Legislative Update 04/09/2015

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Quote of the Week

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

-Ronald Reagan

Legislative Update


With the finalization of the Second Funnel Week our job with legislative course of action has begun the transition from policy to budget.  Sadly, our efforts on the Supplemental State Aid have not reached fruition which inhibits our schools ability to finalize their budgets.  This issue has become a political football and there are some who are using this as fodder for next year’s election versus doing what is right for our kids and our great state. 

I am moving forward with a bright, positive and exciting step which I hope our schools will find refreshing.  I have been in contact with our Lt Governor, Kim Reynolds, and have arranged for a teleconference with the House District 1 schools to explore a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center for our schools.  I’m not exactly sure what this STEM Center will look like at this point or which of our schools will choose to participate, but this as a significant and dynamic step forward.  I will lean on the true experts to determine the best approach to an endeavor like this and I look forward to exploratory discussions in the near future. 

Iowa STEM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy. This Center will allow inspire greater interest in STEM-focused subjects and a greater overall quality STEM-education.  Students will acquire skills and abilities that puts them in the forefront of STEM-focused careers.  That’s important because facts show that STEM careers pay, on average, $10 dollars more per hour than non-STEM jobs, translating to average incomes of $58,800 versus $39,300 for all occupations.

In ending this week, the House once again tackled the Omnibus Gun Bill.  This bill will legalize suppressors, improve the renewal process and require training, allows children the ability to be taught how to handle guns and extends the time for a permit to acquire from 1 year to 5 years.  It gives Americans back freedoms that we in this nation are guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution.  This bill is supported by law enforcement, is a bipartisan effort and has the support of many gun owners state-wide.  The House voted 73-25 Wednesday in favor of this bill.  The House had voted for the changes through a previous bill earlier in the session, but the Senate failed to take it up for a vote.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not wish my parents, Lynn& Gloria Wills, congratulations on their 50th Wedding Anniversary last Monday.  It is my honor to applaud you on your golden celebration. Your completion of over 50 years of marriage is a remarkable achievement and you are a wonderful example of commitment to our family and all those around you. You are role models showing us all that two are better than one and that it is better to be a team in facing life's challenges.  I hope you enjoy many more in your lifetime together.  Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!


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

Gillnetting Operations are Underway in Iowa Great Lakes

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has started its annual gillnetting operations on the Iowa Great Lakes. Mike Hawkins, a DNR fisheries biologist tells KUOO news crews began their operations Thursday night.

Hawkins says the public is once again invited to view the operations at the state fish hatchery in Orleans.

In addition to collecting fish for breeding and stocking purposes, Hawkins says gillnetting operations also give them an opportunity to do some important research on fish populations in the Iowa Great Lakes.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Map of below normal 7-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of year.

Streamflow map key

As of April 7, 2015 State House District 1 is within the 10 to 24 percentile below normal precipitation.  Hopefully with the recent rains seen across the state we are now moving closer to normal in precipitation as we get closer to planting and the cropping season. 


Tour of Our District


What appears to be a vast hillside prairie holds unseen potential. Enter the property through the small gate and set off along the worn footpath. (Be sure to stop and sign the visitor log. It's great to see the comments of the many people who visit the area.) As you crest the hill, be prepared for a great surprise!

Geological History
This kettle was created when an isolated, partially buried pocket of ice, melted slowly in place after the main ice sheet was gone. The steep sided bowl shaped depression has no surface drainage outlet; so the water level fluctuates in response to precipitation. The Little Sioux River, to the west, flowed beneath the stagnant glacial ice along this segment of its course.

Location Description
Vegetation within the kettle grows within distinct zones reflecting the changes in water conditions from wet at the bottom to dry at the top. In periods of very wet conditions, water may actually pool in the bottom of the kettle. Most years, Iris, New Jersey Tea, Swamp Milkweed and Canada Anemone - among others (typical plants who prefer moisture), grow in the bottom of the kettle. The lower regions also provide space for frogs of all sorts and sizes! Watch them leaping out of your path or stand still and listen to their music from spring through midsummer!
Some midsummer plants on the slopes include a multitude of prairie grasses, Prairie cinquefoil, Silky aster, Lead plant and Culver's root.

State of Iowa Fun Fact


The first Europeans to visit the area were the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673. The U.S. obtained control of the area in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and during the first half of the 19th century, there was heavy fighting between white settlers and Indians. Lands were taken from the Indians after the Black Hawk War in 1832 and again in 1836 and 1837.

When Iowa became a state in 1846, its capitol was Iowa City; the more centrally located Des Moines became the new capitol in 1857. At that time, the state's present boundaries were also drawn.
Although Iowa produces a tenth of the nation's food supply, the value of Iowa's manufactured products is twice that of its agriculture. Major industries are food and associated products, non-electrical machinery, electrical equipment, printing and publishing, and fabricated products.

Iowa stands in a class by itself as an agricultural state. Its farms sell over $10 billion worth of crops and livestock annually. Iowa leads the nation in all corn, soybean, and hog marketings, and comes in third in total livestock sales. Iowa's forests produce hardwood lumber, particularly walnut, and its mineral products include cement, limestone, sand, gravel, gypsum, and coal.

Tourist attractions include the Herbert Hoover birthplace and library near West Branch; the Amana Colonies; Fort Dodge Historical Museum, Fort, and Stockade; the Iowa State Fair at Des Moines in August; and the Effigy Mounds National Monument, a prehistoric Indian burial site at Marquette.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol



This display case, located along the south hall on the first floor of the Capitol, is home to a gown display of the 43 first ladies who served throughout Iowa's history. Each doll represents an Iowa Governor's wife, and is dressed in a miniature replica of the gown fashioned for each Governor's inaugural ball.
The display was conceived by Billie Ray, wife of former Governor Robert Ray, for a Bicentennial project in 1976. Only three dolls have been added to the collection since that date. This latest addition is dressed in a miniature replica of the gown worn by Mari Culver at the Governor's inaugural ball in 2007.
Each doll's face was copied from the original, which was designed to bear a likeness to the facial features of Billie Ray.


Map of the Week

The map of the week is of the State and Government Indigent Defense Expenditures - FY 2012 document published location:
The map can be found here

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


Visitors to the Capitol

Wills Hosts University of Iowa Students

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with Hannah Walsh and Jackson Walsh from Spirit Lake at the Capitol this week. The University of Iowa students visited the Statehouse to attend Hawkeye Caucus Day on the Hill where they were able to discuss issues with legislators.

Pictured here are Jackson Walsh, Rep. Wills, and seated is Hannah Walsh.


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