Updates for House District 72

The legislative session is well underway.  As always, the first week is filled with ceremony and speeches, but this year we also saw the inauguration of Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg on Friday.  On Monday we were sworn in to the 88th General Assembly with 22 new members to the Iowa House.  By my rough count there are 65 new members to the Iowa House since I arrived in 2013, a remarkable turnover.  Tuesday was the governor’s Condition of the State address.  The governor stressed a commitment to funding for public education and her initiative to reinstate voting rights for felons that have met their sentencing requirements among other initiatives. 

The governor also highlighted a program started by Iowa Prison Industries to apprentice inmates in the building trades so that they have the opportunity for good jobs when they are released.  This program would entail building smaller houses on site at the Newton prison as part of an apprenticeship program and then moving them to their permanent location in rural areas.  This program would thus provide much needed lower cost housing in small towns that most contractors don’t build anymore due to the economics.  This program should reduce recidivism by giving these people an opportunity at jobs after they are released and help fill the serious shortage of construction trades workers.  I have visited the Newton prison recently to learn more about this program and I support it wholeheartedly.  The next step in implementing the program will be funding the construction of the fenced area where multiple houses will be built simultaneously at the Newton prison.

Wednesday was the Condition of the Judiciary address from Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady.  Justice Cady stressed continuing modernization of Iowa’s judicial system for greater on line access. 

Thursday was the Condition of the Guard address by Major General Orr.  I am always impressed by the work done by the Iowa National Guard.   General Orr stressed the need to recruit service members from across the spectrum of our society.  Only three out of 10 citizens age 17-24 are eligible for service, we must continue to encourage our young men and women that serving in the military is a viable and honorable course to take.  Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Iowa National Guard has mobilized and deployed more than 19,000 Iowa National Guard Soldiers and Airmen with 300 deployed overseas at this time.

I will be chairing the Environmental Protection committee in the House this year.  I will also be continuing to serve on the Public Safety, Commerce and Natural Resources committees, and on the Administration and Regulation Budget Subcommittee.  The first bill I filed is House File 1 which would prohibit the use of false or misleading caller identification information.  Many of us frequently receive telemarketing phone calls that show a local phone number as the caller ID in order to fool us into thinking it’s a neighbor calling.  In fact, often times our own phone numbers have been used in this scheme.  This bill seeks to make this action an act of fraud with penalties up to $40,000.  Enforcing this law will not be easy, many of these phone calls originate from out of the country, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I am also sponsoring a bill to authorize an Abortion Victims monument on the Capitol grounds as other states have done.  We have sacrificed far too many of our children to this heinous practice, placing this monument on the Capitol grounds will serve as a reminder of the loss of precious lives and how we as a society can do better in protecting our most valuable asset, our children.  This monument will be designed, built and sited using private donations, no taxpayer funds will be used. 

As always, I encourage you to visit the capitol during the legislative session, Tuesday through Thursday is usually the best time to visit.  We have a beautiful capitol building that is continuing to be restored to its original splendor, it’s well worth the trip.  Also, please feel free to contact me if you have issues you want to discuss, I can be reached at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov and at 641-750-3594.