Collins Capital Connection


To the People of House District 95


My third week at the capitol is officially under my belt as the subcommittee and committee process continues to move bills towards the Governor’s desk. This week I ran my first bills out of committee, the final process before the bill is considered before the full House of Representatives.


Providing Choice to Parents AND Keeping Public Schools Strong

On Monday, the House passed the Governor’s school choice proposal and on Tuesday, the Governor signed the bill into law. As mentioned in previous newsletters, under this proposal, the state will contribute $7,598 to an educational savings account for parents who need an educational option outside of their local public schools. As I previously mentioned, $1,205 per student attending a private school in the district of residence would be allocated to the local public school. One piece of this bill that is getting lost in the debate though is the new spending flexibility for public schools. Under this new law, public schools will be able to take the money previously allocated specifically for programs like Teacher Leadership and use them instead to raise teacher salaries. In my district alone, that amounts to about $1.92 Million that could be used to boost teacher salaries. I along with some other rural legislators were also able to amend the Governor’s proposal to extend operational sharing for school districts through 2034. This is a critical function for rural school districts, and our area superintendents were pleased to hear of the extension when I touched base with many of them last week as the conversations with regard to education in Iowa continue.


Rural Emergency Hospital Legislation Advances 

This week, the House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed House File 13, a bill to license Rural Emergency Hospitals in Iowa. This is a priority bill of the Iowa House Republicans to ensure access to emergency care in rural areas. Federal law created this designation in 2020, and has allowed this new hospital designation to begin January 1, 2023. In order for the state to allow a hospital to convert to a Rural Emergency Hospital, the state must license these facilities as a health care facility that maintains a 24-hour emergency room, but does not include acute inpatient care. Rural Emergency Hospitals receive different reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid than other hospitals, based on the federal law. This includes quarterly payments from the Centers of Medicaid & Medicaid Services and an additional five percent increase to reimbursement for health care services. As many of you know, the Keokuk Area Hospital recently closed in Lee County. This bill would allow for that hospital to reopen as a Rural Emergency Hospital, and this bill waives the requirement for a certificate of need for that hospital.


AG Bird Joins Fight Against Illegal Immigration

Attorney General Brenna Bird took office in early January and is hard at work protecting Iowans. On January 24th, AG Bird joined a multistate lawsuit against the Biden Administration and the Department of Homeland Security in opposition to a “parole” program that allows hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to cross the United States border each year. DHS announced that 360,000 individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela would be allowed to enter the United States and apply for lawful status after they have been in the country for two years. This program creates a new visa, without authorization from Congress. In normal instances, Congressional action would be required since DHS power is limited to urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit on a case-by-case basis. Granting broad entry and potential citizenship to almost all these people is a violation of DHS powers. Texas is leading this lawsuit with the assistance of 19 other states.


Highway 61 Entrance / Driveways

Last week I had some outreach with regard to the width of highway entrances / driveways along the new Highway 61 north of Burlington. After hearing about the issue I made sure to reach out to the DOT to understand their policy to make sure farmers have the room they need to turn equipment off or on the roadway. The DOT clarified that their standards are a 20-foot individual access point (entrance / driveway width) and 24-foot joint access point (entrance / driveway width). If there’s a entrance / driveway that are not up to those standards, please continue to let me know!


Legislative Forums

My next set of legislative forums with Senator Lofgren will be Saturday, February 4th. The first one being at 9:00AM at Wilton City Hall, and the second one being at 11:00AM at Wapello City Hall. I would love to see you there!


Rep. Taylor Collins



During the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, we listened and asked questions of Director John Benson, Director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management about the needs of Iowa Levee systems on the both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.



This week I chaired the subcommittee and ran out of committee HF41 to further the discussion on student transportation for sending and receiving school districts. I was joined by Representative Johnson (Left).
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