Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, April 12, 2021

Thomas Gerhold

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

This last week the Iowa House Appropriations committee passed a Justice Systems bill that includes $20.474 million in new dollars for the Department of Corrections, which is the biggest increase in over a decade. The Dept. of Corrections asked for a total budget of $392.5 million and the House increased this total to $407.7 million. Conversations between the House and the Dept. of Corrections believe this $20 million increase will retain every worker and fill many unfunded vacancies. All democrats on the committee voted no.

Also included in this Justice Systems bill is a $9.4 million increase in funding the Dept. of Public Safety, and this is the largest increase in a decade also. It includes a $2.5 million increase in the Public Safety Equipment fund, which along with the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) that allocates $2.5 million, will increase this equipment fund to $5 million! This fund will ensure the Dept. of Public Safety has the most up to date equipment and help stay on top of equipment maintenance also.

On March 23rd, two inmates at the Anamosa State Penitentiary attacked and killed two employees – a corrections officer and a nurse. This last Friday, April 9th, a former candidate for Grundy County Sheriff (just 5 months ago) was pulled over for driving while barred. He then assaulted and took the arresting officer’s weapons and eventually shot and killed an Iowa State Trooper. It’s hard to put into appropriate words what I think about the evil acts of these murderers.

These murders, the violence by some in last summer’s protests, the democrat’s votes against this bill in committee, and the dangerous platform by democrats to defund the police show exactly why we need to back the blue. One of the main duties of our government is to protect its citizens. These no votes by democrats for this bill demonstrates little support to law enforcement officers and turns their back on citizens also.

The House did pass about 14 bills either unanimously or close to it. Senate File 366 passed unanimously is the Dept. of Revenue Omnibus bill. Also passed was HF 588, which gives tax credits to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library to allow for renovations. It has been 28 years since it’s last renovation – the longest of all presidential libraries. Most presidential libraries get renovated every 12-15 years.

I had a nice talk with Al Schafbuch of Dysart and Robert Ritscher of Keystone on Wednesday under the golden dome, and I appreciate their experience and knowledge! I hope you all have a wonderful week, and stay safe and healthy!

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