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In seven years of service in the Iowa House, I have never seen such a bold agenda advanced for freedom and prosperity. There is always more to do, but these accomplishments are unmatched in any state in the nation.
Check these out:
Parental Choice in Education:
HF 229: Returning All Iowa Students to the Classroom – After months of hearing from parents who felt like their voices weren’t being heard, we got straight to work on HF 229. This bill required schools to present parents with the option of sending their children for 100% in-person learning, giving parents a choice and voice in their child’s education.
HF 813: Charter Schools – The Iowa House approved a bill to establish an additional path for the creation of charter schools and laying out specific rules and guidelines to ensure charter schools adhere to certain standards of transparency, quality, and equality of access. This bill provides more educational opportunities to students, particularly those who need it most.
HF 228: Diversity Plans – Diversity plans were one way parental choice was being inhibited in education. Schools in a handful of districts could overrule a parent’s decision to open enroll their child by citing these diversity plans. The House passed a bill to do away with these plans and allow parents and students to make the decision that fits their family.
SF 269: Properly Funding Our Schools – This session, we passed a 2.4% increase in SSA. This increases the State Cost Per Pupil amount, including the additional $10 per pupil, from $7,048 to $7,227 and increase of $179. Though many people will try and misrepresent this issue, the fact is Republicans are responsible for record-high education investments over the last decade. K-12 education funding has increased by almost a billion new dollars over the last 10 years. The last time education funding was actually cut, was when Democrats had the trifecta in 2010.
HF847: Education – In this legislation, we removed K-12 school’s authority to mandate masks because some were abusing this authority, disregarding IDPH guidance, and ignoring the pleas of parents. This must be a personal choice, not a mandate. We also established state level preemption on masks by removing the ability of cities and counties to mandate to businesses and property owners that they must require masks. The groupthink and collectivism that suggests that you must do what I want in order to protect my health is deeply disturbing and is an assault assault on fundamental freedoms.￼ Taken to the extreme, this could destroy individual liberty in our nation. If individuals believe in masks they should wear them. If individuals believe in the vaccine they should get it. They should also leave others alone to make their own decisions. ￼
Reducing the Tax Burden on Hardworking Iowans:
SF 619: Responsible Tax Cut Package – After extensive negotiations with the Iowa Senate and Governor’s Office, the House delivered a tax cut package that eases the tax burden on Iowans while maintaining the responsible, conservative budgeting principles that have gotten the state where it is today. The bill includes:
• Removal of triggers from the 2018 tax reform bill which ensures income tax cuts for all Iowans go into effect Jan. 1, 2023
• Increase eligibility for the Child Care Tax Credits from families making $45k to $90k
• Exempt COVID-19 grant money & Paycheck Protection Plan loans from state income tax
• Phase out the state inheritance tax over five years
• Increase workforce housing tax credits to $40 million for Fiscal Year 2022 and $35 million for the following years
• Phase out the mental health property tax levy over two years, with guardrails to control for quality and equality of services as well as future costs to the state
Increasing Access to Quality, Affordable Child Care:
House Republicans have been aggressive in addressing child care access this session. We know there is not one single solution to this complex issue. That’s why the House passed ten bills to address the crisis through a multipronged approach. Here are a couple of examples:
HF 302: Fixing the “Cliff Effect” – At the start of session, one of our top priorities was addressing the child care ‘cliff effect.’ Often times, families are forced to reject a pay raise because it would result in the loss of the entirety of their child care assistance. This “Cliff Effect” is holding our workforce back and forcing families to stay on government assistance. HF 302 provides an off-ramp, so that parents can grow in their career and phase off of government assistance. This incentivizes hard work and has long been a priority of mine.
HF 893: Child Care Tax Credits – Contained in the package addressing taxes, was a provision to double the income eligibility for the child care tax credit from families making $45,000 to $90,000.
More on Child Care – The Health and Human Services budget increased child care rates by $13.4 million to get the state up to 50% of the market rate survey. The Legislature also passed a bill allowing individuals providing child care in their homes to take care of 6 or fewer children, an increase from 5 or fewer. This will help increase access to quality child care in our rural areas.
Supporting Law Enforcement:
SF 342: Back the Blue – The House has been clear where we stand, and it’s with the men and women in law enforcement. We passed an expansive bill to increase protections and support for law enforcement while giving them additional tools to keep our communities safer. Highlights of the bill include:
o Providing additional privacy protections for law enforcement officers.
o Criminalizing shining a laser light into a police officer’s eyes.
o Ensuring law enforcement cannot be prevented from carrying their firearm while on duty.
o Giving officers qualified immunity. This means officers that are operating within the law and within the policies and procedures of the department will be protected from civil lawsuits. However, officers that break the law or operate outside of the department’s policies and procedures will not be protected.
o Upping penalties for violent rioting, blocking a roadway, destroying public property and harassing people in a place of public accommodation.
HF 861: Justice Systems Appropriations – In this budget, we increased funding for the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety by record amounts. Both saw the largest increase in a decade. The Department of Corrections received a $20.5 million increase in funding while the Department of Public Safety receive at $10.4 million increase. The budget also allocates $2.5 million for the new Public Safety Equipment fund. The RIIF budget allocated the same amount, bringing the Public Safety Equipment fund total to $5 million, to ensure Iowa law enforcement has the equipment they need to do their jobs as safely as possible.
