Legislative Update 4/21/16

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Quote of the Week

“We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”
~~ George Washington

Legislative Update

This week reminded me of a Frank Sinatra song that I like, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.  The lyrics of the first stanza of that song are below and many of you have heard it, I am sure.  This week, in a serious effort to get done with our legislative session and back home to our families, jobs, and whatever else it is that legislators do with their time when we are not here in Des Moines, we worked hard on budget bills and a few policy bills that are still hanging on.     

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never, ever think of counting sheep
~ Frank Sinatra

This is a much better than last year where we were five weeks over the official end to the session.  This year the session ended on Tuesday April 19th and so to finish at this point in time I am rather excited.  This week we have already sent the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget to the governor to sign and we have completed our part of Standings Budget, Health and Human Services, Justice, Economic Development, Public Safety, and Administration and Regulations budgets.  As I write this newsletter, we will are starting the process to debate Education and Transportation. 

In doing budgets this week, I was amazed by the conservative nature that we approached the issue.  Just to remind all of the principles that we in the Iowa House hold to, here are our principles:

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.  In the nearly 6 years that the House has been in Republican leadership, our budget has adhered to these principles very closely and our State has thrived. 
As I finish up this newsletter, we are just starting debate on the Education Budget and soon after that the Transportation Amendment.  We are moving steadily towards closing this years’ legislative session off and returning to our home life.  It is great to be an Iowan and I am very appreciative of the support you give me and for the ability I have to bring our Northwest Iowa Values to 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.
The new revenue estimate of $7.351 billion not only lives within the 99% expenditure limitation law, it also lives within House Republican budgeting principles.
The joint targets prove that a realistic approach to government spending is a wise path to follow.
House Republicans remain resolute in keeping spending within ongoing revenue.  We will continue to budget like Iowa families and businesses by not spending more than the state collects and not using one-time money to fund ongoing needs.  House Republicans are committed to funding priorities of Iowans’ in a responsible way.
Individual Budget Subcommittee Targets:
Administration and Regulation $ 50.8 million
Agriculture and Natural Resources $ 43.1 million
Economic Development $ 43.1 million
Education $ 1.009 billion
Health and Human Services $ 1.837 billion
Justice Systems $ 748.2 million
Standings $ 3.617 billion
TOTAL $ 7.349 billion

News from Around the District

Ariel Lift Maker in NW Iowa Expands 

Nearly a year ago, Dur-A-Lift completed an expansion that more than doubled the Northwest Iowa manufacturer’s space and put all of its operations under a single roof.

The new 26,000-square-foot plant allows Dur-A-Lift workers to install telescoping and articulating aerial lifts on as many as five or six vehicles at a time, allowing the company to keep pace with robust growth for its products.

“Dur-A-Lift has grown in terms of market share, product line and necessary production capacity,” Larry Kruse, president of Diversified Technologies Inc., the parent company for Dur-A-Lift, said in a statement prior to ground-breaking for the project. "To support this growth, we’ve been placing increasing pressure on the manufacturing capacity of Dur-A-Lift’s largest supplier, sister company Sudenga Industries. This new facility will allow us to continue Dur-A-Lift’s growth pace, while relieving pressure from an equally busy Sudenga division.”

Sudenga, the larger of the two divisions, manufactures bulk material handling and processing equipment for the ag industry, such as grain augers and conveyors and feed trucks and trailers.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Food Plots for Pheasants and Quail Provide Needed Shelter

Each winter, food plots of corn, sorghum, or other grains are used by all kinds of wildlife for survival.

A well designed food plot can provide additional shelter for pheasants, quail and other wildlife, and withstand wet heavy snows that often flatten grass habitats, like the March 23 storm that blew across north Iowa.

 “There have been few documented cases of pheasants actually starving to death in Iowa,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Virtually all of Iowa’s winter mortality is attributed to persistent snows or blizzards with the birds dying of exposure to predators or the weather.” With next winter in mind, now is the time to begin planning food plots.

So why plant food plots for pheasants if they seldom starve in winter? 

First, food plots provide winter habitat as well as food.  In fact, if properly designed and large enough, the habitat created by a food plot is much more beneficial to wildlife than the food itself.  Second, food plots allow pheasants to obtain a meal quickly thereby limiting their exposure to predators and maximizing their energy reserves. 

“If hens have good fat supplies coming out of the winter, they are more likely to nest successfully,” said Bogenschutz.  Food plots also provide habitat and food for many other species like deer, turkey, partridge, squirrels, and songbirds.

Bogenschutz offers the following suggestions for planning shelterbelts and food plots for pheasants and quail:

  • Corn provides the most reliable food source throughout the winter as it resists lodging in heavy snows. Sorghum or milo provides better winter habitat.  Pheasants prefer corn to sorghum as a food source.  Half corn and half sorghum plots make the best of both worlds - cover and food - for pheasant and quail.
  • Place food plots next to wetlands, CRP fields, and multi-row shrub-conifer shelterbelts that provide good winter habitat and away from tall deciduous trees that provide raptors with a place sit and watch food plots.
  • Size of food plots depends upon where they are placed.  If the plot is next to good winter cover the plot can be smaller but at least two acres minimum.  If winter cover is marginal, like a ditch, then plots must be larger – 5 to 10 acres – to provide cover as well as food.
  • Depending on the amount of use some food plots can be left for two years.  The weedy growth that follows in the second year provides excellent nesting, brood rearing, and winter habitat for pheasants and other upland wildlife.  Food plots that have heavy deer use generally need to be replanted every year.

Cost-share assistance or seed for food plot establishment is available from most county Pheasants Forever chapters or local co-ops.  People can also contact their local wildlife biologist for information on how to establish and design shelterbelts or food plots that benefit wildlife. More information is available at


Tour of Our District

Iowa Great Lakes Trail
The Iowa Great Lakes Trail winds its way through the Iowa Great Lakes region, which offers plenty of outdoor opportunities for visitors-from its popular blue lakes and sandy beaches to quieter natural areas, many protected with INHF assistance. The multi-use Iowa Great Lakes Trail provides local citizens and visitors a safe place to bike, walk, rollerblade, run and cross-country ski. The trail winds along rural, community and nature areas in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes Region, including Spirit Lake, Okoboji, West Okoboji, Arnolds Park, Milford and Lake Park.

The “spine” of the system is a 14-mile, ten-foot wide, hard-surface trail that accommodates two-way recreational traffic. Connecting to the spine trail are several other shorter trails to explore, including the Kenue Park Trail, Arnolds Park City Trail and Spirit Lake City trail. The trail loops around the east and west sides of Big Spirit Lake where it joins the Loon Lake Trail (Jackson County, MN) at the Mini-Wakan State Park.

View the above map here

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Iowa ranks first in the nation in grain harvested. Producing food, fuel, clothing and medicine for the world, agriculture is a leading industry in Iowa, a state with more than 100,000 farms. One Iowa farm family grows enough food and fiber to feed 279 people, one-fourth of whom live overseas.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Statue of Liberty
In 1950, the Tall Corn (now Mid-Iowa) Council of the Boy Scouts of America donated this miniature Statue of Liberty to the State of Iowa as part of their annual service project. The statue was provided by Jack Whitaker, a Kansas City businessman active in the Boy Scouts at that time

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. 

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
State Senator, David Johnson
State Treasurer
U. S. Congressman, Steve King
Senator Chuck Grassley
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