Legislative Update 01/14/2016

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Quote of the Week

Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end.

— Lord Acton

Legislative Update


This week was full of “Pomp and Circumstance” with the State of the State Address by the Governor, the State of the Justice System by Chief Justice Cady, and the Seating of Linda Upmeyer as the Speaker of the House.  I am excited about the session so far.  I see two issues that will be tough to surmount. 

First, the budget is very tight.  I want to re-enforce the idea that our budget is growing and we have money coming into our budget.  The problem is our budget is not growing as fast as it was estimated.  In addition, our programed expenses are larger than the positive dollar amount that we will be bringing in. Because of that, we will need to be prudent with our budget choices and ensure we are funding vital programs and issues.  There will be some cuts needed to provide funding for schools, Medicaid, and other vital programs. 

The second tough item for this session will be school funding, which is closely tied to our available funding.  The call will go out from schools and the teacher’s union to fund schools at a higher level than we can afford.  We have to remember that just like families back at home we can only fund programs, such as our schools, with the amount of money that we have available.  We cannot pay out more money than we bring in.  With Education, Medicaid, and state salaries and benefits coming in at about 92 percent of our entire state budget of a little over 7 billion dollars we cannot really cut many things to make up the difference.  So, remember for every percent we provide to schools, that is a percent that we must take away from someplace else in our government. 

We, in the State House, believe that K through 12 education is important and we will treat it with the importance that it is.  We will not, however, violate our budgeting principles and put future generations in jeopardy due to a high debt load or uncertain times.  Unfortunately Medicaid, an entitlement, is driving the dollars that we have available to provide for education.

I am very proud to represent you in Des Moines and bring our Northwest Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines.  I will do my best at all times and I will work hard to ensure you are represented in the best way.  Please let me know your thoughts and the issues that are important to you and I will do my best for you. 


Representative John H. Wills


Legislative Priorities 


House Republicans are committed to these principles to produce a balanced and sustainable state budget:

  1. We will spend less than the state collects;
  2. We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs;
  3. We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs; and
  4. We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
The House Republican position on government spending is reasonable, sustainable and based on simple common-sense budgeting principles.

It is important to Iowans that we do not spend more than we have and live within our means.  While standing by this principle for the last five legislative sessions, Republicans have found common ground with the Governor and Senate Democrats.  We expect that to continue this year.  Living within our means is something the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa do every day.  Government needs to do the same.
The full report from the Department of Revenue can be found here.

Legislative Forums

January 23
9:00am    Eggs and Issues - Spencer City Hall Council Chambers, 418 2nd Avenue West, Spencer, IA 
11:30am  Legislative Forum - Pearson Lakes Art Center, 2201 US 71, Okoboji, IA

January 30
8:00am    Eggs and Issues - Forster Community Center, 404 1st Avenue, Rock Rapids, IA

February 6
9:00am    Eggs and Issues - Spencer City Hall Council Chambers, 418 2nd Avenue West, Spencer, IA 
11:30am  Legislative Forum - Bedell Family YMCA, 1900 41st Street, Spirit Lake, IA

February 20
9:00am    Eggs and Issues - Spencer City Hall Council Chambers, 418 2nd Avenue West, Spencer, IA 
11:30am  Legislative Forum - Dickinson County Courthouse, 1802 Hill Avenue, Spirit Lake, IA

February 27
8:00am    Eggs and Issues - Forster Community Center, 404 1st Avenue, Rock Rapids, IA

March 5
9:00am    Eggs and Issues - Spencer City Hall Council Chambers, 418 2nd Avenue West, Spencer, IA 
11:30am  Legislative Forum - Spirit Lake City Hall, 1803 Hill Avenue, Spirit Lake, IA

March 19
8:00am    Eggs and Issues - Forster Community Center, 404 1st Avenue, Rock Rapids, IA


News from Around the District

Iowa Great Lakes Officially Freeze

Mon 1-4-2016 West Lake Okoboji, IA

(Arnolds Park)-- Break out the ice fishing gear: the Iowa Great Lakes have officially frozen over. That word today (Mon.) from Kirk Ewen of Arnolds Park, who keeps track of the official freeze-thaw dates of the Iowa Great Lakes.

Ewen tells KUOO news West Lake Okoboji was completely frozen over as of this (Monday) morning, and East Lake Okoboji was frozen over December 19th.

