Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
The numbers of Covid-19 positive cases continue to fall in Iowa to under a third of the peak in mid-November, and only ONE death from Feb. 15th to 21st at the time of this writing. This is fantastic news, even though we’re still under winter conditions and most people are inside basically all the time. We can and will get through this and hopefully return as close as possible to pre-covid times.
This last week we passed 40 bills, of which 25 were passed unanimously and another 13 with bipartisan support. One of the important ones was House File 532, which was School Supplemental Aid. This appropriates an additional $30 million from the state general fund help schools that is based on the percentage of students that had in-person learning. This is to help schools because of the additional costs of in-person learning due to the pandemic.
We also passed House File 468, which requires at least 75% of students accepted to the University of Iowa College of Medicine or Dental School to be either residents of Iowa or undergraduate students in Iowa. Students with Iowa ties are more likely to stay in Iowa after they finish medical or dental school. Texas lets only 10% of non-residents into their medical and dental schools, and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine admits ONLY Illinois residents.
A minor but still important bill, House File 415 was passed, which requires every public and accredited non-public school grades 1st – 12th to offer the pledge of allegiance with the U.S. flag displayed in the classroom. Parents or guardians of students can decline this if they desire.
Also passed was Senate File 230, which increases the threshold for a vehicle to be considered salvaged from 50% to 70% of the fair market value of the vehicle. It’s estimated that 29,000 fewer vehicles will be salvaged every year by this.
I would like to thank Pastor Josh Graber and family for visiting the State Capitol on February 16th. What a wonderful family! Also visiting on the 16th was David Duffy of Blairstown to talk about A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa, an organization promoting the safety of motorcyclists. Also had a great group of young people from Vinton-Shellsburg High School FFA chapter – thanks to everyone for visiting!
Please be safe and healthy out there!