Legislative Update 3/02/2017

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Quote of the Week

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 
~~2nd Amendment to the US Constitution

Legislative Update


It seems like every week I am saying this…we were busy this week.  This time, though, it was Funnel Week.  The "funnel" is a legislative term that describes how to separate the issues that are felt to be important from those that are not as important.  The bills that make it through committee are “safe” for another month so they can be perfected and properly vetted.  The bills that are not “safe” fail and need to be reworked and brought back to the body in the future. 

This week, the bills that I worked on and am proud to say have advanced are bike safety, license fee increases, and workman’s compensation reform.  There are many other bills that will be brought to the House in the next few weeks that are very deserving.  Bills such as voter integrity and modernization and the new gun legislation that returns rights back to Iowans that have been steadily whittled away.  In addition, we continue to work on School Flexibility and protecting Iowan’s from dangerous synthetic drugs.
The bike safety bill that passed out of committee includes provisions that when passing a bike, motorists must move to the other lane but motorists can pass on a no passing zone when safe.  In addition, the bill requires the use of lights on the back of a bike from sunset to sunrise or periods of low visibility.  These measures will make bikers more visible and protect them from passing vehicles.

It’s been 20 years since most hunting, fishing, and fur harvester license fees have been increased.  Those fees support an 800-million-dollar industry that is associated with hunting, fishing, and trapping.  A bill that will increase those fees, moderately, has passed out of the natural resources committee and will ensure adequate funding into the future for this industry. 

Iowa’s Worker's Compensation system was designed to compensate the injured worker regardless of fault, while allowing the employer to direct the care and to get that worker healthy and back to work.  That system has eroded away significantly in the last 10 years and is out of balance.  For Iowa to remain competitive and to clarify recent court decisions and bring Iowa’s law back into balance, we need to reset this law to its original intent,  Over 200 businesses in Iowa support taking this look at our worker’s compensation law. 

Iowans should have confidence in their elections.  Measures like voter verification and election modernization give Iowans assurance that our system is fair, clean, and ensures eligible voters aren’t disenfranchised.  House Republicans have been working with Secretary of State Paul Pate on changes to Iowa’s election process, including voter verification, that make it easier to vote, harder to cheat, and ensures no one is turned away.

I often talk about what we accomplished during the week.  I think it is important to talk about what House Republicans stopped as well.  Here are a few bills that were stopped this week by House Republicans:

Forced union membership:  House File 400 would effectively repeal Iowa’s Right-to-Work law by requiring non-union workers to pay union dues.

Banning guns:  House Files 157 and 398 would make common self-defense, hunting, and sporting weapons like handguns, rifles, and shotguns illegal.

Doctor shopping:  House File 97 would increase the cost of doing business in Iowa.  It would allow injured employees to visit multiple doctors, paid for by an employer, which would allow attorneys to exploit the system and reap the most beneficial award possible at the employer’s expense.

Stripping employer rights:  House File 192 would ban employers from reviewing the criminal records of prospective employees.

Banning immigration enforcement:  House File 479 bans the state and local governments from assisting federal authorities with immigration enforcement, shielding potentially dangerous criminals from prosecution.

As always, I appreciate serving you, House District 1, and will continue to bring our NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines.  Please let me know your thoughts and concerns.  I serve to ensure your voice is heard.  Additionally, we just found out that Iowa has been ranked as the 6th best run state in the nation per U.S. News.  The report and justification can be found here:

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


DATE: Monday, 03/06/2017 / TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: RM 103, Sup. Ct. Chamber
SUBJECT: HF 484 A bill for an act providing for the creation of regional water authorities
and regional water authority boards to assume the powers, duties, assets, and
liabilities of certain water utilities, and including effective date provisions.
BY: Agriculture

DATE:  Monday, 03/06/2017 / TIME: 5:00 PM
PLACE: RM 103, Sup. Ct. Chamber
SUBJECT: HF 295 A bill for an act prohibiting counties and cities from establishing certain
regulations relating to employment matters and the sale or marketing of consumer
merchandise, providing for properly related matters, and including effective date
provisions. (Formerly HSB 92.)
BY: Local Government

DATE: Monday, 03/06/2017 / TIME: 7:00 PM
PLACE: RM 103, Sup. Ct. Chamber
SUBJECT: HSB 93 A bill for an act relating to the conduct and administration of elections,
including voter registration, absentee voting, voter identity verification, signature
verification, polling place prohibitions, commissioner certifications, and postelection
audits, creating an electronic poll book revolving loan fund, making a
related appropriation, and including penalties and applicability provisions.
BY: State Government

March 11 -- 
9:00am - Eggs & Issues - Spencer City Hall, 418 2nd Avenue West, Spencer

March 11 – 11:30am – IGL 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

Northwest Iowans Appointed To Various State Boards And Commissions

A number of northwest Iowans have been appointed by Governor Terry Branstad to serve on various state boards and commissions.

Rex Jones of Spencer was appointed to the Board of Chiropractic; Craig Francisco of Storm Lake will serve on the Economic Development Authority; Brenda Perrin of Cherokee was named to the Health Facilities Council; Brian Wilson of Spencer was appointed to the Board of Medicine; and Gayle Mayer of Spirit Lake will serve on the Board of Pharmacy.

