Legislative Update 2/2/17

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Quote of the Week

A system of education is not one thing, nor does it have a single definite object, nor is it a mere matter of schools. Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.
~W. E. B. Du Bois

Legislative Update


It has been a busy week down in Des Moines.  First, we have approved a little over 117 million in budget reductions to offset the deficit we had in our budget because revenues didn’t come in as predicted.  Next, we immediately started to work on State Supplemental Aid (SSA) to schools.  SSA is the amount of revenue increase that each school receives from the state.  Finally, we started looking ahead to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget year, which starts in July of 2017.
House Republicans were thoughtful in our decisions on where to take 117 million dollars out of the current year’s budget.  Instead of across the board cuts, as has been done in the past, we made targeted cuts that protected the priorities of Iowans.  The other party did fight the reductions but offered no real solutions to resolve the shortfall, that by law must be resolved.   These reductions were difficult for House Republicans; however, they were necessary to ensure the state lives within its means and ends the year with a balanced budget.  We look at our state’s budget just like you, the taxpayer, look at your family’s budget balanced and reasonable.

Investing in K-12 education has and will continue to be a House Republican priority.  House Republicans remain on track to set the SSA to schools within the first 30 days of session, despite some maneuvering to cause delays in accomplishing this goal.  Over the last six years House Republicans have increased investment in K-12 education by 640 million dollars. 

House Republicans are proposing to spend an additional 40 million dollars next fiscal year on K-12 education.  This equates to about 78 dollars per student and will bring the total state investment in K-12 education to 3.237 billion dollars annually. 

House Republicans believe this conversation should be broader than just the annual discussion of how much more money we commit to schools.  We should be focusing on policies that are targeted at improving the educational environment for Iowa’s students.  House Republicans will be working this session to provide more flexibility and more local control. 

Another issue likely to get discussion this year is collective bargaining for public workers.  The original law was passed in 1974 and has remained relatively unchanged since. Iowans, who fund any collective bargaining contracts with their tax dollars, deserve a fair and equitable system in place that works for public employers, public employee’s, and taxpayers.  A fresh examination of Iowa’s collective bargaining law will allow for flexibility and choice into the process for both management and employees.
Looking at the budget for FY2018 we have determined the maximum level of spending will total 7.455 billion, an increase of about $200 million dollars.  With revenue projections being very unpredictable over the last several years, a conservative approach to the budget is necessary.  Current law allows the Legislature to spend 99% of available revenue; however, House Republicans will look to spend less than the allowed ceiling if revenue projects are inaccurate again. 

I appreciate the ability to represent you and bring our NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines.  Please let me know if you have issues or thoughts.

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.

2017 Legislative Forums

February 4 – 8:00am – Eggs & Issues – Forster Community Center, 404 Main St., Rock Rapids
February 4 – 10:30am – Eggs & Issues – Ocheyedan Senior Center, 845 Main St., Ocheyedan
February 18 – 9:00am – Eggs & Issues – Spencer Chamber, 1805 Highway Blvd., Spencer
February 18 – 11:00am – ILG Forum – Pearson Lake Art Center, 2201 US-71, Okoboji
February 25 – 8:00am – Eggs & Issues – Forster Community Center, 404 Main St, Rock Rapids
February 25 – 10:30am – Eggs & Issues – Sibley Library, 406 9th Street, Sibley
March 11 – 11:30am – ILG Forum – Spirit Lake City Council Chamber, 1803 Hill Ave., Spirit Lake
March 25 – 8:00am – Eggs & Issues – Forster Community Center, 404 Main St, Rock Rapids

News from Around the District

Car Drop Contest Underway Once Again

If you were out and about over Winter Games Weekend chances are you noticed the car is back out on the ice on Smith's Bay. It's all a part of the Iowa Great Lakes Rotary Club's annual car drop contest. Club spokesman Dan Carson says you can buy a ticket to guess what time the car will drop into the lake once the ice melts. He says proceeds go to various community programs the Rotary Club helps support. 

"It all goes back to the community and helping people internationally. Rotary, we're all over the world and our biggest claim to fame is we all but eradicated polio throughout the world. But a lot of this goes to private grants as well as community functions."

Club member Paula Zenor says the person that guesses the closest time as to when the car actually goes through the ice will be the winner of some serious cash.

"Tickets are $10 a piece but you can win $1,000 if you guess the correct time. The time will be either AM or PM. On your ticket there will be a time listed and so it's both AM or PM. You never know. Each year it's different. Last year I believe the car went in about 12:15. So every year is different though."

A specially rigged timer that's in the car will mark the time the car succumbs to the lake.

Tickets are available from any Iowa Great Lakes Rotary Club member, as well as several lakes area businesses.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources



Tour of Our District


A town in the north central part of section 18, Milford Township. The post office was established in 1869. On the coming of the nearby railroad in 1882 the town of North Milford (the name later changed to Milford) was established three-fourths of a mile to the northwest, which caused abandonment of the original town.  Since 1910, businesses have taken advantage of the huge amounts of gravel that is under and surrounds Milford, and was first mined by the Milwaukee Railroad. 

State of Iowa Fun Fact

When it comes to civil rights, Iowa has always been ahead of the curve. Married women received property rights in 1851, and in 1869, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that women should be allowed to practice law, making Iowan Arabella Mansfield the first female lawyer in the U.S. The state was also way ahead on school desegregationThe Iowa Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” schools were unlawful back in 1868, 85 years before Brown v. Board of Education decided the same thing on a federal level in 1954.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

This week Rep. John Wills (R- Spirit Lake) visited with Rebecca Peters during the Tourism Showcase held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  Pictured here is Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake) and Rebecca Peters.

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) and Sen. David Johnson (I-Ocheyedan) met with members of the Spirit Lake FFA Chapter. The group was visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators as a part of the Iowa FFA Legislative Symposium.  Pictured here are Spirit Lake FFA members alongside Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake) and Sen. David Johnson (Ocheyedan).

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with members of the Central Lyon FFA Chapter. The group was visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators as a part of the Iowa FFA Legislative Symposium.  Pictured here are Central Lyon FFA members alongside Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake) .

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) and Sen. David Johnson (I-Ocheyedan) met with members of the West Lyon Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). The group was visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators to kickoff National CTE Month.  Pictured here are West Lyon FCCLA members alongside Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake) and Sen. David Johnson (Ocheyedan).


Quick Links

State Representative, John H. Wills
Governor, Terry Branstad
Iowa Legislature
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Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey
Secretary of State, Paul Pate
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
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State Treasurer
U. S. Congressman, Steve King
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