Statehouse News 


We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in. Des Moines. The wait times are getting longer, while deals are being made between the senate and the house, and budget bills are coming out for debate more regularly. 

Debates on the bills tend to be a little longer—and later into the evenings, with crucial funding for so many worthy programs that we want to make sure are getting it.

One of the highlights of this week has been a decade plus in the making.

I had the pleasure of ushering HF 604 through the house for its final passage to be signed by the governor. This bill is known as LEAD- K and has a significant importance to a group of people that have been left behind far too long in the educational settings.

This bill will ensure that all children who are born deaf or hard of hearing, will receive services necessary to help them and their parents navigate the system for language acquisition so that the kids are prepared to enter school with the language skills they need to be successful. More often than not, deaf children and hard of hearing children come to school lagging behind their peers upwards of five years— and that is a gap that is nearly impossible to close by graduation.

This bill has been worked on for well over a decade by many people. Representative Art Staed got the ball rolling years ago, and I got to carry it over the finish line. As an educator, I know the importance of school readiness, and this will help a group of marginalized students get a much better start on their education. I am proud to have been put on this bill twice in my four years, and getting it on it’s final passage this week. 

My floor comments this week on LEAD-K: 

Vania Kassouf of Linn County, organized a local meeting to discuss the shortage of qualified sign language interpreters in Iowa and the lack of a 4-year degree program in ASL.  

Pictured with me are Vania Kassouf, Shirley Hampton, President, Iowa Association of the Deaf- Chris Konsbruck; Robert Vizzini, Iowa LEADK Chairperson- Holly Shannon, former President of the IA State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf-Susan Tyrrell, CEO of Hands Up Communications- Ryan Wise, former Director of Iowa Department of Education, Nancy Boettger, Iowa Board of Regents-Senator Rob Hogg, and Representative Art Staed.

This group has worked tirelessly to make sure that LEAD-K bill was passed and will help so many children in the future. 

Last weekend the American Legion Post 555 in Ely held a pancake breakfast fundraiser for the All Veterans Memorial fund. This is Ely’s 150th anniversary year and they  kicked off the festivities with the pancake breakfast and raffle for a golf cart. Stay tuned for more fun activities for the 150th anniversary of a great Iowa town and ways to win that golf cart.

Events coming up around the district:


For more information check out the link:



It may not feel like it today, but event season is right around the corner!! Would you like to help plan Marion’s next big event? The City is looking to create a volunteer events committee that will provide input and hands-on assistance for events like the annual Fireworks & Fireflies event, Uptown Artway concerts and more. 

If you’re interested, please take this quick survey: 

Save the dates!   

More Work Needed to Address Iowa’s Housing Crisis

Iowa is facing an affordable housing shortage. According to a national housing organization, the state has a shortage of approximately 53,135 affordable and available rental units for Iowans.

Forty percent of Iowans spend over 30 percent of their income on housing, which means they are “housing cost-burdened”. For Iowans earning the minimum wage, there is not an affordable bedroom apartment anywhere within the state that would prevent them from being cost-burdened.

In 2019, news was released that an out-of-state corporation had begun buying manufactured housing communities in Iowa and drastically raising rent in parks across the state, further exacerbating the housing crisis.

Residents rallied at the Statehouse in 2020 seeking to draw attention from lawmakers - highlighting blind spots in the state’s current landlord-tenant laws, including allowing unreasonable rents and fees, short eviction notices, and retaliation against the tenant. Unlike Iowa apartment renters, manufactured housing owners are not automatically refunded security deposits or prepaid rent after lease termination. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office reported this surge in complaints from mobile home park residents last year, mirroring the aforementioned grievances.

This week, after three-years of work, House File 2562 was approved by the Iowa House. While the bill makes some subtle changes to Iowa’s manufactured housing law, it does not go far enough to protect Iowans living in mobile homes and manufactured house parks from rising rent, eviction, and bankruptcy at the hands of out-of-state corporations.

There are currently at least 550 manufactured housing communities in Iowa: encompassing 35,443 units, in 80 Iowa counties. Of these communities, 414 are owned by in-state entities and the remaining 136 are owned by out-of-state corporations.

Democratic lawmakers will keep working to provide real protections for renters in manufactured housing communities and provide property tax relief for renters to offset some of the skyrocketing rent being charged.


Lawmakers Consider Changes to “Bottle Bill”

The Iowa House and Senate Republican legislators have competing proposals in terms of bottle and can redemption programs, and are yet to find a solution.
Known as the “bottle bill”, the Senate passed Senate File 2378 that would allow retailers, like grocery stores, to opt-out of redeeming cans and bottles. While Iowans would still pay the 5-cent deposit, distributors would pocket the unredeemed deposits. Overall, this version would reduce the number of places for consumers to return their containers and claim nickel deposits across the state.
The Iowa House is considering a different version of this proposal in House File 2751. This bill would allow fewer retailers to opt-out of redeeming cans and bottles. The bill also requires stores that reject bottle returns to post on the front door the location of the nearest redemption center. The 5-cent deposit Iowans already pay also remains the same but it is distributed differently between retailers and distributors. The bill also allows for mobile redemption systems but it has yet to be approved by the Iowa House.
A recent poll found 84 percent of active Iowa voters say the bottle bill has been good for the state. Eighty-six percent of Iowa voters want there to be more places to return bottles and cans to redeem their five-cent deposit.
Earlier this week, Majority Party lawmakers said they may consider repealing Iowa’s popular redemption program if they cannot come to an agreement.

