Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
This last week was a little bit slower for voting on bills in the Iowa House, as it was the end of the second funnel week and representatives were busy with committees and subcommittees. However, on Monday we passed seven bills with two of these bills receiving a total of four votes against and passed five bills unanimously.
House Republicans have worked on the problem of the lack of child-care and passed 10 bills this session. We promoted child-care workforce, provided incentives to develop new child-care facilities, and increased provider rates to maintain existing child-care facilities. We could use your help getting these bills to Governor Reynolds’ desk as some of these bills are still alive in the Senate awaiting further action.
A very important bill passed unanimously was House File 848, which was Governor Reynold’s broadband grant program bill. This bill will promote the expansion of broadband where needed, especially in rural areas that are very much behind in this technology, known as a “broadband desert”.
Broadband coverage to rural areas will be a huge help to farmers with a variety of issues, such as application of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. According to https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/case-for-rural-broadband.pdf, there has been research showing many fields are over-fertilized, which said that can result in a 15 to 20% yield loss.
Healthcare for people will also improve from increasing broadband coverage with telehealth expanding. The Covid-19 pandemic and the increased remote working have demonstrated the need for more broadband. Getting broadband to the rural areas will increase job possibilities, income, and improve quality of life, making Iowa even better!
The Governor is still hopeful the legislature will pass the Biofuel bill, HF 185 to increase the usage of ethanol in our vehicles by setting a 10% standard for ethanol and increasing the availability of the 15% ethanol blend. If this bill passes, there will still be non-ethanol gas sold at gas stations for classic vehicles, motorcycles, small engines such as lawn mowers, etc. Iowa is the nation’s leader in biofuel production, and if signed into law, it will help Iowa’s farmers. Minnesota (since 1997) and Missouri (since 2008) have this similar law. According to last year’s figures from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, biodiesel added $1.09 per bushel benefit for soybean farmers, and $1.20 per bushel benefit for corn growers. This bill is still under consideration.
I hope you had a wonderful Easter, and please be safe and healthy out there!