Legislative Update 3/17/16

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Quote of the Week

“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
~~ Winston S. Churchill

Legislative Update



On Wednesday the Revenue Estimating Committee (REC) met to revise their projections for FY 2016 and FY 2017.  This meeting confirmed the House Republicans’ responsible approach to the state budget and was the last step in the process of developing the state budget for Fiscal Year 2017.  The REC has recognized that Iowa is experiencing slow and steady revenue growth, and 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.

In addition, with the passage of HF 2433, which couples our tax code with the federal, this bill returns tax money back to you, the taxpayers.  We fought long and hard to ensure the Coupling Bill was passed and you were able to spend your own money in the ways you wish.  I want to thank you for your hard work.  I asked for your help by calling the Senate, which was blocking this bill, and you responded and put the pressure on the Senate leadership. 

With the passage of these two bills, I think Supplemental State Aid will be soon to follow, as early as the beginning of next week, and soon after that our budget bills will begin to follow.  House Republicans are committed to finding a solution which provides school districts with the highest responsible increase that the state can fulfill.  This will be the sixth year in a row where schools receive an increase and the state has followed through on its commitment.  Since Republicans have been in the majority of the House, investment in education has increased by more than half a billion dollars and the number of teachers in the classrooms has grown by 809. 


We are on the path to quickly finish this session up and deliver great legislation along with conservative budgets.  I anticipate getting out of this Legislative Session on time or fairly close to the end of the regular session end date. 


Finally, I appreciate your trust in allowing me to represent you in Des Moines.  Please let me know the issues that are important to me so I can bring 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.

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.

The state is limited by the expenditure limitation law which means the state is allowed to spend $7.351 billion of taxpayer’s hard-earned money. This is an increase of $176 million compared to the budget that was approved last legislative session. That’s more than enough to meet the needs of Iowans’ priorities.

House Republicans original budget target is lower than the state’s expenditure limitation, while Senate Democrat’s target is above. House Republican’s plan will not require any cuts. Senate Democrats will likely need to make some big changes to make their spending fit within the expenditure limitation

Legislative Forums

March 19
8:00am    Eggs and Issues - Forster Community Center, 404 1st Avenue, Rock Rapids, IA
10:00am  Town Hall Meeting - Sibley Public Library, 406 9th Street, Sibley, IA  (Note new time)

Need Help With Managed Health Care?

Contact Information:
Nic Pottebaum, Governor's Office:   515-725-3505
Paige Thorson, Dept. of Human Services:  515-281-4387

Additionally, consumers may contact Iowa Medicaid Member Services at 1-800-338-8366 and providers should contact Iowa Medicaid Provider Services at 1-800-338-7909.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is managed care new in Iowa?
A: Managed care is not new in Iowa.  Since 1990, a portion of Iowa’s Medicaid population has been under managed care.
Q: How many other states have managed care?
A: 39 other states contract with managed care companies for some or all of their Medicaid
Q: Will my benefits change under managed care?
A: No.  Members will receive the same health care coverage.  A change in coverage would require passage of a state law and approval by the federal government. 

News from Around the District

State Officials Approve Permit For Dakota Access Pipeline Project

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has approved a permit for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline project to cross publicly-owned land in the state. Officials add, however, the permit is still conditional on authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.    

The permit would allow Dakota Access to construct the pipeline across the Big Sioux River Complex Wildlife Management Area in Lyon county along with borings of the line under the Big Sioux River in Lyon county, the Des Moines River in Boone county and the Mississippi River in Lee county.    

The permit lays out conditions addressing construction techniques to be used, timing of construction, environmental resource concerns and long-term maintenance to minimize potential environmental and natural resource impacts.    

A mitigation plan has also been negotiated to restore and enhance the type of habitat affected by the construction of the pipeline. The company will $400,000 to implement that plan.    

The proposed pipeline will transport crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota diagonally northwest to southeast across Iowa, to a refinery in Illinois.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Turkey Hunting in Iowa

By the early 1900's, unrestricted market hunting and drastic reductions in habitat had eliminated wild turkeys in Iowa. For many years, the thunderous gobbles of the wild turkey were absent from Iowa's woodlands and forests.