Expanding Access to Quality Broadband:
HF 867: $100 Million for Broadband – The Iowa House passed the Administration and Regulation budget containing $100 million for broadband internet expansion. The Iowa House has made it a priority to not just increase broadband speeds, but make sure Iowans in “broadband deserts” get connected to broadband internet. Additionally, the House passed HF848 which set a framework for aggressively building out Iowa’s broadband infrastructure.
Strengthening Election Integrity:
SF 413: Election Integrity – Because of the actions taken by the Legislature in the past, Iowa’s election system is safe and secure and in 2020 we had record turnout. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take actions to improve it. This session we passed SF413 to continue to improve our election laws to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Highlights of the bill include:
• Updating ballot access requirements to make them more equal and standard across the state.
• Creating and strengthening election misconduct penalties.
• Shortening absentee ballot request period to 70 days (from 120) and shortens mailing period for absentee ballots to 20 days (from 29)
• Limiting drop box locations per county.
• Limiting who can deliver an absentee ballot for someone else, while keeping necessary accommodations for the disabled and the elderly.
• Prohibiting ballot harvesting, pre-filled absentee ballot request forms, and county auditors from mailing ballot requests unsolicited.
• Mandating voter registration maintenance for Secretary of State and County Auditors.
SJR 7: Freedom Amendment – Iowa is one of only 6 states that currently has no language in its Constitution that protects the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. This amendment would add that right explicitly to our Constitution. Iowans will now get the final say on this issue on the ballot in 2022.
HF 756: Firearms Omnibus Bill – Whether you live in a city or in a rural area, your right to keep in bear arms is essential and Iowa House Republicans are committed to protecting it. This bill does not eliminate background checks as many are being misled to believe. It is actually likely to increase the amount and frequency of background checks on gun purchases. Highlights of the bill include:
• Allowing law enforcement and reserve officers to carry firearms on school grounds regardless of whether or not they’re on duty.
• Allow EMTs who train and serve with a tactical team a professional permit to carry.
• Reaffirm that law-abiding Iowans don’t need to ask the government’s permission to practice their Constitutional right by eliminating the need to get a permit to carry or acquire a firearm. After a decade, Constitutional Carry!
• Expands Iowans’ access to state-approved training organizations to become trained to carry a handgun by creating a DPS database of approved organizations.
HF 621: Limited Immunity for Firearms Manufacturers – This bill reestablishes that the responsibility for heinous acts relies solely on the perpetrator of the act, not on the manufacturer of the firearm or ammunition. Manufacturers would still be held accountable for defective firearms or ammunition.
HF 889: Vaccine Passports – This bill prohibits state and local governments from issuing any ID card that identifies a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status. The bill also states that businesses that require proof of vaccination from customers, clients or others will become ineligible for state contracts or grants, while allowing exceptions for health and long-term care facilities. This legislation will help protect Iowans’ freedoms and right to privacy.
SF 619: Mental Health Telehealth Parity – The tax agreement also included language to require health insurers to reimburse for mental health services provided through telehealth at the same rate as services provided in-person. This will expand access to mental health services for all Iowans, especially those in our rural communities.
HJR 5: The Life Amendment – In 2017 the Iowa Supreme Court went far beyond its purview and declared abortion a constitutional right in Iowa. The Court’s ruling threatens any reasonable restrictions on abortion, such as restrictions on late-term abortions and taxpayer-funded abortions. We cannot allow un-elected, activist judges to re-write our Constitution.
After negotiations with the Senate, the Iowa House passed new language for a Constitutional Amendment that would return the Constitution to neutral on abortion rights. The language will need to pass next General Assembly as well, before heading to the ballot for Iowans to have the final say.
Protecting Free Speech on Campus:
HF 802: Prohibiting Gender and Race-Based Stereotyping in Training and Curriculum – This bill prohibits training or curriculum that present certain divisive concepts that rely on race or gender-based stereotypes as fact. It does not ban or limit diversity trainings, or limit the teaching of African American history, as the Democrats misled. The divisive, Marxist concepts outlined in this bill teach to label, stereotype, and demonize people based on their race, gender or sexual identity, rather than to judge people on the content of their character. We cannot fight racism with more racism.
HF 686: Education budget – We heard from countless parents demanding accountability for school boards and superintendents who have infused divisive, left-wing dogma into curricula. House Republicans took action by adding financial consequences for indoctrination instead of education and by establishing protocol for parents to be able to address their concerns and make their voices heard.
HF 744: Protecting Free Speech in Schools – After hearing from many parents and students about their experiences, it has become increasingly clear that there is a systemic problem of stifling free speech rights in our schools. A school’s role is to educate, not indoctrinate students into a certain political ideology.
o Provides additional free speech protections for students and staff in K-12 schools and college campuses.
o Prohibits faculty and staff from intentionally violating the free speech of students and allows disciplinary measures if violations occur.
o Requires free speech training at all Regent universities for students and faculty.
Promises made, promises kept. Freedom is on the March in Iowa.