Legislative Update 04/06/2017

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Quote of the Week

“If not now, when? If not us, who?”
~ Ronald Reagan

Legislative Update


The sure sign that the Iowa Legislature is winding down and the sure sign is that joint budget targets were announced yesterday..  The agreed to budget plan spends less next year than we are spending this current year.  Currently, the state is slated to spend nearly 7.26 billion dollars for the fiscal year that ends June 30 of this year.  The budget targets that were released will appropriate 7.24 billion dollars.   The bill takes a responsible and cautious approach to spending in recognition that revenue may continue to come in less than anticipated while at the same time fully repaying the money that was taken out of the reserves to offset the reduced revenue from the March Revenue Estimating Committee. 

This budget plan makes additional investments in key priorities like K-12 education and provides resources for essential functions of government.  House Republicans rejected over $1 billion in additional spending plans offered by Democrats.  Iowans can count on House Republicans to fight against reckless government spending ideas.

The budget plan includes fully funding the additional 40 million dollars that was passed earlier this session for K-12 schools.  The budget plan also includes an initial payment to repay the Cash Reserve Account in FY18 and additional payments will be made in FY19. 

Protecting the Unborn Life
This week the House passed the most substantial piece of legislation to protect the unborn in Iowa History.  The bill bans late term abortions after five months, similar to other states.  The bill does allow for exceptions in situations where the life or the health of the mother is threatened.  The bill also does NOT ban birth control, contrary to Democrats misleading claims.

The ban on late term abortions is a huge step forward.  House Republicans will continue efforts to protect life and defend the unborn. 

Legislative Health Care
This week the House Republicans sent a bill to the Governor that requires legislators to contribute more toward their health insurance premiums.  This is something the House Republicans have attempted to do for many years. 

Prior to this week, House Republicans had voted 11 times since 2009 to require legislators to contribute more toward their health insurance premiums.  Each time the House passed this, the Senate, controlled by Democrats chose to kill the bill. 

Legislators have always been following the law, contrary to false reporting by the Des Moines Register.  This trepid reporter seemed to have no problem with spreading fake news and that is wrong.  To sum it up the Des Moines Register, if you are keeping track, has had 77 editorials that attack Republicans in the last 94 days.

I am honored to represent you and Northwest Iowa in Des Moines.  I am blessed and honored to be able to do so.  I will continue to bring our NW Iowa Values to the Concrete of Des Moines.  Please feel free to contact me about your thoughts and issues that may be affecting 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.

News from Around the District

Iowa D.O.T Plans Several Road Projects In The Area For This Spring & Summer

Another season is about to get underway: road construction. The Iowa Department of Transportation website lists several projects scheduled for this spring and summer in Clay, O'Brien and Osceola counties.

In Clay county, a bridge will be replaced several miles south of Spencer on Highway 71 over Prairie Creek, about 1.4 miles north of County Road B-40. Work on that project will be getting underway soon. The project has an estimated cost of a little more than $1.5 million.

Another project in Clay county involves a pavement rehabilitation and widening project on Highway 10 from the O'Brien county line to the north junction with Highway 71. That project has an estimated cost of a little more than $5 million.

In O'Brien county, a pavement rehabilitation project is planned for Highway 18 from the west city limits of Sanborn to Highway 60. The project has an estimated cost of a little more than $6.1 million.

In Osceola county, a bridge will be replaced on Highway 60 over Wagner Creek, about two tenths of a mile north of County Road A-34. That project has an estimated cost of $788,000.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Spring Turkey Seasons

Iowa’s spring season begins April 8 with an Iowa youth only hunting season that covers two weekends and allows hunters younger than 16 when they buy the turkey license to participate.  The reason for the season is to concentrate on the development of future hunters.  They must hunt one on one with a mentor age 18 or older at all times and the mentor must have a valid turkey hunting license for one of the spring seasons. 

