|On Tuesday, I loved seeing two FFA groups from our district visit us at the Capitol! It was so incredible talking to the students who are actively pursuing leadership responsibilities through the FFA program. This week, the Mount Pleasant FFA and the North Mahaska FFA chapters visited. Each year I ask the students who grew up on a farm or have an ag background and I am always amazed how many students are in FFA with no ag background! I love this! It is a great example how out Ag industry in Iowa has marketed themselves to all Iowans about the GREAT careers in Iowa in the ag industry!
There certainly was more discussion on AEAs this week. In my previous newsletter I highlighted how the AEA system is in need to become more efficient and the administrative bloat that weighs down the AEA system needs addressed. As a business owner, I understand that changes sometimes need to be made to increase the efficiency of any system. Assistance to students with disabilities must improve as well and certainly more conversation will be had on these issues.
For those of you who know me, you know how much I am against speed cameras (or what I refer to as “revenue generators”) that are popping up all over the state. There are several bills alive right now with different approaches addressing the out of control placement of these “revenue generators” throughout the state. Some of the bills regulate them and some of the bills ban them. Whatever approach we take, it’s time to get it addressed!
- These are “revenue generators” because the ticket is NOT issues to the person at fault, rather to the car owner. It should NOT be the responsibility of the car owner to make whoever was driving the car pay the fine, that responsibility should be on the law enforcement agency that is issuing the ticket.
- These are “revenue generators” because the way the ticket is issued, they are not traffic violations. Therefore they do not have to follow the scheduled fine structure that is in place by state law. The state has a scale as to the maximum a fine for a speeding ticket can be charged at various intervals (5-10 MPH over, 11-20 MPH, etc….). Since these “revenue generators” do not have to follow state law, more often than not the fine from these “revenue generators” is double what state law allows!
- These are “revenue generators” because I have seen tickets that have been issued at 1 MPH over the limit. Find me a law enforcement official who has written a ticket at 1 MPH over.
- These are “revenue generators” because over a year ago on behalf of the Iowa Senate Transportation committee, I requested the data (number of tickets, revenue generated, crash data, etc) from every community that has these “revenue generators”, and only 1 community provided the data. They must be afraid of us seeing how much revenue these are generating!
- These are “revenue generators” because the most profitable ones in the state are ALWAYS placed on state or federal highways, rarely on city owned streets. If the taxpayer of the state is paying for and maintaining the road, why isn’t the state getting the income from the “revenue generators” that are being placed on the road?
- These are “revenue generators” because the City of Prairie City (just one example of MANY) has earned $3.4 MILLION in just over a year off of their cameras, with nearly all of that revenue coming from the camera on Hwy 163 (which is a state road). One can argue the safety issue concerning these “revenue generators” however there is no common sense argument to justify how citizens in the entire state should be subsidizing new tennis courts, new fire station, new water system, paving roads, etc. in Prairie City so that their residents don’t have to.
I serve on the Senate Ways and Means committee and this week we released two proposals to ensure tax relief for Iowans. The first proposal will lower corporate and individual income taxes. The second is a constitutional amendment which requires a two-thirds majority to increase taxes.
Since Republicans took the majority, we have consistently been putting money away into the taxpayer relief fund. While states such as Minnesota have been running up massive deficits, Iowa has a massive budget surplus. The logical thing to do with these funds is to give the money back to the taxpayers and that is what we intend to do! The constitutional amendment is a GREAT idea because it ensures that regardless of the political direction Iowa goes in the future, the citizens and their tax dollars will be protected in the Iowa constitution.
Lastly, I had the opportunity to go to catch up with Henry County Sheriff, Rich McNamme at the Iowa Sheriffs Association Legislative Reception. While we chatted about issues this session that are of importance to the law enforcement community, we also had a few minutes to share stories with others from our trip this fall when we visited the Texas border.
I’m proud to stand by our brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives to protect us! It is because of them that I proudly stood by Governor Reynolds’s Back the Blue Bill which became law in 2021. As a volunteer fire fighter for 32 years, I could not be more grateful for the work of the law enforcement community!