Blog

Senate Republicans announce ranking members for upcoming session

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, announced today the Senate Republicans who will serve as standing committee ranking members for the 2015 Legislative session.

Agriculture: Dan Zumbach, Ryan.
Appropriations: Jake Chapman, Adel.
Commerce: Bill Anderson, Pierson.
Economic Growth: Mark Chelgren, Ottumwa.
Education: Amy Sinclair, Allerton.
Ethics: Jason Schultz, Schleswig.
Government Oversight: Julian Garrett, Indianola.
Human Resources: David Johnson, Ocheyedan.
Judiciary: Charles Schneider, West Des Moines.
Labor & Business Relations: Tom Shipley, Nodaway.
Local Government: Roby Smith, Davenport.
Natural Resources & Environment: Ken Rozenboom, Oskaloosa.
Rules & Administration: Bill Dix, Shell Rock.
State Government: Rick Bertrand, Sioux City.
Transportation: Tim Kapucian, Keystone.
Veterans Affairs: Mark Segebart, Vail.
Ways & Means: Randy Feenstra, Hull.

Appropriations ranking members for the upcoming Legislative session are:

Administration & Regulation: Dan Zumbach, Ryan.
Agriculture & Natural Resources: Ken Rozenboom, Oskaloosa.
Economic Development: Charles Schneider, West Des Moines.
Education: Tim Kraayenbrink, Fort Dodge.
Health & Human Services: Mark Segebart, Vail.
Justice Systems: Julian Garrett, Indianola.
Transportation: Tim Kapucian, Keystone.

Senator Anderson named a Hometown Hero

State Senator Bill Anderson, R-Pierson, was honored Friday as a Hometown Hero by the Autism Society of Iowa.

Anderson_HometownHero

The Autism Society of Iowa honors Iowa legislators each year with the Hometown Hero Award. Senator Anderson was a recipient this year of the Hometown Hero designation. The Autism Society of Iowa said Senator Anderson has “gone above and beyond to improve the lives of those with autism spectrum disorders.”

“I am honored to be named a Hometown Hero by the Autism Society of Iowa,” Senator Anderson said. “It is important to work diligently to help improve the lives of every Iowan, and even harder for those who need us the most.”

Senate Republicans unanimously re-elect Senator Dix as leader

Des Moines – Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, and Senate Republican Whip Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, were unanimously re-elected to their respective leadership positions Monday at the State Capitol.

Senator Dix was first elected in 2012 as Senate Republican leader. Whitver served as the Senate Republican whip during the 2014 Legislative session.

“I am honored to have the continued support of our Senate Republican caucus,” Senator Dix said. “Senate Republicans will remain steadfast in fighting for fiscal responsibility, expanding new career opportunities and creating a legacy of opportunity for all Iowans.”

Senate Republicans also elected five assistant leaders Monday during their caucus. The assistant leaders for the 2015 Legislative session are: Senator Randy Feenstra, R-Hull; Senator Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City; Senator Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan; Senator Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone; and Senator Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines.

###

Senate Page program is taking applications

Each fall the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency searches for Iowa high school juniors and seniors for its Legislative Page Program.  This year applications for Iowa Senate pages are being accepted through October 3.  The program is an opportunity for young men and women to play an active role in government.  This year pages will begin work on January 12, 2015, and work throughout the legislative session, which should end near the middle of May 2015.

Pages have the option of serving a full or half semester in the winter, during the legislative session working at the Capitol.  They are treated as employees, receive a stipend and complete a variety of tasks.  The pages work with legislators by delivering bills and helping legislators do daily tasks.   The work of a page is essential to helping the political process run smoothly.  Senators get to know the pages and understand the program is a great way for students to experience government first-hand.

Interested youth from across the state are encouraged to apply for the program for the 2015 Legislative Session.  The application deadline is right around the corner and those interested in becoming a page should discuss this with their high school guidance counselor and families.

For more information and to view the application for the Legislative Page Program, visit https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/lsaReports/pageInfo/PageApplication.pdf. Once interested applicants have downloaded the application package, they should complete the personal information form, provide a written statement on why they want to become a page and submit letters of recommendations from nonrelatives.  The rest of the application package includes a form signed by a principal, counselor or superintendent as well as a letter of recommendation from the principal, counselor or superintendent.

