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Senator Rocky DeWitt (February 10, 2023)

The Weekly Rocket by Senator Rocky De Witt

This week was the fifth week of the legislative session. On Tuesday the Coalition for Life of Iowa organized its annual Prayer for Life rally at the Capitol. Several pro-life organizations in Iowa united to help spread awareness and advance the pro-life movement. The Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders held tables in the rotunda to help Iowans learn how to aid the cause. We were happy to meet with our constituents to discuss the importance of protecting the unborn.

Funding for K-12 students was one of the first things addressed in the legislative session. Education is the largest part of our state budget and is a priority for Republicans in the Iowa Senate. Since 2017, K-12 education in Iowa has received hundreds of millions in additional funding. Recently, the Senate approved Senate File 192 to add an additional $107 million for local schools. Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

Last week, the Iowa Senate released two proposals to help address the concerns of Iowans regarding rising property taxes and providing some relief to property taxpayers in the state. Iowans have come to the legislature looking for solutions. Those concerns are why the Senate has proposed Senate Study Bill 1124 and Senate Study Bill 1125.

Senate Study Bill 1124 gets Iowa’s property tax system back to the basics by streamlining and simplifying the complicated tax code. It consolidates 18 property tax levies, limits open-ended levies for additional spending by local governments, and reinstates hard caps on levies.

The cost and accessibility of health care routinely ranks among the most important issues in surveys of Iowans. Rural economic growth is a continual focus for lawmakers as well, and one of the key issues for rural economic growth is the availability and affordability of health care. This week the Iowa Legislature passed a major reform to help reduce costs and increase access for health care.

House File 161 works to achieve that goal by implementing a limit, $1 million for doctors, $2 million for hospitals, on the amount of non-economic damages a jury may award to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case. This reform has been a priority for medical professionals in Iowa for many years. Limits on non-economic damages exist in 33 other states, including California and several states surrounding Iowa.

In all it was a good week for employers. Driver’s ed schools and funeral homes gained flexibility to aid in the workforce shortage. In committee, some language was approved in the fireworks code, clarifying code written years ago for state-wide consistency. Issues like these are the ones I enjoy most: maintaining safety while helping small business.

Until next week….

Meeting with STEM


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