Legislative Update 1/12/17

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Quote of the Week

"Humans love truth and justice, and rejoice in ceremonies that honor those qualities. For that sentiment we should indeed thank God."
~Alfred Day Hershey

Legislative Update


The 87th General Assembly of Iowa has begun and it has been a busy week.  We have already looked at big opportunities to bring our NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines.  The focus of the week is to reduce the current year’s budget due to a sluggish agricultural economy.  Our farmers have been faced with commodity prices below the cost of production, which is having a ripple effect in other industries within the state.  This will require reductions to the current budget to adjust this.  It is important to realize that our economy is growing but not at the rate in which it was estimated to grow last year.
 We cannot move on to any other issue until this is resolved and as always, the first week of Session is full of pomp and circumstances with legislators being sworn in, the Governor’s address, and the Chief Justice’s address.  With that said, though, we have not been idle.  As our Speaker, Linda Upmeyer eloquently stated in her opening remarks to the legislature that the recent elections are driven by unrest.  To quote Speaker Upmeyer she said, “Too many feel unheard, unrepresented, or have lost faith in their government’s ability to address their priorities.  They see things like: 
  • A tax code that grows more complex each year and whose benefits seem designed for a select few.
  • Bureaucracies and policies based more on tradition and protectionism rather than common sense.
  • Budgets and spending decisions that lack the discipline Iowa’s families and businesses must use.”
Well, we have started the process to making your voices heard.  As in past years, House Republicans will approach our job in a thoughtful way.  That means that we will keep our promise to K-12 Education, do no across the board cuts, and find efficiencies and duplication. 

This year, like last year, there are those who are claiming that the sky is falling and are suggesting that the legislature plug the shortfall with emergency reserve funds.   Let me assure you, the sky is not falling and we are not in a state of emergency.  The state is experiencing revenue growth and now is NOT the time to use the Economic Emergency or Cash Reserve funds to balance the budget. 

House Republicans are committed to funding the priorities of Iowans in a thoughtful and responsible way.  Some things that we will work on in the upcoming months that you have asked for include:
  • Flexibility for schools:  Providing flexibility to locally elected school boards by loosening restrictions and allow more local decision making.
  • Water Quality:  We will continue to work on solutions that support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and clean up our water resources, which in turn protects our citizens’ health.
  • An Environment for Growth:  Even with tight revenues, we in the House Republican Caucus believe there’s never a bad time to review Iowa’s complex tax code and simplify it.  We will also look at burdensome regulations and ensure entrepreneurs in the state have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy profit and growth. 
It is a new day in Iowa and I am excited for our future. Iowa has not seen its best days.  Our state will become one that our children’s children will be proud of and want to stay here.  I wish to thank you for the honor and privilege to sit in House District 1’s seat at the Capitol and represent you.  Together we will ensure our NW Iowa values are heard loud and clear on the concrete of Des Moines.  Together we will promote the growth of our Great State and ensure Iowans stay here, and others move here to enjoy “The Great Life”. 

Please let me know if you have issues or thoughts, I enjoy hearing from you and learning what is important to you.Sincerely,

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

January 21 – 9:00am – Eggs & Issues – Spencer Chamber, 1805 Highway Blvd., Spencer
January 21 – 11:30am – IGL Forum – Spirit Lake City Council Chamber, 1803 Hill Ave., Spirit Lake
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

Milford to kick off Quasquicentennial with Birthday Party January 12


The City of Milford will hold a celebration for the 125th anniversary of the founding of the town on Thursday evening, January 12.

Chairperson Carrie Funk with the Milford Commercial Club says, the event will kick off with a social hour.  "We're really super excited for this event.  We thought a good way to start off our 125 year celebration would be to kick it off by having a birthday party.  We'll be serving 300 cupcakes, and then we're also going to start off our kick off to the 'Brothers of the Brush & Sisters of the Swish' registration, so we're hoping to get people in the doors and get signed up for that fun part of the celebration coming up.   And then, anybody who's interested in purchasing any of the 125th Quasquicentennial birthday souvenirs, they can purchase them at that time also."

