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District 72 Update

January 29, 2020
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Montour , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Newsletter for January 16, 2020

The 2020 session of the Iowa General Assembly has begun in earnest. As always, the first week of a session is marked by ceremony and speeches, along with the day to day work of drafting and filing bills.

On Monday the House elected our new leadership. Rep. Pat Grassley of Butler County was elected Speaker of the House, and Rep. Matt Windschitl of Harrison County was elected as the Republican House Majority Leader.

Article Photos

Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) welcomed Paula Rohach, one of his constituents from Toledo, recently to the Iowa House of Representatives. Rohach was visiting the Capitol to meet with Rep. Dean Fisher.
-Photo provided

On Tuesday Governor Reynolds gave her Condition of the State Address. Notable points in her address were a commitment to provide $20 million for flood relief in south west Iowa where flooding from the Missouri River continues to devastate those areas. The governor also outlined details of the "Invest in Iowa Act" that includes increases in funding for water quality efforts, increases in outdoor recreation funding, and increases in mental health treatment funding that would offset local property tax funding of those programs. This proposal would include income and property tax cuts along with a sales tax increase. I am confident there will be considerable discussion about the details of this plan in the coming weeks.

Another significant point in the governor's speech which I very much appreciated was her support of a Constitutional Amendment that would specify that the right to an abortion is not found in the Iowa Constitution. This amendment is necessary to correct grievous judgements the Iowa Supreme Court has made in the past few years. The court's judgements have left the state in the position of not only not being able to regulate abortion, but potentially requiring the taxpayers to fund abortions. This amendment would leave those decisions to the legislature, not judges.

The governor also outlined plans to promote broadband internet availability across the state and incentivize more doctors to serve rural Iowa. The governor also proposed increasing K-12 education funding by $103 million and increased funding for the Future Ready Iowa initiative and its "Last Dollar Scholarship" program.

On Wednesday we received the Condition of the Judiciary speech from Acting Chief Justice Wiggins. This address was marked by recognizing the service of Chief Justice Cady who passed away recently, as well as other former Iowa Supreme Court justices that passed away in this past year. Currently one position is open on the court to fill Justice Cady's seat, and Justice Wiggins has announced he will retire in March.

On Thursday we received the Condition of the Guard address from Major General Correll. This was Maj. Gen. Correll's first year giving this address, having assumed the position after the retirement of General Orr. Maj. Gen. Correll was born and raised in Strawberry Point, Iowa. He's the son of a WWII veteran and he has three of his own sons in the Iowa National Guard, all of which were in attendance for today's speech along with his wife. Maj. Gen. Correll noted that over 100 specialties are practiced by ING members, highlighting the diversity of skill present. Over the next year 2,000 ING members are likely to be deployed overseas beginning in May, a significant deployment level. Also, there are plans to potentially close some ING facilities statewide that are struggling to maintain staffing levels. All in all, Maj. Gen. Correll confirmed that the Iowa National Guard, after 181 years of existence, is strong and ready to meet the challenges in the coming years.

Of course the legislature was also busy with initial committee meetings and the detail work of filing bills. I've filed several bills this week. One calls for "Rumble Strips" to be provided at every rural paved intersection with a state or US highway. This bill is in response to several incidents where drivers have missed a stop sign and entered US 30 resulting in the tragic loss of life. Most recently was an accident in Benton county over Thanksgiving weekend where a 26-year-old lost her life. Rumble Strips are simply grooves cut across the pavement at a short distance before a stop sign. If a driver misses the stop sign, a visual indicator, then the vibration and sound of the Rumble Strip should help alert them. While this requirement does have cost to it, the lives saved by this added warning are well worth it in my view. The bill goes to the Transportation Committee for consideration.

Another bill I filed seeks to remove Gender Identity from the list of protected classes in the Iowa Civil Rights code. The Democrats added this category into the code in 2007 when they controlled the House, Senate and Governor's office. The inclusion of this category is the basis for boys and men participating in girls/women's sports, the basis for men using the women's bathroom, and the basis for last year's decision by the Iowa Supreme Court that the taxpayers must fund gender reassignment surgery through Medicaid. It also has serious implications for placement of prisoners within our prison system. It is clear to me and most citizens that the concept of making "Gender Identity" a protected class is contrary to basic science as well as an affront to our basic morals.

This is only the beginning of what promises to be another busy and historic session.



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