Week 13

In a short week 13, we heard the continued retirement speeches (we have many retiring this year, including some long-time legislators), and the House passed our final two budget proposals, Health and Human Services and the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. With the passage of these two bills, all nine budget bills produced by the budget subcommittees have moved from the House to the Senate where they are all currently residing in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Senate has yet to release the funding levels allocated to each budget subcommittee. My guess, they’ll stay there as bargaining chips to force votes in the House.

The House’s RIIF Budget focuses infrastructure funds to maintain and improve state facilities. $28 million in FY 23 will go toward addressing major structural issues at state facilities. Another big focus of the RIIF budget is increasing quality of life for Iowans. The bill triples the amount of infrastructure funding for state parks and doubles the funding for the Community Attractions and Tourism (CAT) grant program and the Great Places program and increases funding for the Dept. of Transportation’s trails program.

The House’s Health and Human Services budget prioritizes community-based services for Iowans with intellectual disabilities as well as mental health services. For disability care it provides a $14.6 million investment in home and community-based services rates. This allows for a $2 raise to all direct support professionals, and this bill requires this increase to go towards our front-line workers wages and provides a $7.4 million state investment to reduce the waitlist on the intellectual disability services waiver. This appropriation should add an additional 250 ID waiver slots.

The bill provides mental health funding to increase access to care by expanding the workforce and increasing beds for the most difficult to serve patients. It also completes the state’s transition of taking mental health funding off property taxes, completely phasing out the mental health property tax levy and allocating an additional $71 million from the general fund for mental health regions. Providing $3 million of state funding, and a total funding increase of $7.9 million, to behavioral health intervention services. This is a 35% increase because there are currently lengthy waitlists for individuals to get services due to staffing shortages. It provides $1.1 million of state funding and almost $3 million of total funding to increase residential substance use treatment rates.

After years of work, this week the Iowa House passed a bill to add meaningful protections for Iowans in mobile homes. Recently Iowa mobile home residents have seen an increase in out of state groups buying mobile home parks and make this affordable housing option less attainable. This bill provides protections for residents against retaliation from landlords and requires a 90-day notice of any rental fee increase or cancellation of a rental agreement. It also gives legal remedies to residents if the landlord is not providing essential services, such as water.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon has announced a massive multibillion-dollar investment in its satellite internet service. Project Kuiper, Amazon’s competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink, has secured up to 83 launches in the next five years to launch its fleet of more than 3,000 satellites into orbit. If completed, the satellite constellation would provide broadband internet service to consumers, businesses, and government agencies. This year the House Info Tech Committee considered House File 2324 which would establish a grant program to reimburse Iowans for initial hardware costs associated with connecting to low earth orbit satellite internet such as Starlink or Project Kuiper. While it failed to survive the legislative funnel deadlines this year, high-speed satellite internet should be a part of Iowa’s plan to provide all Iowans access to the internet.

To my constituents in Adair, Guthrie, Dallas and Cass, and my future constituents in Madison, Union and Clarke—thank you for your continued support and input. I can be reached via my website or email OUR LIBERTIES WE PRIZE AND OUR RIGHTS WE WILL MAINTAIN!

Throwback Day for the Clerks in the Iowa House.. even Liberty participated!

Maria, Liberty and I went to the ribbon cutting of The Cougar Den in Anita. Students are creating shirts, woodworking and other items for sale. It was a great turnout for students who’ve taken advantage of the Future Ready Iowa and STEM programs. Congrats to Mrs. Miller and her CAM students who’ve got this project off the ground.

Reps Bousselot and Abdul-Samad are entertaining Liberty on the House Floor.

We get all kinds of visitors in the Capitol, on Wednesday we had Lil Miss Iowa and Rep Wheeler joined his Dutch visitors to do a dance.

The inaugural Legislative Slow-Pitch Softball Game for Charity will take place on May 1, 2022 at Principal Park in Des Moines, come enjoy the ICubs v the Indianapolis Indians... and then some legislators trying their best shortly after!

This bi-partisan softball game will consist of two teams, House and Senate Republicans vs. House and Senate Democrats. The money raised from sponsors and ticket sales will go to benefit two charities chosen by the respective teams. Republicans have chosen the Puppy Jake Foundation and the Democrats will play to benefit the Iowa Food Bank Association.

Republican Tickets:

Democrat Tickets:

If you would like to learn more about the two charities that will benefit from this game, you can visit their sites here: &

Memes & Quotes…