This silence was broken in 1966 when the Iowa Department of Natural Resources initiated a program to return the wild turkey to Iowa. Wild turkeys were released at several sites across the state, with the first release occurring in Lee County, Iowa. Over the past 30 years, the restoration of Iowa's wild turkey population has resulted from natural expansion from the early release sites.
Find online more information regarding hunting licenses & laws, license applications, places to hunt & shoot, harvest reporting information, left over quota licenses (available options for general quota information will be listed in left side menu) and hunter education.

YouTube Video #1: Turkey Hunting Safety (0:35)
YouTube Video #2: Turkey Hunting Safety (0:35) 

Measuring Spurs
Measure each spur in inches and report the longer of the two measurements. Spurs must be measured along the bottom curve, from where the spur protrudes from the leg to the tip of the spur. A flexible tape provides the most accurate measurement.

Scoring Your Wild Turkey
Information on measuring spurs, beards and scoring your turkey and entering your turkey into the record books can be found on the National Wild Turkey Federation's site under "How to Score Your Wild Turkey."

Shooting Hours (Spring Turkey Seasons)
Gun/Bow: 1/2hr before sunrise to sunset

2016 Spring Turkey Seasons

  Youth* Apr 9 - 17
  Season 1 Apr 18 - 21
  Season 2 Apr 22 - 26
  Season 3 Apr 27 - May 3
  Season 4 May 4 - 22
Archery Only      Apr 18 - May 22


Tour of Our District

Charles B. Reynolds Round Barn

The Charles B. Reynolds Round Barn is an historical structure located near Doon in rural Lyon County, Iowa. It was built in 1924 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999. The building is a true round barn and features white horizontal siding, a two-pitch sectional roof and an octagon louvered cupola.  The address of the barn is 2382 Harrison Ave., Doon, Iowa.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Iowa’s state flower, the wild rose, may just save your life one day. It has been around for 35 million years and has long been used in ancient medicinal treatments. Its petals and rose hips are nutrient rich in Vitamins C, E and K, all of which produce strong antioxidant effects and strengthen the immune system.

45 Things About Iowa You Probably Didn’t Know


How a Bill Becomes a Law

(This weekly series is the fourth of eight...)


After the committee completes work on the bill, the subcommittee’s chairperson usually becomes the bill’s floor manager. The floor manager’s job is to present the bill to the chamber and follow the bill's progress during debate, when members discuss and may propose amendments to the bill. Amendments are adopted by a simple majority of the Senators or Representatives voting.

When debate on a bill is finished, the bill’s title is read aloud to the chamber for the last time. This tradition of reading the bill’s number and title originates from the early days of the Legislature when bills were read in their entirety to the members since printed copies were not available for everyone. If a constitutional majority (at least 26 Senators and 51 Representatives) votes to pass the bill, it moves to the other chamber. If fewer legislators than a constitutional majority vote to pass the bill, the bill fails. Votes on bills and amendments may be reconsidered on a motion by a member who voted on the prevailing side of the issue. If the motion to reconsider is approved, a new vote is taken on the bill or amendment. If the bill is then approved by a constitutional majority vote and all motions to reconsider are cleared, it is delivered to the other chamber.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Iowa Workers' Monument

Iowa is the 38th state to create a monument to its workers. The initial originators of the idea of a Workers Monument felt strongly that the proper credit be given to the Iowa workers' strong work ethic, which contributes to making Iowa a great place to live and work. This 11-foot tall by 11-foot wide balanced square form is four interlocking arms and hands, a powerful universal image, dedicated to the energy and integrity of the Workers of Iowa. Each arm supports the other, in the same way a diverse blend of people, from many backgrounds, come together to work and create the cultural and business base of Iowa. Built of welded bronze strips, supported by a stainless steel interior armature, the sculpture combines twisting, woven, fluidity with a bundled energy that recalls muscles and nerves and their potential for movement and feeling. The open, latticed quality of the construction allows sunlight to sparkle and dance through the sculptural space, shifting constantly between the internal and external realms. Bronze's reflective depth, warm earth tones, and its aging patina have textural richness and exceptional durability.


Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

This week, Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) welcomed Lyon County REC, to the Iowa House of Representatives. Lyon County REC was visiting the Capitol to talk to legislators during REC Day on the Hill. 

Pictured here are members from the Lyon County REC and Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake).

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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