No more than one youth for each licensed adult mentor and the mentor may not carry a bow or firearm. An unfilled youth license may be used in any other spring season. The season ends April 16.

The first of Iowa’s four regular spring turkey seasons is April 17-20, second season is April 21-25, third season is April 26-May 2 and the fourth season is May 3-21. An archery only license is good from April 17-May 21.

Hunters may purchase two spring turkey licenses with one license for Season 4. Resident spring turkey licenses are statewide. Hunters participating in the youth only season may also purchase a Season 4 license. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Successful hunters are required to report their harvest by midnight of the day after it is tagged. The easiest way to report is to log on to Other ways to report are by calling the phone number listed on the tag or by going through a license vendor. Be sure to write the harvest registration number on the harvest report tag.  


Tour of Our District

Mini-Wakan State Park
State Park is a joint venture by the Iowa Department of Natural R

In 1933, President Roosevelt signed legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps as a means to put up to 500,000 unemployed men to work during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  To implement this plan, the Army was placed in charge of providing housing, clothing and meals for the enrollees in the CCC.  The National Park Service was to provide work sites and tasks for the young workers to complete.  These workers were to be paid $30 per month, with $25 of this pay being sent home to their families.
In 1933 and 1934 young men from towns in northwest Iowa were recruited to form Company 778 of the CCC.  In 1934 they constructed the shelter house on 12 ½ acres of land purchased by the community and established as Mini-Wakan State Park on the north shore of Big Spirit Lake.  They constructed other amenities also, including a “grade road”, a picnic and parking area, stone gate pillars and extensive rip rap along the shore of Big Spirit Lake.

Although the shelter building was used frequently in its early years, maintenance was neglected due to lack of funding and as a result, the building has deteriorated significantly over the years except for its well constructed stone walls. 

The restoration of Mini-Wakan State Park is a joint venture by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Spirit Lake Protective Association.

The new design restores the historic structure (including a kitchen area that was originally present in the building). It adds a new open picnic shelter, restrooms and a tent pad for large gatherings. The final design has been approved by the State Historic Preservation Board, DNR, Architect, and the Friends of Mini-Wakan group. 

With the DNR’s help, the shelter house was designated a priority within the State of Iowa’s Restore Iowa funding plan during the 1990’s. Unfortunately, money for the program was cut before Mini-Wakan was restored. During a public input meeting in the fall of 2007 the DNR reaffirmed the restoration of Mini-Wakan as a priority. The members of the SLPA strongly favored restoring the building rather demolishing and rebuilding it because of its historic significance. A committee was formed to develop a restoration plan for the property. The committee includes both local residents as well as representatives from the DNR.

The Mini-Wakan shelter house is now available for your event! Please call the DNR to make a reservation at: 712-337-3211.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Iowa in World War I

The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. During the years of American involvement in World War I, 114,224 men and women from Iowa served in the armed forces of the United States. Among them were 96,726 enlisted men; 4,975 officers; 611 nurses in the Army; 1,044 enlisted men and 30 officers in the Marines; 10,211 enlisted men, 525 officers, 40 nurses, and 42 yeomen in the Navy; and 20 cadets at West Point. Of the men drafted for service, 51.7 percent were farmers or farm laborers. Despite their absence from the state’s farms, Iowa’s agricultural economy boomed. War disrupted European farm production and expanded the market for American foodstuffs. In Iowa, production of food for export rose to unprecedented levels and brought extraordinary prosperity to the state’s economy. Unfortunately, this wartime demand encouraged overproduction. With the conclusion of hostilities and the reduction of European demand after 1919, Iowa farmers faced glutted commodity markets and falling prices. By 1920, they were caught in the grip of an economic depression.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

Last week Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with Rev. Michael Wolfram of Lutheran Family Services. Rev. Wolfram was visiting to talk with legislators and participate in the Pro-Life Rally held at the Capitol.
Pictured here are Rev. Michael Wolfram (Spirit Lake) and Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake).


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