by Iowa Senator Dennis Guth
Week eight of the legislative session had some exciting events. Tuesday was an especially eventful day when the governor signed into law the tax revision that puts us on the road to a flat income tax of 3.9 percent. Exempting retirement income from Iowa income tax also makes us competitive as a place to retire. Many of us Republican legislators piled into a bus that took us to a local business where we witnessed the signing. It was a connecting moment, and many enjoyed the camaraderie. This bill was the central piece of what we want to accomplish this year. Lower taxes mean more money for taxpayers to use as they choose.
Tuesday night was also a big one for Governor Reynolds as she delivered the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union Speech. Iowans have much to be proud of when we consider how our economy was the best in the nation in surviving the Covid shutdowns. Governor Reynolds resisted many vicious attacks in order to do what is best for Iowans, and for that I say thank you, Governor Reynolds!
Some interesting bills we passed this week include SF 2356 which will allow individuals with a cosmetology or barbering license to practice in any location a customer requests their services and expands options for mobile salons. Then there was Senate File 2356 which authorized individuals with proper credentials to serve without compensation as substitute teachers.
The bill that created the biggest stir this week was HF 2416, Ensuring Athletic Opportunities for Iowa Girls. This bill does not deprive anyone of an opportunity to compete in high school or college sports. It does say that students who according to their birth certificate are male must participate in male sports. I heard from many women and girls over this past year that are looking forward to competing with others of the same genetic and physical background.
With all of the contention the news focuses on, it may surprise readers how many bills pass with bipartisan approval or even unanimously. Wednesday was a typical day when we debated six bills. Four passed 48 to 0, one 44-5 and the girls’ sports protection bill passed 31-17.
I’d like to tell you about the pages that help us in the Capitol. They are mostly high school seniors, with a few juniors. They help us run the electronics for the Zoom meetings used in subcommittee as well as in full committee. Their other duties may include making copies, running after food for senators, and just generally being helpful. The greatest benefit in being a page is having the opportunity to see close up how government works. They also get to know some pretty fantastic senators and their amazing staff! It’s a great opportunity for a student to learn what state government really involves. If you are interested in being a page, Google “Iowa Legislative Page” to find the details and application. Perhaps next year I’ll see you at the Capitol!
When I evaluate a bill, I try to remember that the purpose of government is to protect our God-given, unalienable rights. Too often our laws go far beyond that and micro-manage the lives of Iowans. Wednesday, I opened the Senate with a prayer from Matthew 7 about building our house on the solid rock of the Word of God. Whenever we forget that and build on the ideas of man, we are building on unstable sand. The consequences of that is chaos.
This is a busy time of year for town hall meetings.
Estherville at 9:00 at the Wellness Center
Clarion Train Depot at 10:00
Belmond City Hall at 1:00
Algona at 10:00 at the City Hall