Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
It seems like the weeks are going as fast as the snow with the warmer temps this week! The first funnel week has been concluded with time set aside for committees to consider bills for the House floor. Due to funnel week, the Iowa House of Representatives had debate on only March 3rd.
One bill that passed unanimously was Senate File 364, which involves the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. This one will have a direct positive effect by providing $128 million in tax relief for Iowans by exempting pandemic-related grants and unemployment benefits from state income tax.
Since the federal and state government made some painful decisions by shutting down or curtailing many businesses due to the Covid pandemic leading to job and income loss. This bill will provide more relief by exempting pandemic-related grants and unemployment benefits from state income tax. This will come from the Taxpayer Relief Fund, which currently has $90.2 million in it for FY 21. The rest of the funds will come from the ending balance. With sound economic policies by the Iowa House, Senate, and Governor Reynolds, the December meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference, the FY 21 ending balance was projected to be $443.4 million. We firmly believe taxing this pandemic relief money is not the right thing to do for Iowans.
Another bill that passed out of committee is House Study Bill 237, which will strengthen the right of free speech in schools. It’s extremely disappointing this even has to be addressed, but it does. This bill is the direct result of a dental student at the University of Iowa, who had his free speech rights violated, just because the student had conservative viewpoints. Free speech rights violations are even happening in some K-12 school districts. These socialist (at a minimum) actions of censorship and indoctrination must not stand if we value our representative Republic.
Also passing out of committee is the 2nd Amendment Omnibus Bill, HSB 254, to protect your constitutional right to keep and bear arms. This bill gets rid of needless regulations and does NOT eliminate the need for background checks. If someone intends to purchase a firearm, either a permit is needed or they must pass a federal background check. If a sale is conducted between two private individuals, the seller can be charged with a Class D felony if a firearm is sold to someone who shouldn’t possess a firearm.
This coming week we’ll be back to much more bill debate, even though it’s possible people might come down with a touch of “spring fever” due to warmer temps outside… I hope you’re able to enjoy the warmest temps of the year!