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It has been a busy funnel week here in the legislature. Committees have been working to advance bills by the end of the week so the legislation is still able to be considered this session. If bills do not make it out of committee this week, they will not move forward the remainder of the legislative session. The Education Committee passed a number of bills out of committee this week, bringing the total number of bills advanced out of committee to 30. Of these 30 bills, 22 have passed with bipartisan support. Although much attention is paid on the more contentious issues, I am proud of the great bipartisan legislation that has advanced out of the Education Committee this session. As well this week I had six bills advance out of the Judiciary Committee during Thursday’s meeting.

Throughout 2021, Iowa is commemorating its 175th anniversary. Throughout the month of March, the State Historical Society of Iowa has online presentations and special events across the state. Congress established the Iowa Territory in 1838 and became a state in 1846, making 2021 Iowa’s 175th anniversary. Long before Europeans came to Iowa, the state was home to several Native American tribes: Ioway, Sioux, Saux, Fox, and Otoe. Agriculture has always been a part of Iowa’s culture, because in addition to hunting, tribes grew crops of beans and corn. Iowa has been under two national flags. The first flag was the French flag, when French explorer Robert de La Salle claimed the region for France in 1682. It wasn’t until the Louisiana purchase in 1803 that Iowa flew the American flag. Dubuque is the oldest city. Europeans established their first permanent Iowa settlement in 1778 by Julien Dubuque. Iowa fought on the Union side in the Civil War.  By the end of the war in 1865, 76,534 Iowa men had served in the Union army. In relation to its population, Iowa sent more soldiers to the Civil War than any other state. More recently, and a little known Iowa history fact, is the occurrence of the Hollander Fires in 1918 in Mahaska County where churches and schools were burned down. Iowa is ripe with history and people who have paved the way for us Iowans today.

Here are some ways you can celebrate this year:

  • Tune into the “Iowa History 101” online presentations at noon each Tuesday and Thursday (or browse the previously recorded presentations whenever you’d like) to learn about Inkpaduta, Emir Abd el-Kaer, Donna Reed and other notable names from Iowa’s past. The hour-long presentations by leading scholars and curators are free, but registration is required.
  • Visit a new exhibit called “Iowa’s People and Places,” which opens March 5 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa and explores more than 13,000 years of history with artifacts from across the state.
  • Join Goldie’s Kids Club which provides online programs and at-home activities abound for children and families who want to learn more about Iowa’s colorful past.
  • Join the Iowa History Book Club. The new statewide program offers quarterly discussions online, starting at 7 p.m. March 11.
  • Tune into an “Iowa Stories” online presentation at noon, March 17 to learn about the Cherry Sisters from Marion, whose infamous vaudeville act led to a landmark legal victory for the freedom of the press.
  • Schedule an Iowa trivia program via Zoom for your club or organization’s next meeting. Jess Rundlett, a special projects and outreach coordinator for the State Historical Museum of Iowa and a two-time All-Iowa Trivia Bee champion, would be happy to lead a 30 minute trivia for your group, free of charge.
  • Subscribe to “The Annals of Iowa,” a quarterly journal at the forefront of research about Iowa history. This flagship publication of the State Historical Society of Iowa examines the deeds, misdeeds, and accomplishments of Iowans from the past and shows how their actions fir into the larger mosaic of Iowa history.
  • Read the Iowa History blog to learn about the Meskwaki Settlement, the African-American struggle for civil rights, Hmong among refugees and much more.
  • Play Bingo by picking up a card at the State Historical Museum of Iowa or download one at home from their website for even more ways to celebrate our great state.

To see more information visit iowaculture.gov/history/IowaHistoryMonth.

With all of the legislation passed out of committee’s this week, I am looking forward to engaging in debate with my colleagues on the House Floor in the remaining weeks of this session. As always, I encourage you to visit the Capitol to see what’s going here. Please reach out to me at [email protected] with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Author: Dustin Hite