Ice Fishing Safety
Ice fishing can put anglers in dangerous situations.  Before going out on the ice, below are a few tips from the Iowa DNR about how you can stay safe.
Take the time to check the ice thickness and quality before you settle on a spot.  Four inches of clear ice or eight inches of black ice will hold an adult.  Five to six inches is required to hold a snowmobile or groups of three or more.  It is always a great idea to use the buddy system.  Fish in groups when possible.  If that is not possible, tell someone else where you will be and when you will get back.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Don’t Delay, Renew Your Permit to Carry Today!

 If you were issued a Nonprofessional Permit to Carry Weapons in 2011, your permit may be expiring soon. In order to avoid having an expired permit, permit holders will need to renew their permit in accordance with Iowa Law. A complete explanation of the process can be found on the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s website.
The renewal process is not complicated, but delaying your renewal could be costly. According to Iowa law, a person must submit an application to renew their permit to carry at least 30 days before the current permit expires.  In order to apply for a renewal, a permit holder must complete an acceptable form of training, or the permit holder may choose to qualify with a certified instructor on a range. This training must occur within 12 months before the permit expires. A renewal permit costs $25.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the following would qualify for renewal classes: 

  • Completion of any National Rifle Association (NRA) handgun safety training course.
  • Completion of any handgun safety training course available to the general public offered by a law enforcement agency, community college, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or certain other firearms training certifying bodies (such as the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy).
  • Completion of any handgun safety training course offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of a law enforcement or security enforcement agency approved by the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
  • Completion of small arms training while serving with the armed forces of the United States as evidenced by any of the following:
  • For personnel released or retired from active duty, possession of an honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions.
  • For personnel on active duty or serving in one of the national guard or reserve components of the armed forces of the United States, possession of a certificate of completion of basic training with a service record of successful completion of small arms training and qualification.
  • Completion of a law enforcement agency firearms training course that qualifies a peace officer to carry a firearm in the normal course of the peace officer's duties.
Visit for more information
A permit holder who fails to submit their renewal application 30 days before the permit expires must apply for a new permit. If you are applying for a new permit, you must take a required training course, listed above. A person applying for a new permit cannot qualify on a range unless it is in conjunction with a training course. The new permit fee is $50. Permit holders must apply for their renewal permit at their local county sheriff’s office.   
Some Sheriff departments are seeing a high amount of renewals. Renewing a nonprofessional permit to carry on time will save you money and ensure that your permit always remains valid.


Tour of Our District

Blood Run National Historic Landmark

Explore mounds and village sties occupied by the Oneota and Prairie Sioux


This National Historic Landmark was a large village and ceremonial site of the people who were ancestors of the Omaha, Iowa, Ponca and Otoe-Missouria tribes. The Big Sioux River, abudant game, fertile soil for gardens and access to pipestone made this land attractive to these people. It was a major trading site from about 1500 to 1700. Hundreds of burial mounds were once observed and many are protected at this site.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the State Historical Society, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs are engaged in a master planning process for the Blood Run National Historic Landmark in Lyon County. Visit Iowa Good Earth at Blood Run Cultural Landscape Master Plan

to follow the planning process and to provide your ideas and comments along the way. This twelve month process will result in a Cultural Landscape Study and master plan that will guide future site preservation and development of this resource known as Good Earth at Blood Run.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

The word "Iowa" comes from the American Indian tribe of the same name. Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase, a deal arranged between President Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte of France that brought a vast tract of the continent under the control of the United States. The area was closed to white settlement until the early 1830s.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Doll Case

This display case, located along the south hall on the first floor of the Capitol, is home to a gown display of the 43 first ladies who served throughout Iowa's history. Each doll represents an Iowa Governor's wife, and is dressed in a miniature replica of the gown fashioned for each Governor's inaugural ball.

The display was conceived by Billie Ray, wife of former Governor Robert Ray, for a Bicentennial project in 1976. Only three dolls have been added to the collection since that date. This latest addition is dressed in a miniature replica of the gown worn by Mari Culver at the Governor's inaugural ball in 2007.

Each doll's face was copied from the original, which was designed to bear a likeness to the facial features of Billie Ray.

Map of the Week


To view the map, click here

Visitors of the Week

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Quick Links

State Representative, John H. Wills
Governor, Terry Branstad
Iowa Legislature
Iowa Judical Branch
Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey
Secretary of State, Paul Pate
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Senator, David Johnson
State Treasurer
U. S. Congressman, Steve King
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Joni Ernst
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