The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

The terms are to begin this coming May 1st.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

Cool things you should know about Cooper's hawks

Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) are one of Iowa’s three accipiter species. (Accipiter is Latin for hawk and these species are primarily woodland raptors.) The Cooper’s hawk primarily dines on other birds. It’s the most widespread accipiter on the continent, with a range at least seasonally stretching from Panama to the southern tier of Canadian provinces.

How to tell a Cooper's hawk from a sharp-shinned and other cool things about Cooper's hawks | Iowa DNR

Body Double

Cooper’s hawks are nearly identical to sharp-shinned hawks. Even experienced birders waffle on identifying them at a glance. Adults of both are primarily blue-gray from the back with rufous barring underneath and red eyes. In flight, Cooper’s tails are more rounded than sharpshinned hawks, and Cooper’s hawks’ heads appear larger.

When perched, look for the Cooper’s blocky head, or the dark beret-type marking on their heads—they have a lighter section at the nape of their necks that sharp-shinneds lack.Juveniles of both have similar plumage patterns, but Cooper’s belly markings are darker and their tails are more barred.

Aerial Ambush
To catch small- to medium-sized birds, Cooper’s hawks perch and wait or prowl forest edges. Relatively long tails and short wings allow them to dodge tree trunks and limbs during chase, but careening through forests at nearly 60 mph is risky business. A study of 300-plus hawk skeletons, found 23 percent with healed chest fractures, presumably from flying into trees.

Compression Kill
Cooper’s hawks can’t dispatch prey quickly because they lack a beak notch, or tomial tooth, to separate prey’s vertebrae. Instead, they squeeze prey in their sharp talons, or hold prey underwater until it drowns. They eat about 12 percent of their weight daily to sustain their high metabolic demands. Preferring meals of pigeons, robins, doves and jays, they also small rodents like chipmunks—even amphibians, fish or small reptiles. They frequent bird feeders for an easy catch and will chase ground-dwelling mammals on foot. Adapting well to urban life, they dart between buildings to take pigeons and doves. (Nestlings can contract parasitic diseases from too much dove in their diet.)

Early Trials Against Mortality
After hatching, nestlings face the most perilous year of their life. Despite seven weeks of parental care, they may be eaten by a variety of predators (including other Cooper’s hawks). They may fall from the nest or starve to death if they cannot quickly learn to fend for themselves. Like many raptors, 70 to 80 percent perish before reaching adulthood and sexual maturity at 2 years old.

Luck Be a Lady
Males have a dangerous breeding season as approaching a female could get them eaten. (Females are a third larger than males.) To attract a mate, males display submissive behavior—flying in large, slow arcs until his love interest calls out reassurance before coming closer. Males construct a 2-foot wide, 8-inch deep nest. The pair are monogamous for the season. Females lay two to six eggs and spend 30 days incubating as the male hunts. 

No DDT for Me
Numbers plummeted in the mid-1900s due to DDT. This toxic pesticide caused abnormally thin egg shells—likely to break under the weight of incubating females.


Tour of Our District

Gitchie Manitou State Preserve (Iowa)

Gitchie Manitou is a small (91 acre) nature preserve in Lyon County.  In 1916, the state of Iowa purchased the first 47.5 acres for use as a quarry, but later transferred the area to the Board of Conservation.The area was initially classified as a state park, and later a "preserve." It was formally dedicated as a geological, archaeological, historical, and biological preserve in 1969. The preserve was named for the creator spirit in Anishinaabe Indian tradition, Gichi-Manidoo (literally "Great Spirit" or "Great Force of Nature").  Sioux quartzite 1.2 billion years old protrudes from the earth.  The smooth, pink-colored bedrock is the oldest exposed rock in the state.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

A total of 6.3% of the Iowa population is less than 5 years old and 23.4% are less than 18 years old. A total of 15.8% of the Iowa population is 65 years or older

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

Last week Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with students who shadowed the Iowa House of Representatives Legislative Pages for the day. The students were visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators and learn about the legislative page opportunities available at the Capitol.

Pictured here are Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake), Sunny Duffney (Spirit Lake), and Tessa Reed (Spirit Lake).

Last week Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with members of the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The group was visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators about dieticians and nutritionists.
Pictured here are Melissa McLaughlin (Newton), Brooke Hershberger (Iowa City), Hannah Klotz (Iowa City), Katie Berns (Iowa City), Hannah Steenblock (Ames), Tina Bauermeister (Spirit Lake), and Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake).

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met this week with representatives from Iowa Lakes Community College during Community College Day on the Hill.

This week Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with representatives of Northwest Iowa Community College. The group was visiting the Capitol to talk with legislators as a part of the Community College Day on the Hill.
Pictured here are Jan Snyder (Sanborn), Larry Hoekstra (Hull), Alethea Stubbe (Sheldon), Adam Besaw (Sheldon), Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake), and Kristi Landis (George).


Quick Links

State Representative, John H. Wills
Governor, Terry Branstad
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Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey
Secretary of State, Paul Pate
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
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