I don’t write many newsletters when we are not in session, but a couple of recent items should be addressed.
First, we found out Iowa’s fiscal year ended with a surplus of $1.24 billion, putting us in a very strong financial position. When Republicans gained the majority in 2017, we inherited mounting debt due to over-spending. As Co-Chairman of the Administration and Regulations Budget Subcommittee, my first job that year was to cut the budgets of 16 state agencies. Since that time Republicans have prioritized sustainable budgeting and tax relief for Iowans. We later passed the largest income tax cut in state history. With the record budget surplus this year I look forward to working with Governor Reynolds to put in place more tax relief that will allow Iowans to keep more of their own money.
Second, on October 5 the Iowa legislature met to consider the redistricting plan triggered by the 2020 census. Iowa has good laws regarding redistricting that require districts to be compact and stay very close to the same number of voters in each district. Senate Republicans noted that a number of Congressional, Senate, and House districts could have been more compact. We rejected the first plan, so the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency will draw up another map by October 21 and the legislature will vote on it the next week.
Many were hoping that during the special session we would address the vaccine mandates coming from Washington, D.C. While we talked of several options, the process to move them forward requires time for public input in both chambers. There was not adequate time during this special session for that to happen. It is difficult to devise a plan that would not put employers in the awkward position of choosing to violate either state or federal law. So far there are no rules from the Feds to enforce anything, so there is really nothing to force employers to take action. I would encourage resistance to this intimidation.
One idea to resist mandates that was put forward was to prohibit any state agency or money to be used to enforce the mandates. I have a bill that goes a step further and declares the mandate is unconstitutional and will not be enforced in Iowa. There is also an effort to put vaccination status into the Civil Rights Act, so your vaccination status could not be discriminated against, just like age, race, gender, etc. Another idea is to make natural immunity legally equal to the jab, since it produces longer lasting immunity than the jab. All of these are hard to act on while we are not in regular session, because of the rules governing our process. Several of us are working to see what can be done to protect our liberty regarding health care choices.
This is always a very busy time of year and I too often forget to acknowledge those I care about the most. Please, take some time to show those you love that they are more important than the “stuff” we get so busy with. The legacy you leave will be the lives that you touch.