Ag, veterans issues come before Iowa House

We have now been here for 12 weeks. We have two weeks left.

We received our budget targets today. Budget sub-committees will start meeting to get their budgets put together for the full Appropriations Committee. This will finalize the State budget, on the House side anyway. Interestingly enough, getting the budget done each year is really the only thing the legislature is required to do. So, the process is started, which is a good sign.

It sounds like we are not going to have joint target numbers with the Senate. Which means each side will do their own budget, and this will only add more time to the session. In the House we believe it can’t always be about cutting spending. At some point you need to spend money to take care of things that need to be taken care of. Once again, I’m working on more funding for our state highways in NW Iowa. As I talk to other rural legislators from across the state, this issue is not just in my district. This is a state-wide problem. And it’s getting worse every year that we continue to neglect our roads.

Back home the ewes are getting fat and our first lambs are due April 19th. In the next couple weeks, we will be getting ready to AI ewes for fall lambing.


HJR 2006: Making It Harder to Raise Taxes

With the Republican trifecta in the Capitol, we have been focused on lowering the tax burden on Iowans. But we know many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would be raising taxes if they were in our position.

The decision to raise taxes should not be made lightly. It should be difficult to take additional money out of the paychecks of hardworking Iowans.

This week, we passed a joint resolution to send a Constitutional Amendment to the ballot for Iowans to vote on. This Constitutional Amendment would require a 2/3 majority vote in the legislature to increase income tax or to create a new tax.

Because this bill deals with a Constitutional Amendment, the legislative body would need to pass it again in the next general assembly. Then, it would become a ballot measure for all Iowans to weigh in on.

We heard claims on the House floor that this bill would be detrimental to Iowa’s future. However, this policy of a requiring 2/3 majority to raise taxes is not unheard of. At least 16 other states have a similar or more restrictive policy, many of which are blue states.


The big news this week in Ag was that on Monday, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) issued a press release in which Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig commented on the announcement made by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas: “Our team is actively monitoring this evolving situation regarding the news that dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas have tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. We are communicating with USDA, other states, and industry stakeholders while we learn more and as there are new developments. Protecting Iowa’s livestock farmers from foreign animal disease has been and will continue to be one of my top priorities as Secretary.”

This is the first case of a mammal coming down with this disease. We will watch this carefully to make sure we do all we can as a state to protect our livestock industry.


This week, the House passed HF 2663 unanimously. This bill transfers $300,000 from the Lottery fund to provide each county with funds to be used for national training for veteran service officers. $2.5 million is annually allocated to the Veterans Trust Fund from the lottery. This bill will allow $300,000 of that to be used for VSO training. $500,000 will continue to be allowed to be spent annually by the Commission on Veterans Affairs. There is currently $40.5 million in the Veterans Trust Fund, with interest deposits over $100,000 per month.

The House also sent House File 259 to the Governor. This bill includes provisions to ensure that Iowa’s veterans service officers are certified and have access to the veteran’s benefits management system within a year of being hired. Iowa’s veteran service officers are the first stop for any Iowa veteran that is seeking the benefits owed to them for their service.

State Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, represents Calhoun, Pocahontas and Sac counties, plus western Webster County.


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