Legislative update

The 2022 legislative session got underway on Jan. 10. This session, I will continue serving as the chair of the House Environmental Protection Committee, and serving on the Public Safety, Commerce, and Natural Resources committees. My legislative clerk this session is once again Mr. Paul Attema of Ames, whom I share with Rep. Kerr who sits next to me in the chamber. By sharing a clerk, we save the taxpayers the salary of one of these part time positions.

As always, the highlight of the first week is always the Governor’s Condition of the State Address, which was delivered on Tuesday evening in the House Chamber. Governor Reynolds noted this was her fourth year giving this address. Governor Reynolds laid out several bold ideas for the legislature to act on.

One of the governor’s and the House Republicans’ priorities continues to be using conservative budgeting practices. These practices have kept Iowa strong and growing, including through the last two years of the pandemic. As a result, current tax rates are taking in more money than we need, so two of our priorities is to return the overpayment to the taxpayers and reduce personal income taxes.

The governor proposed a four percent across the board Flat Tax. House Republicans will carefully vet this proposal when the bill is filed by the governor’s office. We will also be discussing how best to return the surplus of roughly $1 billion to taxpayers quickly in order to help offset the record high inflation caused by the Biden Administration policies hurting Iowa’s families.

Another priority the governor addressed is how to deal with the workforce shortage that is causing disruptions in supply and services. Iowa currently has 64,000 unemployed workers and 110,000 unfilled job openings. Clearly, our economy is creating jobs and growing, but we need to do more to support that growth.

There is no one single, or even a few, actions that can resolve that shortage, and it will take time and effort to close this gap. In past legislative sessions, we have bolstered our community colleges to encourage more students in the skilled trades such as welding, carpentry, plumbing, nursing, and other areas that have the most acute shortages. These efforts included “Last Dollar Scholarships” for these areas. We will vet Governor Reynolds’s proposals from her address in the coming weeks as well, including adding to the child care supports passed in the 2021 legislative session.

Another topic the governor addressed is increasing transparency in our education system. In the last year, several issues surfaced with blatant attempts to inject social engineering and political agendas into our public schools. In the past year, we’ve heard from parents in Ames who were upset that the Ames fourth graders were given an eight-page list of terms relating to transgenderism and homosexuality, and that Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory materials were being used in classrooms.

Imposing these types of political agendas on our children in the public school is simply unacceptable. Books containing obscene materials have also become an issue in other school districts in Iowa and nationwide. Iowa House Republicans have led the way on legislation to give parents a greater say in their child’s education and we will continue that fight this session.

We took on issues such as returning kids to the classroom, removing race-based stereotyping from curriculum and holding school boards accountable to parents. This session, the Governor has been clear that she wants to increase transparency in education. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the last two years, it’s that parents’ voices matter. We’re interested in taking a look at how we can increase transparency on materials in curriculum and the school libraries so parents can be more informed.

We are working on many priorities that Iowans have brought to us this session. I’ll work to keep you updated in the coming weeks as we make progress on these priorities. As always, I look forward to hearing from you and visiting with you by phone, email, or in person at the Capitol or in the district.


Contact Dean Fisher at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov


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