She adds special guests are on the program at 6 pm.  "We'll have the Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman and Iowa Representative Megan Jones.  We'll also have a guest speaker, we'll kind of keep that under the down low, and we'll have a speech from our former Mayor Don Lamm, and our current mayor Bill Reinsbach.  The we'll be announcing the Okoboji 7th Grade Winner and runner-up of the If I Mayor essay contest."

 Milford's Birthday Celebration will be held at Okoboji High School from 5-7 Thursday evening and is free and open to the public.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Hunting seasons starting to close

Iowa’s pheasant, late muzzleloader and archery deer, and archery fall turkey seasons closed on Jan. 10.  Furbearer seasons, squirrel, quail, partridge and grouse remain open until Jan. 31.

Rabbit season is open until Feb. 28. Crow season is Jan. 14 to March 31. Beaver trapping season closes on April 15.

For waterfowl, the north zone Canada goose season closes on Jan. 4, and the light goose season closes on Jan. 13. For the south zone and Missouri River zone, the Canada goose season closes Jan. 18 and the light goose season closes Jan. 27.

The light goose conservation order season is open Jan. 28 to April 15 statewide; additional regulations apply.


Tour of Our District

Pearson Lake Art Center

Whether you’re a weekend visitor to the Iowa Great Lakes Region or a long time resident, discover how you can experience all that your art center has to offer. The variety of opportunities at the Pearson Lakes Art Center guarantees a place for you to enjoy, grow, learn and create. The Pearson Lakes Art Center houses six galleries, a performing arts theatre, an interactive gallery, classrooms, pottery room, library, events hall and gift shop. Plus, visiting the Pearson Lakes Art Center is FREE every day! We welcome you to enjoy a live performance, explore world class art or take a class and create. It’s here and waiting just for you. Come and see why our members call the Pearson Lakes Art Center “simply the best!” No entry fee.  Located at: 2201 HWY 71, Okoboji, IA 51355

State of Iowa Fun Fact

Seventh Iowa General Assembly

The Seventh General Assembly convened for 72 days from January 11 to March 23, 1858. The Seventh General Assembly was the first to meet in the new Brick Capitol in Des Moines and the first to meet under the new Iowa Constitution adopted in 1857. Governor James Grimes was at the end of his term, and Governor Ralph P. Lowe was inaugurated January 14, 1858. He was 52 years old.

There were 36 members in the Senate: 14 Democrats and 22 Republicans. Oran Faville was elected Lieutenant Governor presiding over the Senate. The 1857 Constitution established the office of Lieutenant Governor.

The House of Representatives had 42 Republican members and 30 Democratic members—a total of 72 Representatives. Stephen B. Shelledy was elected Speaker of the House.

Iowa’s population had grown from 192,214 in 1850 to 674,913 in 1860, according to the 1860 census.

The Seventh General Assembly was responsible for adapting Iowa laws to the new Constitution. The new Constitution authorized the General Assembly to establish a State Bank with branches.

It also created a Board of Education and fixed the Capital permanently at Des Moines.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol


Eight lunettes, or half-moon-shaped paintings, surrounding the rotunda are the work of Kenyon Cox, a famous 19th century American artist. The lunettes represent Hunting, Herding, Agriculture, the Forge, Commerce, Education, Science, and the Arts. They represent the progress of civilization. Twelve statues, high within the rotunda, beginning north of the library door, represent History, Science, Law, Fame, Literature, Industry, Peace, Commerce, Agriculture, Victory, Truth, and Progress. Seraphin Cottin created these statues in 1885


Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

In this picture Representative John H. Wills is visiting with the new UNI President Mark Nook.

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) is seen here taking the oath of office in the Iowa House chamber as the 87th General Assembly kicked off Monday at the Capitol.  During the session, Wills can be reached at or through the House switchboard at (515) 281-3221.  The swearing in ceremony of all 100 state representatives begins a week full of ceremonies, including the Condition of the State address by the Governor, and the Condition of the Judiciary address by the Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice.  A full slate of committee work begins as well, as bills begin the process it takes to get them to the House floor for full debate.

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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Copyright © 2017 State Representative, John H. Wills, All rights reserved.

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