State Rep. Steve Holt (R-Crawford) discussed many of his legislative priorities. We covered the big ones with main stories but also wanted to share information on a couple more.
There’s been much discussion already about raising the sales tax to fulfill IWILL. Holt said he will only support that if it results in an overall tax reduction.
“I will not support a tax increase of if it creates new government programs,” Holt said. “If it’s used to offset income taxes or reduce property taxes, something of that kind that is actually a reduction, then I would certainly take a hard look at it as long as we redo the formula. Right now the formula needs to be more weighted to water quality.”
Finally, after passing a hemp bill in Iowa last year, Holt said the legislature inadvertently did not put anything in the law to make smokable hemp illegal.
“Nobody seemed to know about this issue,” Holt said. “It’s begun to pop up in other states. People are using a hemp defense. Hemp looks, smells and acts like marijuana and requires even more sophisticated testing to determine if it’s marijuana. So there are kids standing on the street corner smoking pot, the police go to arrest them, and they say they’re not smoking pot, they’re smoking hemp.
“A crime lab that is already behind and undermanned gets crammed with hundreds of tests for whether something is hemp or not. They have to buy different equipment to make a determination. If we don’t outlaw smokable hemp, it will make our marijuana laws unenforceable. That’s something we need to get done this year.”