Iowa Economic Momentum Near the Bottom in the Country

While hard-working families in other states are reaping the benefits of steps taken by the Biden Administration, new data out this week shows that too many Iowans are still being left behind.
According to the Index of State Economic Momentum by the nonpartisan State Policy Reports, Iowa ranked 49th in the country in “Economic Momentum” behind only Kansas and Washington D.C. Iowa also ranks 49th in personal income growth, once again ahead of only Washington D.C. and South Dakota.

Last week, new data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found Iowa’s GDP, which measures the strength of our economy, was the lowest in the country and one of only two states that suffered from negative growth.
The studies back up the reality many Iowans are facing balancing their family budget while they watch republican lawmakers continue to invest in tax cuts for millionaires, prioritize their hardworking public tax dollars for someone else’s private school tuition, and refuse to invest the state budget into working Iowans.

Choose Iowa Program Promotes Iowa Made Products

Iowans increasingly want to know where their food is coming from. In an effort to promote Iowa produced food, the House passed House File 2572 this week, which creates the Choose Iowa Program under the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).
As part of the Choose Iowa Program, IDALS will provide a logo that can go on Iowa produced food. Companies that participate in the program can then sell their products with the Choose Iowa logo so consumers know they are buying a local product. If the bill passes the Senate and becomes law, IDALS will set an annual fee for companies to participate in the program. To learn more about the Choose Iowa Program that will help Iowans buy Iowa produced food, go to:


Income Tax Filing Deadline Approaches - Free Filing Help Available

The deadline to file both state and federal income taxes is approaching. Iowa state income taxes for 2021 must be filed by May 2, 2022. The deadline is in May because Iowa’s typical filing deadline April 30th falls on the weekend. The deadline for filing federal taxes is April 18 this year. Federal tax deadlines observe holidays celebrated in Washington, DC, so because of Emancipation Day and the following weekend the federal tax filing deadline is not until the following Monday.
For taxpayers that have already filed their state taxes, refunds can be tracked at The anticipated time frame for refunds is 30 days. The majority of refunds are issued each year before the end of May.
The Department of Revenue provides a variety of options for tax filers to pay their taxes, including many free filing options for low- and moderate-income tax filers available on their website at In addition, AARP Foundation provides free tax preparation for low and moderate-income taxpayers, especially those 50 and over – through their Tax-Aide program. The Tax-Aide program includes over 5,000 locations nationwide.  Additional information can be found at

For more information on individual state taxes, including filing an income tax return and other income tax information visit


More Iowa News

FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH, SIGN UP FOR COLLEGE SAVINGS IOWA: The month of April serves to highlight the importance of financial literacy, which includes sound resources and promotes financial empowerment at all stages of life. In an effort to encourage more families and individuals to start saving for college, state officials are reminding Iowans to sign up for College Savings Iowa. Often called a 529-College Savings Plan, Iowans can start saving with a minimum investment of $25. These accounts are tax-deferred, and participants are able to put in up to $3,319 per account, per year. Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is encouraging people to go to the College Savings Iowa website at to learn more.

APRIL 30th IS PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY: In a continued effort to fight prescription drug abuse, communities across the country are participating in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 30. Since the first Take-Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has collected nearly 179,000 pounds of unused prescription medications in Iowa. Nationally, there have been over 15 million pounds collected. Several sites across Iowa will be available on April 30, from 10 am to 2 pm, for people to drop off their prescription medicine- no questions asked. Most of these sites are located at pharmacies and law enforcement agencies. Site locations can be found at: For more information about the safe disposal of prescription medication, please visit:

I am honored to represent all of you in house district 68 for this last session  as well as those of you in my future senate district 37.

I thank you for your support as your State Representative, and I look forward to your continued support as I work to become your  new State Senator after the current session.

I understand there are some who have a different opinion about the legislation and choices made on the floor, but I hope to keep communication lines open for all to continue to share their concerns with me. 

It is my plan, as always, to work with everyone in the state house to better my district and the state. I look forward to bipartisan efforts that I know we will have to move Iowa forward. 

Please follow my Facebook page for updates on what’s happening around the district. I will do my best to kept events listed there over the coming months.

Go to the link below and like my legislative page to keep up to date:

As your representative, I am available throughout the year for questions, concerns, and suggestions. Please contact me if you have any concerns, questions, or comments:

It is truly an honor to serve you and I am looking forward to what the future brings as I run for senate in SD37 in 2022. 

Warmest regards,

Contact State Rep. Molly Donahue

Copyright © 2022 State Rep. Molly Donahue, All rights reserved.

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