Legislative Update 4/14/16

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Quote of the Week

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water."
~~ Benjamin Franklin

Legislative Update


I see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  Today we passed two budget bills out of the House and sent them to the Senate and have agreements on other budget bills that will be ready to pass and move early next week.  Due to the amount of money that was given to our education system, 87% of all available revenue, most of our budgets are a status quo budget from last year.  There seems to be some urgency right now to finish up with our last budgets and a few policy bills and move to adjournment for the year. 

On Monday we spent almost all day on a water quality bill that has been passed out of the House and moved to the Senate.  The Senate has gone through several iterations of what they intend on doing with this bill.  At first they said they would not take it up, then they said they would consider it, and finally they said they would work on their own bill. 

I anticipate they will do one of the latter two options and either send our original bill back to us with a lot of issues we cannot support in it or they will work an entirely different bill and send that to us.  Either way they are playing politics with water quality.  The House Bill is common sense, includes everyone in the state, and provides nearly $70 million ($45 million of which is re-prioritized existing money in our state budget) for water quality efforts in our state. 

Several of the ideas that the Senate is proposing are to increase sales tax by 3/8 of a cent to fund the Iowa Water and Land Trust fund, charge a sales tax on bottled water, and additional excise taxes on fertilizers.  What are your thoughts on these proposals?  I am not a fan of taxing you further for anything without an equal or greater tax cut someplace in our budget, but I am willing to look at these ideas. 

I want to thank you for continued thoughts, prayers, and information that you willingly give for me and for our district.  I appreciate your support while I am in Des Moines and look forward to continuing representing you by bringing our NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines. 


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.

The 99% Expenditure Limitation Law will limit spending to $7.351 billion in FY 17.  Joint targets total $7.349 billion with $2 million left as a cushion in individual budget subcommittee negotiations.
The new revenue estimate of $7.351 billion not only lives within the 99% expenditure limitation law, it also lives within House Republican budgeting principles.
The joint targets prove that a realistic approach to government spending is a wise path to follow.
House Republicans remain resolute in keeping spending within ongoing revenue.  We will continue to budget like Iowa families and businesses by not spending more than the state collects and not using one-time money to fund ongoing needs.  House Republicans are committed to funding priorities of Iowans’ in a responsible way.
Individual Budget Subcommittee Targets:
Administration and Regulation $ 50.8 million
Agriculture and Natural Resources $ 43.1 million
Economic Development $ 43.1 million
Education $ 1.009 billion
Health and Human Services $ 1.837 billion
Justice Systems $ 748.2 million
Standings $ 3.617 billion
TOTAL $ 7.349 billion

News from Around the District

Boz Scaggs will be here on August 13th! 

A major announcement this week regarding this year’s Okoboji Blue Water Festival...Boz Scaggs will highlight the Festival.

The same band with which he fraternized on the remarkable album Memphis in 2013 is in place here: Drummer (and producer) Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks on bass, Ray Parker, Jr. on rhythm guitar and Jim Cox on keyboards. “Steve works on a high energy level,” Scaggs says of his prized collaborator. “It’s relaxed and easy, but also very highly charged. His direction is laser-focused, and his playing is intense. It’s a whirlwind and he’s a strong leader, but it’s also lovely and loose and cool. That’s all a comfort to me.”

Scaggs’ extraordinary career began with his rockabilly days with the Steve Miller Band in the late 1960s and morphed into classic, self-authored albums like Silk Degrees (1976), Middle Man (1980), Some Change (1994) and Dig (2001).

This event, which is intended to increase public awareness over the importance of water quality, will be held Saturday, August 13th at Preservation Plaza in Arnolds Park.  A number of lakes area businesses, individuals, and others are helping to make the event possible.  The festival is free to the public.


Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Boater Reminder, Pull the Drain Plugs

Anglers and boaters are reminded to make sure to pull the drain plug as a boat leaves a ramp to avoid spreading unwanted plants or animals to other water bodies.

