All Iowans Deserve Reproductive Freedom
Everyone deserves the right to make their own health care decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion. Lawmakers have no place interfering in someone else’s decisions about when to start a family. A majority of Iowans support reproductive freedom and believe that private health care decisions belong between an individual, their family, and their doctor.
In Iowa, abortion is still legal up to 20-weeks of pregnancy. However, Governor Reynolds has requested the Iowa Polk County District Court review a previous ruling that struck down a ban on abortion after six weeks here in Iowa. The ban would not allow an abortion after six-weeks; before most even know they are pregnant. While the Iowa District Court considers the Governor’s request, it’s certain to end up back in the Iowa Legislature.
House Democrats will work to protect the reproductive freedom of Iowans by stopping a total ban on all abortions with no exceptions, guaranteeing reproductive freedom by adding it Iowa’s constitution, and expanding access to reproductive health care across the state.
Budget Surplus Triggers Big Corporate Tax Giveaway, while Iowa Families Miss Out
Instead of using Iowa’s budget surplus to lower costs for Iowans, Republican lawmakers gave the world’s biggest corporations a tax cut after the state closed the books on the 2023 fiscal year (FY).
The new reduction in corporate tax rates took effect as a result of the Governor Reynolds and majority party lawmakers passing a bill that automatically reduces corporate tax rates depending on how much revenue the state took in the previous year. Beginning next year, the tax rate for big corporations, like Amazon and Facebook, will drop from 9.8% to 8.4%.
Unfortunately, most Iowans won’t receive a tax break of any kind next year, even though their costs continue to rise. Many Iowans have expressed concern that the state is giving more tax cuts to corporations and millionaires, while public education and mental health services continue to be chronically underfunded.
Much of the large surplus is due to the influx of federal funds from national Democrats and a recent report shows that the state spent almost $2 billion more in federal funds in 2021, an increase of 15%, allowing the state to spend federal dollars on state projects.
The strength of the budget also is projected to be short lived. At their last meeting, the non-partisan Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) gave their initial projection for FY 2024, projecting growth at -2.1% from FY 2023. This will leave the state with $193.7 million less in the budget. The deep cuts could mean many Iowans will feel the brunt because of politicians putting corporations over a lower-middle class tax cut or the potential of losing services they depend on.
Based on projections it is clear that tax giveaways to millionaires and big corporations will make everyday life harder for working Iowans.
Unpaid Property Taxes Considered Delinquent October 1st
Iowa homeowners should be aware that Iowa property taxes are due twice a year, on the first of September and March. For most homeowners, property taxes are paid through an escrow account in their mortgage.
If the first half taxes are not paid by October 1st the taxes are considered delinquent and will start accruing interest. On the first day of each month, late interest at the rate of 1.5% is added to the unpaid balance of any unpaid property taxes.
All property in the state is assessed every two years in odd-numbered years, including next year in 2023. Any “rollback,” or tax breaks for certain types of property such as residential and agricultural property, is then applied to the assessed value by the local auditor.
The local treasurer then uses this amount to prepare an individual tax statement based on all of the applicable taxes and rates in the area for each property owner in the local jurisdiction. For most taxpayers, these are local county officials making these determinations. This individual tax statement is what is delivered to individual property taxpayers to be paid twice annually.
New assessments mailed to Iowans next spring will be used to determine changes in property taxes, beginning with the payment due in September 2024.
The property taxes collected go to many different “taxing authorities”, with funds going to public schools, local emergency services, and mental health.
Website Available to Help Iowans with Opioid Use Disorder
Last week, the Iowa Attorney General's office unveiled a website providing Iowans with a path to recovery from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). IowaOpioidHelp.com directs Iowans to treatment centers and other resources across the state.
In Iowa, 258 people died from opioid overdoses last year, a 21.2% increase from 2020. First responders are using more and more doses of naloxone to counteract overdoses and prevent the death toll from increasing.
The new website will provide Iowans and their loved ones a pathway to recovery for OUD. Those who use the website will learn about Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT), a proven method of using FDA-approved drugs to reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. An interactive map shows a list of MAT and OUD clinics contracted with the state. The Integrated Provider Network (IPN) is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health and Human Services (IDPH).
