Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
The Iowa House had a fairly busy week 12, as we debated bills on March 29th till 9 p.m. and till 7:30 p.m. on March 30th. One bill that the House passed was HF 2556, the Solar Energy System Tax Credit. This bill directs up to $5 million to be paid to those who installed solar panels up through December 31st, 2021 with the understanding a state tax credit would help offset the costs. This fund was given a balance that exceeded initial expectations, which was the reason for the shortfall.
The House also passed the 2023 Education Appropriations bill, HF 2575, totaling just over $1 billion and is now with the Senate for consideration. Some highlights are the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship Program which proposes a $129,000 increase, giving priority for Iowans who are foster care students, children of deceased public safety workers, and students in the federal TRIO program and alternative high school students. The Rural Primary Care Loan Repayment Program is slated for a $2.3 million increase to recruit physicians to rural areas that have big healthcare shortages.
With mental healthcare being another huge priority at the Capitol, HF 2575 designates $1.5 million to a new program called Mental Health Practitioner Loan Repayment Program and is contingent with HF 2549 or SF 2195. HF 2549 forgives loans of a mental health practitioner who agrees to practice in Iowa for at least five years, and SF 2195 has similar intentions.
The iJAG program (http://www.ijag.org/) is slated for a $3.5 million increase. This is a non-profit organization focused on preventing dropouts among the most at-risk students. It is an independent, statewide 501(c)(3) corporation and has a 93% high school graduation rate, which is very impressive! The Education Appropriations budget also includes a $6.5 million increase for the Community Colleges! There are many other appropriations in this bill – too many to list – that will help improve the lives of Iowans no matter where you live!
Wednesday, March 30th was declared Iowa Honey Bee Day, and Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation designating this. Congratulations to the city of Shellsburg and Mayor Lonnie Speckner for proclaiming Shellsburg as one of 32 cities across Iowa this year observing this day! Did you know Iowa produces about 4 million pounds of honey? Please go to https://www.shellsburg.com/uploads/1/3/1/1/131137199/2022_honey_bee_proclamation.pdf for the proclamation and fun facts!
Have a safe and wonderful week!