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During the fourth week of the session, the amount of information we dealt with was huge. I compare this part of the session to the first few weeks of harvest for a farmer. There is always more to do than anyone could possibly accomplish.

In the midst of this overload of information, it was a pleasure on Tuesday to be visited by the Lake Mills, Algona, North Central, and Belmond-Klemme FFA students. There are over 17,000 FFA members in Iowa and a good number of them filled the rotunda and the galleries like a blue wave. I enjoyed speaking with them about how government works and encouraged them to learn well the parliamentary procedure taught in FFA clubs. It is necessary to have rules wherever a group of people tries to work together and FFA does a great job of preparing students to lead or participate in the process.

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On Wednesday, a subcommittee considered the governor’s biofuel bill which would require E15 be made more available. While E15 is cheaper than E10 and uses more Iowa-raised corn, I am concerned we might force some small stations out of business because of the cost of installing the pumps. There is some help for the mom and pop shops, but I’m hearing conflicting opinions as to if the help is adequate.

I was on the committee that passed a bill to allow older teenagers to roll out pizza dough for an employer. Casey’s General Stores serve pizza in 15 states and only Iowa says you must be over 18 years to use the machines. This bill expands the workforce for Casey’s and gives more job opportunities to teenagers.

The Senate’s tax proposal moved forward this week and we are seeking public feedback on it. In 2018, we passed the largest tax relief in Iowa’s history and our revenue continues to increase.

Senate Study Bill 3074 establishes one individual income tax rate of 3.6 percent along with a long-term goal of eliminating personal income tax in Iowa. The state of Iowa currently has the eighth highest income tax rate in the country. A change to 3.6% would make us the fourth lowest. The bill also eliminates tax on retirement income and expands the military pay exemption to full-time National Guard members.

We dealt with a number of education bills this week. Over the last 5 years the Iowa Senate has worked to protect a parent’s interest in their child’s education. This included true open enrollment and full-time, in person education. SSB 3079, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” will establish consistent rules for the school districts to follow in choosing curriculum and books.

The Senate passed through committee this week a $150 million raise for schools. This new money is sustainable and reliable. My hope is this can go to the governor’s desk very soon.

I chaired a subcommittee for SF 2156 which deals with the reporting of vaccine injuries. All incidents within 8 weeks of a vaccination must be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The healthcare provider is not to discern if the vaccine was the cause of the adverse event. VAERS has their own protocol for causation. Surveys in the past have shown that only a small fraction of adverse events (ranging from minor to death) have been reported. SF 2156 puts federal code into Iowa Code and says that there will be a $1000 fine for each incident not reported. We cannot say we follow the science if we don’t have good data.

Author: Dennis Guth

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