During an 18-year timespan, the state expects to receive $174.4 million from settlements with opioid makers Johnson & Johnson and the nation's three major pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen. The amount will be evenly split between the state, counties, and cities.
Last session, Iowa House Democrats supported legislation requiring Iowa's portion of any national opioid settlement money to be deposited into a fund under IDPH for first responders. Other state agencies may transfer funding as appropriate and first responders may contact IDPH to procure medication. School districts may obtain a valid antagonist prescription to assist students experiencing an overdose.
Deer Hunting Started Across the State
Deer hunting in Iowa is in full swing across the state with an estimated 60,000 hunters heading out into the timber. If the hunt is successful, hunters must report their harvest to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by midnight on the day after it is tagged or before taking it to a locker or taxidermist. Like last year, hunters are able to report their harvests by texting 1-800-771-4692. Hunters can also report online, by phone, or by using the Go Outdoors Iowa app.
Many hunters will use deer stands while hunting. The DNR has the following tips for making your tree stand and hunting trip both safe and successful:
For more information regarding safety tips and hunting information, visit iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting.
- Always remove and inspect your equipment.
- Try to hunt with a buddy. If you do go alone, make sure to let others know your exact hunting location and the time you are planning to return.
- Bring devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, and flashlight to the stand with you. Make sure you have them within arm’s reach at all times.
- Three-point rule - always have three points of contact to the ladder or steps before moving.
- Always wear a safety harness when you are in your tree stand or attach a safety strap to the tree so if you do fall, it won’t be for more than 12 inches.
- Make sure to follow all instructions and directions provided by the manufacturer when setting up your stand.
- Tree selection – select a straight tree that is within the size limits recommended in your stand’s directions.
- When bringing up your gear to the stand, make sure to use a haul line and to unload your firearm or bow of all bullets and arrows.
- Never leave the stand in a tree for more than two weeks to prevent damage from changing weather conditions.
Other Iowa News
FAFSA APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE NOW: For people going to college for the 2023-24 school year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available now at: studentaid.gov. The information filed on FAFSA form enables college bound students to receive college grants, work-study funds, federal student loans, and Iowa-based financial assistance programs. Even if you do not think you qualify, you should still fill it out so you will not leave financial assistance on the table. Iowa’s rate of completion is below the national average. As of September, 54% of those eligible in the Iowa class of 2022 filed it out, while the national average was 63%. Iowa’s rate is equal to last year, while the national rate rose 5%. If you have questions or need help filling out the FASFA, contact the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) at: icansucceed.org or (877) 272-4692.
PLAN YOUR NEXT IOWA ROAD TRIP WITH NEW IOWA TRAVEL GUIDE: Help support Iowa’s tourism industry by traveling around Iowa. Plan your next trip using the newly redesigned Traveliowa.com to find new places to explore around the state. The fall/winter addition of the Travel Iowa Guide is available online or a free print version of the magazine can be ordered. There are now six digital passports to explore distilleries, wineries, breweries, state parks, Iowa’s scenic byways, and Iowa’s farms. Win prizes for visiting attractions using the passports.
DOT AUCTION GOES ONLINE ONLY: The fall equipment auction hosted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) has moved the auction online. Interested buyers can go to GovDeals.com and enter "Iowa Department of Transportation" in the search bar. Items being auctioned off will be put online throughout the fall as they become available. Anyone wanting to bid on an item must register on the website. Items to be auctioned off include vehicles, trailers, plows, office furniture, tires, mowers, brine tanks, spray equipment, and lawn equipment.
CYBER SECURITY GRANTS AVAILABLE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Cyber security grants to help local governments are now available from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Local governments face unique challenges in defending against cyber threats such as ransomware, as they lack the resources to defend against constantly changing threats. Grant requests will be accepted through November 15 and more information and helpful resources can be found at: cisa.gov/cybergrants.
I have been 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 next 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 Capitol to better my district and the state. I look forward to bipartisan efforts that I know we will have to move Iowa forward. But I am also up for the fight to push for a better Iowa and different priorities for Iowans.
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 in senate district 37 in 2022.