Legislative Update 1/26/17

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Quote of the Week

The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations.
Jacob Lew

Legislative Update


This week we made tremendous progress by reaching an agreement on FY17 budget reductions.  Working off the Governor’s initial proposal that held K-12 education harmless from any cuts, House Republicans worked to protect K-12 funding and soften cuts to key priorities like public safety and community colleges. 


Now that the reduction is almost in the rear view mirror, so to speak, we can look forward to the policies and future budgets.  We have already agreed to a maximum level of spending of 7.455 billion dollars which already includes 25 million in cuts.  Further cuts will be found this session and movement toward meaningful tax reform is planned. 

With revenue projections being very unpredictable, as they were this year and several of the past years, House Republicans plan to use a conservative approach to budgeting this year.  We will look to spending less than the 7.455 billion dollars that we are allowed to spend so we aren’t met with this reduction in budget again next year, pending an incorrect Revenue Estimate. 

School Funding

It is important to note that we will have school funding complete as early as next week.  We will increase education funding, once again this year and are looking for an increase right around 40 million dollars, which , considering our budget is significant and shows the commitment House Republicans have for Iowa’s schools.  In addition, we should have the school budget completed before February 9th which is what our state allows for us to complete that budget. 

In a recent press release on the Annual Condition of Education in Iowa, we see that Iowa’s teacher salaries have climbed this year from 25th nationwide to 23rd nationwide under the leadership of the Iowa House.  Iowa remained the same in teachers pay in the Midwest states at 6th out of the 12 states.  With K-12 funding nearly 3.2 billion dollars education spending accounts for 43 percent of Iowa’s budget. 

Modernizing Chapter 20

Iowa’s law on collective bargaining for public workers, known as Chapter 20, has not had a thoughtful review in nearly 40 years.  All government programs need to be reviewed from time to time to ensure they are doing what they were intended to do.  House Republicans believe that now is the time to take a look at the law to ensure it is a fair and equitable process for public employees, and taxpayers. 

Tax Coupling

Last session House Republicans championed tax coupling legislation and fought for weeks to ensure its passage.  Had we not done that, thousands of Iowa taxpayers would have faced an unexpected tax bill. 
House Republicans made it clear through the entire process that this was a one year deal and to plan accordingly. 

Unfortunately, at a time when we’re making budget reductions of more than 100 million, the state isn’t in the financial position to be able to couple for tax year 2016. 
Going forward, House Republicans will continue to look for ways to leave more money in the pockets of Iowa’s hardworking taxpayers.  This conversation could include coupling or broader tax reforms that make Iowa’s tax code simpler, fairer, and more competitive. 

Finally, I would like to invite you all to the Capitol as well as invite you to contact me with issues and your thoughts.  Together we will bring our NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines and together we will make Iowa a great place for people to move to and for our kids to stay.   

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

Winter Storm Dumps Upwards of a Foot of Snow in Some Places with Nearly 10 Inches in the Iowa Great Lakes

Wed 1-25-2017

It's going to be a slow go today for anyone traveling in the area. Roads are 100 percent snow compacted and ice covered this (Wed.) morning after a winter storm dumped nearly 10 inches of snow, 9.5" to be exact, in the Iowa Great Lakes. Some places received even more, with Ruthven reporting a foot.

Travel is being discouraged until conditions improve.

Some ground drifting is also being reported in open areas, with a north wind of 15 to 30 mph whipping around the fresh snow cover.

Most of the snow fell in a relatively short period of time between about 4:30 pm and 9:30 pm Tuesday. Snowfall rates were occasionally in excess of two inches per hour.

Light snow is expected to continue periodically through the day today (Wed.) with another 1 to 2 inches of accumulation.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Dickinson County Snowhawks Remind Riders About Permits & Events During Winter Games

The Dickinson County Snowhawks are reminding riders about permit requirements and upcoming events during the University of Okoboji Winter Games.  

The Dickinson County Snowhawks Snowmobile Club is reminding riders to have their current user permits in place.

Public Relations Director Jantina Carney explains.  "If they plan on using a snowmobile here in the Iowa Great Lakes for Winter Games weekend, they need to have a current registration, whether they're in-state or out-of-state.  Another big thing is a trail permit.  The State of Iowa requires that if you're going to use a designated trail and/or our lakes, you need to purchase a trail permit.  They're $17.50, that's a pretty cheap investment when the find can run up $170.00 plus.  That is one thing that our DNR really looks at when you're out using our trails, is a current registration and an Iowa Trail Permit."

She adds that, depending on snow conditions, the Club hopes to hold its youth demo ride on Saturday.  "Youth ages 6-12 can come out to the new Polaris Okoboji Motorsports store on Highway 71, and we'll have 120sfor the kids to demo.  It's free.  We provide helmets and have people along the track to help them navigate through, and it's just a great way to introduce young kids to the sport of snowmobiling."

Youth Demo Ride to be held on Saturday, January 28 from 10-noon at Okoboji Indian Motorcycles 4105 Highway 71 South (Hwy 71 & 41st St), Spirit Lake, Iowa (weather permitting).

The Club also hopes to hold a fun run during Winter Games.

For details on DC Snowhawks, click here.

For facebook updates on events click here.

For Iowa DNR requirements click here.

User permits are available where hunting/fishing licenses are sold.

Questions? email


Tour of Our District


Allendorf was founded in 1895, possibly named after a town named Allendorf in Germany; the town was originally named Oliver.  It is located on Highway 59, five miles east of Sibley, and adjacent to the Johnson Wilderness Area.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Twenty-Seventh Iowa General Assembly

The 27th General Assembly convened for 82 days from January 10 to April 1, 1898. Governor Francis Drake was at the end of his term, and Governor Leslie Shaw was inaugurated January 13, 1898. He was 49 years old. There were 50 members in the Senate: 11 Democrats and 39 Republicans. Lieutenant Governor James Milliman presided over the Senate. There were 100 members in the House of Representatives: 31 Democrats, 62 Republicans, four Silver Republicans, and three Populist members. James Funk was Speaker of the House. Iowa’s population had grown to 2,231,853, according to the 1900 federal census.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

168th Infantry Photo and Iowa's First Ladies Doll Collection

Hanging on the east side of the south corridor is one of the world’s largest reproduction photographs of the time. The photograph was taken by W. T. Showers of the 168th Infantry. It measures 26 feet long and 6 feet high and pictures Iowa soldiers of the 42nd Rainbow Division, 168th Infantry, after the division’s return from France in 1919. A collection of dolls depicting Iowa’s first ladies in their inaugural gowns is displayed near the Governor’s Office. The idea for the dolls was suggested by Governor Robert Ray’s wife, First Lady Billie Ray, as a project to celebrate America’s bicentennial in 1976. The dolls are porcelain and the faces are created from a profile of Mrs. Ray.


Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

Wills Welcomes President Iowa Association of School Boards
This week Rep. John Wills (R- Spirit Lake) met with Amy Jurrens, President of the Iowa Association of School Boards.  Jurrens was visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators about the Association’s priorities this session.
Pictured here is Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake)and Amy Jurrens (George).


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
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