November 21, 2019

Greeting to you all,

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady unexpectedly passed away last week.  He was an awesome person who worked to improve our justice system and he will be missed. The governor will have to start the process of selecting his replacement. A new justice will be appointed by the Governor early next year.

Trade wars and the Trump Administration’s recent push to lower demand for biofuels are leading to more closures of biofuel plants, job losses, and farmers struggling to pay bills.  A new report released by Iowa State University this week found 44% of Iowa farmers and producers are struggling to pay their bills last year. It also noted there were 24 farm bankruptcies in Iowa, which is a 140% increase over the previous year. Nationally, there were 580 farm bankruptcy filings in the month of September, a 24% increase from last year.

This week, another ethanol plant suspended production. The company said the closure was the direct result of a huge increase in waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that undermine the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and reduce demand for crops.  The latest closing comes on top of four other biofuels plants that shut down earlier this year and decreased demand for corn by 1.4 billion bushels.

Iowans are encouraged to lend their support to Iowa farmers and stop the Trump Administration from undermining the RFS by contacting the EPA at Comments are due November 29th.

Despite growing concern about significant health effects, more Iowa teenagers are using e-cigarettes than ever before. According to the Iowa Dept. of Public Health, 22% of Iowa 11th graders are using e-cigarettes.  I have been contacted by several people asking to pass a law that prevents teenagers having access to e-cigarettes. Please share your thoughts with me on the e-cigarettes and any other issues in the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

As always, the Iowa Legislature’s webpage,, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can now listen to or watch our debates live, when we are in session. I currently serve on four committees for this session: Commerce, Local Government, Public Safety  and Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee.

Please check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website In addition to listening posts and forums, you can also reach me by email anytime or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including FacebookTwitter 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!

Upcoming Community Events

19 UNI Men’s Basketball vs. UT Martin McLeod Center, 7pm, 273- 4849
19-24 Festival of Trees *GBPAC, 268- 3161
20 UNI Men’s Basketball vs. Cornell College McLeod Center, 7pm, 273- 4849
20-22 Cabaret Strayer-Wood Theatre, UNI Campus, 7:30pm, 273-6381
21 Final Thursday Reading Series – Grant Tracey Hearst Center, Cedar Falls, 7pm, 273-8641
21-22 IHSAA Football Finals UNIDome, 515-432-2011
22 UNI Volleyball vs. Loyola McLeod Center, 6pm, 273-4849
22 Black Hawks Hockey vs. Dubuque Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291-7680
22-23 Iowa Winter Nationals Tractor Pull Hippodrome, Fri 4pm; Sat 8am, 641-660-3785
22-24 Minnesota Ballet Presents The Nutcracker *GBPAC, Fri 7pm; Sat & Sun 3pm, 273-7469
23 UNI Football vs. Western Illinois UNI-Dome, 1pm, 273-4849
23 UNI Volleyball vs. Valparaiso McLeod Center, 7pm, 273-4849
23 Black Hawks Hockey vs. Cedar Rapids Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291- 7680
24 UNI Wrestling vs. Nebraska UNI West Gym, 1pm, 273-4849
24 UNI Women’s Basketball vs. NW Missouri State McLeod Center, 3pm, 273-4849
28 Black Hawks Hockey vs. Cedar Rapids Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291- 7680

News from the Statehouse

Lawmakers Push to Expand Medical Cannabis

Improved health care for tens of thousands of Iowans depends on passing major reforms of Iowa’s medical cannabis program during the 2020 legislative session.

For the last six years, legislators have debated various efforts to establish a working medical cannabis program. Last session, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed HF 732, which would have eliminated the current 3% THC cap and replaced it with a 25 gram over 90-day period maximum disbursement.

However, the Governor vetoed the bill at the last minute saying the change was not recommended by the Iowa Medical Cannabidioal board and could lead to unintended consequences. All eight members of the board who approve the recommendations are appointed by the Governor.

Board Recommends Minimal Changes to Medical Cannabis Program

Last week, the Iowa Medical Cannabidioal Board submitted a proposal requesting state legislators remove the state’s current THC cap in favor of a purchase limit during the 2020 legislative session.

Current law prohibits medical cannabis products from containing more than 3% THC. The board’s proposal would remove this cap and replace it with a purchase limit of 4.5 grams of THC over a 90-day period.  The purchase limit would not apply to the terminally ill, and the limit could be increased by a certifying health care provider without the board’s approval.

The board also passed a proposal recommending PTSD and intellectual disability with aggression or self-injury to the list of eligible medical conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. A petition to add PTSD to the list of eligible conditions was brought before the board in a previous meeting earlier this year, but was rejected. The Iowa Board of Medicine must now consider whether to approve these conditions in an upcoming meeting.

As of the beginning of 2019, there were 505 health care professionals in Iowa who have patients certified for medical cannabidiol.

In a poll released earlier this year, nearly 80% of Iowans support expanding access to the state’s Medical Cannabidiol program, according to the Des Moines Register.

REAP Assemblies Held Across Iowa

Local Iowans will be given the opportunity to shape how Iowa’s soil, water, and parks are managed through local REAP Assemblies.  Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP), is funded by the state’s Environment First Fund, receiving $12 million this year to help enhance and protect Iowa’s natural and cultural resources.

At the REAP Assemblies, Iowans can discuss the impact of the program on their local communities, as well as tell us what they want for their parks, trails, museums, and other amenities.  Each assembly represents a region of counties and is scheduled for 90 minutes.

Since the creation of the program in 1989, more than 15,000 projects have been funded across the state by the program.  These projects have been in every county and include water quality projects, preserving historical assets, and improving outdoor recreation.

Additional information on the program and the assemblies can be found at

Meetings are held from 6:30 pm – 8 pm at the following locations:
November 20th: Star’s Cave Natural Center, Burlington
November 20th: Briggs Woods Main Office, Webster City
November 20th: Pin Oak Lodge, Chariton
November 21st: Environmental Learning Center, Oskaloosa
November 21st: Kent Park Education Center, Oxford
December 2nd: Correctionville Community Center, Correctionville
December 2nd: Grimes Farm, Marshalltown
December 3rd: Clay County Regional Events Center, Spencer
December 3rd: Breezy Lodge at Arrowhead Park, Neola
December 4th: Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Cedar Falls
December 4th: Environmental Learning Center, Muscatine
December 5th: Ventura Community Center, Ventura
December 5th: Shenandoah Public Library, Shenandoah
December 5th: Raccoon River Park, West Des Moines

Read More News from the Statehouse

Iowans Continue to Spend Big on Sports Betting
Damage Continues to Mount for Farm Economy
Iowa Enters Second Year of Suicide Prevention Grant
Trump Administration Sides with Big Oil Over Iowa Farmers, Producers
Measles Outbreak Shows Need for Immunizations
DNR Seeks Input on Water Quality Standards

By | 2020-10-15T16:30:29+00:00 November 21st, 2019|Newsletters|