Well, the legislature is fully in session, and we are conducting the business of the state of Iowa. This session is already so different than past sessions. While at the Capitol, one of my favorite things is to meet constituents who come to the Capitol, and thus far, visitors are few and far between.
I never knew how much time meeting constituents and visitors took out of my schedule. Yet, it seems that even with a heavier committee load than normal I still have time on my hands, and that is not because things are slow at the Statehouse. This week was a busy one with committee meetings, sub-committee meetings, and finalization of the rules that will govern how the House will be run over the course of the next 100 days, or so.
I have already run several bills in sub-committee, and we had a floor debate in the House on January 20 to pass the rules that will govern how the House functions over the next two years. With all that activity it is still eerie in the Capitol with a quiet that I haven’t heard before, especially during the session. The normal hustle-bustle of activity has been replaced with hushed conversations and people moving and footsteps being heard through the halls and the rotunda.
Many people have emailed or contacted me to let me know their thoughts on the legislative session. Some are appreciative that masks are not required, and some don’t even know why the legislature is in session right now. I will tell you that regardless of your opinion on masks, being in session, or simply doing the business of the day, we have work to do in Des Moines. That work doesn’t stop for a pandemic. In fact, the workload is heavier right now as members of the House have been working with the Governor’s office to bring financial relief to businesses that were harmed due to restrictions placed by emergency proclamation.
The first round of relief will be directed at bars and restaurants that have had to bear the brunt of closures and social distancing efforts. There will be 40 million dollars available for these bars and restaurants based on the amount their business has been harmed over the course of the pandemic. This program will be administered by the IEDA through an online application that has yet to be developed. These funds will be CARES Act money and will be distributed as early as February.
In addition, the House has focused attention on Parental Choice in Education, The Life Amendment, The Freedom Amendment, and many other bills. I am proud to say that we are moving a pro-conservative agenda once again and in the next few weeks we will have ended the judicial mandate that calls abortion a right. We will also have passed a resolution calling for Iowan Citizens to vote during the next general election to add the right to own and bear arms to our State Constitution.
Despite the general quietness of the session, we have work to do for you, the taxpayers of Iowa. I am proud of the work that we have done. So far the efforts will make Iowa an even better place to raise a family, bring a business to, and a place to enjoy your life. I always have Iowa’s motto in the back of my mind to guide me through the session, “Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain.”
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you and the values of Northwest Iowa. In my opinion, while Iowa is a great place to live, Northwest Iowa is the best of the best. This is all because of the people who live there.