The 2023 Legislative session ended on May 4th. I have been busy attending several community events and meetings, since adjournment. I attended the Gold Star Teachers Award Ceremony, Mental Health Awareness Breakfast, Police Officers Memorial and the Amvets Post 49 Veteran’s Day Memorial event.
Kevin Dill, who was one of the speakers at the Amvets Post 49 Veterans Day Memorial, spoke about what we need to do, to provide better resources and assistance for veterans. Kevin, who is dealing with Lewy Body Dementia, has been a very strong advocate for the veterans of Iowa. Thank you to Kevin, for all the hard work that you continue to do, in support of our veterans!
In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:
Property Tax Relief for Veterans and Seniors.
School Vouchers Program Starts While Private Schools Raise Tuition.
Going forward, I will be listening and working closely with local leaders and community members, to make sure the state is partnering with those in our community who need help and assistance. I’m available by email, phone, and social media, to answer questions and listen to your concerns. You can always reach me by email or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I appreciate hearing from you and I thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Statehouse News. Please keep in touch!
Property Tax Relief for Seniors & Veterans, Application Deadline July 1
Iowa seniors and veterans are now eligible for new property tax relief thanks to the bipartisan work done by lawmakers this legislative session.
Seniors will have to apply for the new exemption with their local assessor. Applications are due by July 1st, but once the exemption is granted the form does not have to be filled out again if the information does not change year to year. And military veterans who already qualify for an existing tax credit will receive the new exemption without applying.
House File 718 provides tax relief on the first $3,250 of the value of a senior’s property for Assessment Year 2023. For Assessment Year 2024, and every following year, the property tax exemption will apply to the first $6,500 of the taxable value of a senior’s property. The exemption is a reduction in the taxable value of the property, so the amount of the tax break will depend on how much your property is taxed locally. The average property tax break on actual taxes paid will be $109 in the first year and $219 in each following year.
This legislation will also keep property taxes low for all Iowa homeowners. Lawmakers passed the bill shortly after the latest round of property assessments across Iowa showed widespread, dramatic increases in the assessed value of homes — up a statewide average of 22 percent this year — to keep the rise from triggering dramatic increases in homeowners’ local property tax bills.
School Vouchers Program Starts While Private Schools Raise Tuition
Despite strong bipartisan opposition from many Iowans and lawmakers, the Governor’s voucher program starts taking applications on May 31.
House File 68 not only takes dollars away from public schools and gives them to private schools instead but it will also cost $108 million in the first year and almost $1 billion over the next four years, according to nonpartisan fiscal estimates.
Over the last few weeks, some Iowa families have learned that the cost of attending a private K-12 school will increase sharply next year under the new voucher program. Some private schools have increased tuition by 40%, or even doubled tuition over last year, allowing private schools to increase profits on the backs of Iowa’s taxpayers.
Last January, over 10,000 Iowans signed a petition opposing vouchers citing various reasons including many kids being left behind and the shifting of money away from public school. Opposition to vouchers is especially strong in rural areas because 75% of public schools are located in rural areas without any access to private schools.
House Democrats continue to support an Iowa where every kid deserves a world-class education regardless of their zip code. Like most Iowans, we believe public money belongs in public schools where all kids are accepted, as opposed to private schools that pick and choose the kids they want to take.
New Offerings at Iowa Breweries and Wineries
Iowans could see some new changes to Iowa’s breweries and wineries this year. Like a growler of beer, House File 677 will allow Iowa wineries to sell wine and beer via a container other than its original container. House File 478 also passed that allows Iowa breweries to brew their beer at other Iowa breweries while maintaining the ownership of their recipe, which will expand production opportunities for smaller breweries in the state.
This follows the changes from last year that included being allowed to purchase Iowa-produced spirits (such as whisky or vodka) at wineries, along with increasing the overall alcohol content in Iowa-produced beer from 15 percent to 19 percent. Iowa has more than 100 breweries throughout the state along with nearly 100 wineries that are members of the Wine Growers Institute. In 2021, wine and beer sales tax revenue equaled more than $18 million. Licensed facilities sold more than 95.8 million gallons of beer and 6.2 million gallons of wine, of which 1,149,911 gallons were Iowa beers and 167,436 gallons were Iowa wines.
