Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, April 17, 2023

Kosovo Ambassador to the U.S. (seated) Ilir Dugolli visits the Iowa State Capitol.

Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!

Iowa House Republicans continue working hard passing bills to get closer to the finish line for the year. This last week, we passed 24 bills, with 15 of these being basically unanimous, five being bipartisan, and four being pretty much along party lines.

House File 654 passed the Iowa House, which addresses our 2nd Amendment freedoms. This bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds, will permit Iowans to have hidden firearms in their locked vehicles parked on publicly owned property, which includes K-12 schools, regents universities, and community colleges. This will also allow Iowans with a permit to carry to legally drop off and pick up their children at schools with a firearm in the vehicle, which will still be more strict than federal law.

The bill cleans up some confusing language in the code and makes it clear, such as adding clarity to the words “carry” and “possess”. HF654 also will allow a person who does not qualify for a permit to carry to be able to have a firearm on their property if the person is not prohibited from possessing a firearm. I did get some emails from concerned constituents that the bill allows more people to carry weapons on school busses. This is incorrect and current law only permits people, such as armed security or teachers already approved to be armed, to carry a weapon on school busses.

The Iowa House passed Senate File 494 which now goes to the governor’s desk for her consideration. This bill makes Iowa’s welfare programs more efficient with a new IT upgrade which will help to remove fraud and overpayments in the system. The bill only applies to SNAP and not to Medicaid. It also has limits of $15,000 liquid assets for the household, and allows for one vehicle to have unlimited value, and a second vehicle valued up to $10,000.

The state was penalized $1.8 million for an error rate of 3.2% higher than the national average ( and the Dept. of Inspections and Appeals found 2,761 overpayments in SNAP as seen here: The bill is estimated to save the state $8 million and the federal government $42 million annually beginning in FY2027.

The property tax issue continues to be a very important subject statewide and the legislators are still working on this. According to Benton County Assessors office, our property tax payments will have an approximate 3% increase which is a lot less than the huge increase in your assessed value of your property. This is due to the “rollback” that is determined by the Director of Revenue and Finance each year and you can read more here:

This month marks the 22nd anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Last Wednesday, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Ilir Dugolli, the Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States. Mr. Dugolli is based is Washington, D.C. and the highest-ranking representative of Kosovo to the U.S. government. Kosovo is one of Iowa’s Sister States.

I hope this finds you healthy, please be careful, and have a great week!


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