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Legislative Update 06/5/2015

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Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.  --  Ronald Reagan

Legislative Update

Friends,

 Adjournment sine die (from the Latin "without day") means "without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing".  To adjourn an assembly sine die is to adjourn it for an indefinite period. We know we will be back in Des Moines next January, but in case there are other issues in the meantime, we adjourn sine die, just in case.  Today, June 5th we adjourned sine die with what I view as a terrific session that yielded many great bills and kept our budget in check.

I am especially proud of some personal accomplishments that I was able to reach.  First, one of the first bills that I floor-managed will make it to the governor’s desk.  That bill is the Asset Verification bill which has the potential to save our state over $18 million in fraudulent Medicaid claims in the first year.  Another bill, which I proudly passed through the legislature, and has already been signed by the governor is the bill which allows for the use of yard wastes to be collected by several landfills in the state who can then generate low cost and clean energy from that yard waste for over 18,000 homes.  Finally, I have been effective at reducing government rules and intervention for small businesses by eliminating cumbersome rules for barbers, reduced onerous rules for small businesses, and reduced taxes; all the while protecting Iowans’ priorities.

For a fifth year in a row, the legislature has come together to reach a budget agreement that balances ongoing expenses with ongoing revenue. 

Iowans expect legislators to live within our means just as our families live within their means.  We have once again found common ground that moves Iowa forward with these final numbers.  Living within one’s means is something the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa do every day.  Once again because of our diligence, our government will do the same.

We passed the following bills and spending amounts, all while maintaining our spending priorities as well.

 
In previous newsletters I have stated that we had around $178 million in new money.  We upheld our priorities and held the line against spending more than the state will take in. 

It is important to note that many of the bills that were done in the State Legislature had overwhelming approval on both sides of the aisle.  The bills that made the news were the few bills that had disagreement on the house floor, and most of those were philosophical in nature. 

In the last few days we also addressed the avian bird flu epidemic by passing legislation to protect public landfills that accept the bird carcasses from lawsuits as long as they follow the rules and regulations of the departments of Natural Resources and Homeland Security.  We will continue to be in contact with Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and additional assistance if it is necessary.

In addition, in the last few days of the session we also approved a version of the Connect Every Acre broadband plan to deliver high-speed Internet to all parts of the state and there was strong bipartisan support” for the legislation to give the Iowa Board of Pharmacy more flexibility to address counterfeit drugs.

A disappointment in the session was that there was no resolution on an expansion of gun rights that passed the House on a 73-25 vote. It would have allowed parents to teach gun safety to minors with no age restriction, create a restricted access database for verification of permits, legalize suppressors for Iowa gun owners and make permits to acquire valid for five years.  The Iowa Senate refused to advance the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowans by not taking this bill up.    

In the end, as we close out the legislative session, I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in Des Moines.  I thank you for the encouragement that you have given me and the information and questions you have asked that allowed me the ability to represent you in the best way possible.  I see being your State Representative as a partnership.  One part of that partnership is me and the second part is the 30,000 Iowa citizens that I represent and so I can’t represent you effectively if I am disconnected from you.  In addition, you won’t feel represented if I am not connected to you.  So, with that, I ask your help in keeping this partnership strong by letting me know your thoughts and concerns.  

You are able to reach me many ways.  Please always feel free to call me at 712-330-9492 to talk to me directly.  Otherwise, you are welcome to contact me on Facebook by searching for WillsforIowa, my webpage at www.willsforiowa.com, or on Twitter at #willsforiowa. 

Sincerely, 

Representative John H. Wills
 

2015-16 HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET PRINCIPLES

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.
 


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State Representative, John H. Wills
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