Get an Iowa Wine or Beer Passport
Before you visit one of Iowa’s breweries or wineries, be sure to take advantage of the Iowa Wine and Beer Passport. The passport allows you to track your visits and also includes some deals and discounts while supporting locally-owned wineries and breweries. To sweeten the deal, the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board is offering a free t-shirt to the first 400 participants (per passport) that check in at six of the 50+ participating wineries or breweries! To get a passport or find a local winery or brewery, go to: sip.iowawineandbeer.com.
The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) issued an order detailing a partial procedural schedule for Summit Carbon proposed hazardous pipeline. The partial schedule includes status conferences in June and July to explore options to expand access for public participation and assist landowners affected by the proposed pipeline.
Due to the number of landowner parcels impacted by this proposed pipeline, the IUB is requesting parties in the docket to discuss the following topics at the June 6, 2023, status conference:
Using impartial, third-party mediators to assist landowners with the easement process;
Using presiding officers to receive testimony and evidence from landowners subject to eminent domain; and
Establishing satellite locations to allow remote participation or viewing of the public hearing from locations closer to affected individuals’ homes or businesses.
The June 6th status conference will begin immediately following the IUB’s monthly 9 a.m. monthly public board meeting. A second status conference is scheduled after the IUB’s July 10th monthly public board meeting.
Summit Carbon filed a petition to construct, operate, and maintain a proposed 687 miles of 6-to-24-inch diameter pipeline hazardous liquid pipeline to transport liquid carbon dioxide within the state on January 28, 2022.
Other Iowa News
RAW MILK CAN NOW BE SOLD IN IOWA: Iowans can now buy unpasteurized milk straight from a farm. Supporters of the legislation, Senate File 315, believe that this change will expand the ability for Iowans to drink and eat what they believe is nutritionally best. In contrast, opponents believe people could mistakenly be served raw milk, and the risk of sickness is too high. Nineteen states still prohibit any sale of raw milk within the state. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2013 -2018, Utah had the largest number of foodborne illness outbreaks due to raw milk.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM AMOEBA THAT CAUSES BRAIN INFECTION: Last summer, an amoeba that can cause a severe brain infection, called Naegleria fowleri, was detected in a lake in Taylor County. A Missouri resident contracted a brain infection at the Lake of Three Fires and died from the condition. This type of amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds. It enters the body when water rushes up the nose and reaches the brain. Not everyone who swims in infected waters will get sick, and it is actually rare for someone to get infected. Only 29 cases have occurred from 2013 to 2022. However, when it is contracted, it is usually fatal. Though the amoeba has yet to be detected this summer in Iowa, it is still important to protect yourself when swimming. Below are some actions that people can take to prevent getting an infection: Limit diving, jumping, and submerging your head underwater; if you do want to swim underwater; make sure to use nose clips or plug your nose; and avoid digging or stirring up the sediment at the bottom of the lake or river. To see lake conditions near you, go to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources beach monitoring page: programs.iowadnr.gov/aquia/Programs/Beaches?_gl=1*1weir91*_gcl_au*MTgxNTI4Mzk5MS4xNjg1MTE2MTkz.
NOMINATE AN OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL FOR IOWAN OF THE DAY: Do you know an outstanding Iowan who deserves to be recognized? The Iowa State Fair’s Blue Ribbon Foundation asks Iowans to nominate exceptional individuals to be recognized as Iowan of the Day. Nominees must exemplify leadership, have a passion for volunteering, are involved in their community, or have made a positive impact on those around them. Iowans of the Day will receive a day of recognition at the Iowa State Fair including being recognized on the Anne and Bill Riley stage, free admission and grandstand tickets for four, hotel accommodations, and $200 cash. To learn more or to nominate an outstanding Iowan visit: blueribbonfoundation.org/iotd.