Legislative Update 4/28/16

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Quote of the Week

“Life is a series of meetings and separations.”
Santosh Kalwar

Legislative Update


Its sine die!
Adjournment sine die (from the Latin "without day") means "without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing". To adjourn an assembly sine die is to adjourn it for an indefinite period. A legislative body adjourns sine die when it adjourns without appointing a day on which to appear or assemble again.
Last year, in my first year as your representative the state legislature went over five weeks longer than the session was to last.  This year, despite a great amount of optimism and early progress, we went a week and a half longer than session was to last.  That is important for two, somewhat contradictory, reasons.  First, it shows that we will not leave Des Moines with a poor plan.  Second, it shows that there are often very controversial topics that tend to open a gap where there are few ways to compromise. 
This year was a great for Iowans because we were able to put forward some very good public policy.
I have been asked why we “fight” so much in Des Moines?  Why is everything so partisan?  I really didn’t have a good answer for that until a few weeks ago when a peer here in the legislature reminded me that since 2010, every bill that has become law was a bipartisan bill.  Right now, Iowans have given us divided government, and they expect us to work together to find common ground.
Our State Senate is controlled by the Democrats and our House is controlled by the Republicans.  Because of this, no bill can ever become law and be signed by a Republican Governor without being bipartisan.  It is important to remember that when you are hearing a lot of negativity coming from Des Moines, the media, and your friends down the street. 
I recently received a lot of e-mails and phone calls condemning the Republican controlled House for shortchanging schools on funding.  My response is twofold – there is another party involved in this and it wasn’t just the Republican controlled House that made decisions.  In addition, in the 6 years the Republican's have controlled the House our school's funding has increased each year at a steady level that surpasses funding levels from previous legislative bodies.  Sadly, most of the rhetoric is just that; fodder for the media.  That is the world we live in today.  There is so much stock taken in 30 second sound bites that if one is to make an impact with those statements they have make an impact. 
This year, as we start moving into the general election season for our presidential candidates, Senate, Congressmen, State Elected officials, and even some local government seats, remember look past the 30 second sound bites and understand the issues.  As we move to Sine Die, we know that there were and there will continue to be disagreements and areas where we won’t reach agreement, but we also know we made Iowa a better place.  We will go into the indefinite adjournment to come back next year and approach the issues again and keep Iowa a great place to live, work, and raise a family.  Thank you for entrusting me with the task of representing you and our values on 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.

The 99% Expenditure Limitation Law will limit spending to $7.351 billion in FY 17.  Joint targets total $7.349 billion with $2 million left as a cushion in individual budget subcommittee negotiations.

News from Around the District

Gillnetting Operations Net 47 Pound Muskie In Big Spirit Lake

Wed 4-20-2016 Big Spirit Lake,Spirit Lake,IA

(Orleans)-- Gillnetting operations on the Iowa Great Lakes typically result in some pretty big fish, but this year there was one muskellunge in particular that stood out. Kim Hawkins, hatchery biologist with the the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery tells KUOO news they snagged a large Muskie.      

Meanwhile, Hawkins says the gillnetting operations, which are winding down, were very successful again this year.

Hawkins says the last of the Muskies in the hatchery will be released after this coming weekend.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Curly Leaf Pond Weed Confirmed In East Lake Okoboji

Wed 4-20-2016

Curly Leaf Pond Weed has been found in East Okoboji. Bill Maas of the East Okoboji Lakes Improvement Corporation tells KUOO news a recent check by Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has confirmed the presence of the weed in some of the same areas of East Lake Okoboji as last year. 

As a result of the discovery, Maas says an experiment involving a special piece of equipment to uproot the plant from the bottom of the lake will get underway as soon as weather permits..


Tour of Our District

Rock Rapids Gun Club

The Rock Rapids Gun Club has a long and rich history in the community. There are spring and fall trap shooting leagues and special clay events with shooters of all ages.

The club has four trap houses and a skeet range. League shooting is held on Wednesday nights. There is open shooting Sunday afternoons from 1-5:00 p.m. for trap and skeet.

Members sponsor hunter safety classes and host fund-raising events such as membership and fun nights and wild game feeds to support community activities.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Dubuque, Iowa, Iowa's Oldest City

Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city and is among the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. The first permanent settler to the area was French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque. When he arrived in 1785, the Mesquakie (Fox) Indians occupied the region which included an abundant amount of lead mines. Knowing lead’s importance to Europeans, the Mesquakie kept the locations of the mines a secret. But Julien Dubuque developed close relationships with the Mesquakie while trading fur and the Mesquakie informed him of the region’s wealth of lead deposits. Working together to mine the lead with the Mesquakie, Julien Dubuque was eventually given control of the mines, which he named the Mines of Spain ,and successfully operated until his death in 1810. On June 1, 1833, the land Julien Dubuque had worked so hard to develop was opened up for settlement by the United States Government under the Black Hawk Purchase Treaty and came to be known as the city of Dubuque when it was chartered in 1837.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Spanish-American War Trophy Cannon (Bochumer Verein Cannon)

The Spanish-American War Trophy Cannon heads the west stairway to the Capitol. This 9cm breachloading rifle, captured in 1898 at the Battle of Santiago, Cuba, was brought to Iowa in 1901 through the efforts of the Kinsman Post, Grand Army of the Republic.

It is difficult to trace the history of this cannon because the serial numbers once engraved around the lip of the cannon have worn away.

Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

In this picture you see Representative John H. Wills and Bonnie Forburger who served as his clerk for the 2016 Legislative Session.  Bonnie, kept John organized and on schedule during the busy days of the session.  Thank you Bonnie for all you did this year. 

It was my pleasure to host the Harris Lake Park Schools a few weeks ago.  The kids were bright, inquisitive, and energetic and a pleasure to have in the State Capitol. 

Each year the Pages from the Iowa House prepare boxes for the Legislators to use to pack up their belongings for the end of the Session.  This year, our pages decorated our boxes and stacked them.  They encouraged legislators to participate in their artwork and I happily participated. 

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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