The regulation, that went into effect on July 1, 2013, requires drain plugs and other water draining devices must be removed and/or remain open during transport. If you want to keep live bait when leaving a water access, you must replace water in bait containers with tap or bottle water.

Anglers leaving with fish are recommended to put them on ice, whether in a cooler, a bucket or a live well (plug must still be removed and/or opened).

“This regulation will help us avoid spreading invasive species from one body of water to another; through residual water inside your boat or vegetation which remains attached to your boat, motor or trailer,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of Fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Invasive species could range from vegetation such as Eurasian watermilfoil or brittle naiad to water dwelling animals such as zebra mussels--or even minnows purchased elsewhere. Once introduced into another water body, the unwanted species can spread throughout, often with few or no natural predators or vegetation to control the spread. That crowds out native species; disrupting the ecology of the lake or stream…as well as fishing and other recreation.

Is it worth the extra few seconds to pull a drain plug or clean that aquatic plant trailing from your boat motor?  It can cost a couple million of your license dollars…and three or four years of your fishing recreation to draw down a lake, kill out the invasive species, renovate it, restock it and wait for fish to grow back to catchable size.


Tour of Our District

Devil's Ridge

Devil's Ridge is a 160 acre tract managed as a Wildlife Area and Geological Preserve featuring formations formed by the Wisconsin Glacier 13,000 years ago.  From the parking lot walk along the fence line and climb the ridge of the lateral moraine. At this vantage point you can truly step back in time! As you look to the south and west you see the flattened landscape in which a herd of bison can be imagined. Now turn to the northeast and the footing completely drops from your view. This site is thought to have been a “Bison Jump Site,” which Native Americans used to harvest buffalo.

Walk down the “nose” of the ridge and you can actually feel the bumps of the loess soil formed into catsteps.

This site shows a textbook example of a lateral moraine. Rubble, piled up as the glacier receded, formed a ridge in the otherwise flat landscape. The moraine was covered with blown silt (loess) to cover the ridge with what appears to be “steps” from afar.

This high quality restored prairie shows excellent examples of lead plant, pale purple coneflower, and grey-headed coneflower. The wet marsh at the base of the lateral moraine and the stream running through the property on the west side provide suitable sites for rushes and cattails. Hunting is allowed on this site.

Pheasants and Gray Partridge can be found here along with a variety of songbirds such as Western Meadowlarks and Eastern Bluebirds.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Jay Berwanger, the first winner of the Heisman Trophy, was born in Dubuque in 1914.  In November of 1935, Berwanger received a telegram from Manhattan’s Downtown Athletic Club, informing him that he had won a trophy for being the "most valuable football player east of the Mississippi," as well as a trip for two to New York.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

(This weekly series is the final one)

Iowa Law

After the bill is signed by the Governor or is passed by the Legislature over the Governor’s veto, it is sent to the Secretary of State who is the custodian of original copies of all bills enacted into law. Bills normally go into effect July 1 following their approval, unless another date is specified in the bill. Bills passed by the Legislature before July but signed by the Governor after July 1 become effective August 15.

The enacted bills are then printed in the Acts of the General Assembly, published after each legislative session. The portions of the enacted bills that are laws of a permanent nature are incorporated into the Iowa Code, a compilation of Iowa laws published every year in electronic format and every other year in print by the Legislative Services Agency.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

V.F.W. Monument
A red granite eternal flame burns atop this 10-foot-high white granite memorial. Installed in 1976, it was a Bicentennial gift from Iowa chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their Ladies Auxiliary to honor all Americans who fought overseas. Dedicated to the state, it was paid for through gifts from V.F.W. posts around Iowa

Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

This week Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) welcomed Jeff Ten Napel, Ross Loomans, and Rick Olesen to the Iowa House of Representatives. They were visiting the Capitol to talk to legislators during Iowa Electric Cooperatives Day on the Hill. 

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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Copyright © 2016 State Representative, John H. Wills, All rights reserved.

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