saying they plan to vote in large numbers in Iowa and nationally and there’s no issue they care about more than health care, according to a Harris Poll conducted for AARP and released first to Iowa Capital Dispatch. more
This week the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Budget Committee heard from the Local Food and Farm Initiative. This organization strives to expand opportunities for economic growth through smaller diversified farms and food systems. They also stressed the need for statewide coordination of these efforts. One suggestion was for the Department of Ag to have a statewide coordinator. This person’s responsibility would be to create a process by which producers and end users could connect. more
This week I chaired a subcommittee for SSB 3016 that will conform Iowa Code to federal changes of the minimum age to purchase and possess or use tobacco to 21. I was thrilled to have a group of students from St. Joseph’s Catholic School in DeWitt who have been advocating for this issue participate in the subcommittee remotely via Skype. They educated the committee on the dangers of vaping as well as other related issued they would like to see address. more
Over the last nine years, investment in Iowa’s schools has increased by $863 million, or 35 percent. House Republicans are committed to putting Iowa schools first, and we have made it a priority to set SSA as early as possible. In doing so, school boards will have the time they need in order to plan their budgets for the 2020-21 school year. more
A joint resolution that would make the subject of abortion neutral in the Iowa Constitution is one of the first bills moving through the legislative process. This change to Iowa’s Constitution does not prevent abortions. And, the U.S. Supreme Court precedent still prohibits states from banning all abortions under the U.S. Constitution. What this amendment does do is add new language to the Iowa Constitution stating it does not secure or protect a right to an abortion or require public funding for an abortion. more
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