Completed page application packages must be returned to the Secretary of the Senate’s office, Iowa Senate, Statehouse, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. For more information, call 515-281-5307. Interviews will be held October 20-24.

Senator Segebart: Iowa Sales Tax Holiday nears

With summer vacation winding down, parents are thinking about sending their children back to school. The state of Iowa wants to help them get ready. This year Iowa’s annual sales tax holiday is scheduled for Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2.  The holiday removes the sales tax on a variety of back to school items such as clothes and footwear. The sale starts at 12:01 a.m., August 1 and runs through midnight, August 2.

Continue reading Senator Segebart: Iowa Sales Tax Holiday nears

Senator Dix: Iowa Supreme Court failed the people of Iowa

DES MOINES – Senator Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, said this morning he is disappointed the Iowa Supreme Court gave people seeking a political office the green light to lie and mislead Iowans in campaign advertisements.

“The lower courts understood there should be consequences for intentionally lying and misleading Iowans in an effort to tarnish someone’s reputation,” Senator Dix said. “Today, the Iowa Supreme Court failed the process and the people of Iowa. Iowans deserve better.

“With the Iowa Supreme Court failing to hold people accountable for spreading blatant misinformation and distorted facts, it has disregarded what Iowans hate most about politics – promoting fiction over the facts and making slander and libel an acceptable practice.

“The high court’s decision is disheartening. It allows Democrats to carry on with their old tricks of lying and misleading Iowans for political gain. Iowans may want to brace themselves this year for what I predict could be one of the most brutal, disingenuous, slanderous campaign attacks in our state’s political history.”

###

Senator Jack Whitver: Lawmakers act to protect students

As legislation is contemplated in the Capitol, situations often arise around Iowa requiring lawmakers to evaluate current state law. In fact, many laws we pass are the result of one specific incident. Sometimes this is a good thing, however in some cases it becomes reactionary, which can result in creating bad laws.

Under Iowa law, the age of consent for intimate relationships is 16 years old. However, there are extra protections in place when a teacher has an inappropriate relationship with a student. This means that even if a student is over the age of consent, a teacher is prevented from having a sexual relationship with a student. This prevents teachers and coaches from using their position of power to exploit young students. Most people assumed coaches were subject to this same law, protecting students against sexual exploitation from adult coaches.

A recent case ruled upon by the Iowa Supreme Court caused us to re-evaluate our laws concerning sexual exploitation of a child. A 36-year-old high school basketball coach in southern Iowa was charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old student over the course of several months.

On April 11, the Iowa Supreme Court threw out a conviction of the coach in question for exploiting a student. Their ruling said although the 36-year-old man was a coach, he was not covered under the sexual exploitation laws in Iowa. They said because he was only a coach, and not a licensed teacher, he did not fall under the current sexual exploitation law.

Because of the ruling, the coach lost his job at the school, but faced no criminal charges for having a relationship with a student 20 years his junior.

After the decision came out earlier this month, the legislature acted quickly, and diligently to address the situation. I believe coaches should be prevented from having a sexual relationship with a student and I supported HF 2474, which makes coaches subject to the same law as teachers. While 99 percent of coaches in Iowa are great community leaders, we unfortunately see too many situations where teachers and coaches exploit young students. This is a common sense solution to address a legal loophole created by the Supreme Court case in southern Iowa.

Senator Jerry Behn: Budget Bills Reveal Fundamental Differences

The 2014 Legislative session is drawing to a close. The state budget continues to consume the bulk of our time. How the state spends its money always has been a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats. This often results in the budget bills being negotiated in conference committee because the parties have fundamental differences on how state money should be allocated. We believe state money belongs to the Iowa taxpayer. Therefore, it should be spent thoughtfully and any excess amount of revenue should be returned to them.

On the contrary, some would prefer to spend any excess money to grow the footprint of government. This is not only irresponsible, it is unsustainable.  We work diligently to put forth budgetary practices which help create a legacy of opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

Senate Democrats and House Republicans reached joint budget targets several weeks ago, but in many cases the line items differ significantly. Senate Republicans have stressed it is important for government to explore efficiencies and shrink the scope of government.

We will continue to push for a budget that spends less than we take in on an ongoing basis, doesn’t purposefully underfund programs to balance the budget, doesn’t spend one-time money for ongoing programs and returns money to Iowa taxpayers.

We will continue to advocate for sound budgetary practices and the fiscal management Iowans expect from their legislators.