Editor's note: Every other Sunday through the conclusion of this year's session of the Iowa Legislature, our local lawmakers will share their Statehouse views.
Rep. Jacob Bossman, R-Sioux City
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of House District 6 for another term. I have been elected by my colleagues to serve as an assistant majority leader and was appointed vice chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. I will also serve on the State Government, Local Government and Administration & Rules committees and the Justice System Appropriations subcommittee.
I expect many important issues to be discussed and debated this session, but, for me, everything will be viewed through the lens of workforce - and more specifically, the worker shortage created by record low unemployment.
Our state has been very successful at recruiting businesses, encouraging growth, expansion and job creation. However, that growth is followed by workforce needs, which is then followed by structural stresses: Where will these workers live? Who will provide the child care? What new transportation infrastructure and public transportation is needed? That is where we are now, and that’s exactly what I have heard from businesses throughout Siouxland. They need workers, but they also need help eliminating some of those barriers to the workforce for their current and future employees.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to have robust discussions about child care, job training, workforce housing and more. We are beginning to identify some of those barriers; next we must address them.
Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City
Greetings from the Capitol.
The 88th General Assembly kicked off on Jan. 14 for the 2019 legislative session. We heard an optimistic message from Gov. Kim Reynolds in her Condition of the State speech. Her agenda focuses on education, workforce development and new initiatives to empower rural Iowa.
Her budget allocates $111 million in new money for K-12 education and our Regent universities. It also includes $20 million to fund her Future Ready Iowa initiatives.
The governor spoke of one of our biggest challenges: how do we keep young people in rural Iowa? She proposed $20 million in broadband infrastructure funding which she has leveraged to obtain a private sector investment of $120 million.
I have introduced legislation for a pilot program to bring staffed telemedicine platforms to rural Iowa towns. It will foster access to health care by connecting people in outlying areas to physicians in municipal area hospitals.
You will see some movement on property tax reform, according to Sen. Randy Feenstra, chair of the Ways and Means Committee. President of the Senate, Charles Schneider, also specifically mentioned the necessity of giving property tax relief to our fixed-income seniors in his opening address. It is something I have long advocated for and am very optimistic will get done this year.
I have proposed a work-study task force to assess the implications of federally mandated IEP behavior placements on our teachers, students and quality of education. Teacher participation will be a big part of recommendations made to our federal legislators.
You can expect a results-driven, productive year.
The best legislation comes from your input, ideas and creativity. Please feel free to contact me by phone or email on the legislative website. It is an honor to serve you.
Rep. Tim Kacena, D-Sioux City
Good Sunday to you all.
The 88th General Assembly gaveled in on Jan. 14 with the swearing-in of the legislators and the election of the Iowa House leadership. The majority party had no change, while the minority party elected Rep. Todd Prichard from Charles City to replace Rep. Mark Smith from Marshalltown as House minority leader.
The remainder of the week was filled up by Gov. Kim Reynolds’ State of the State address, Chief Justice Mark Cady’s State of Justice address and General Timothy Orr’s address on the State of the Iowa National Guard. All three addresses were matter of fact and full of optimism. The one statement that stuck with me the most came from Chief Justice Cady when he said, “While there is a need for incarceration, most people just need help.”
As we work through this legislative year, it is imperative that legislation passed is in a framework that helps people and does no harm.
This year, I will be working on the following committees: Public Safety (ranking chair), Veterans Affairs, Labor, Local Government and Justice Appropriations. I look forward to working on bipartisan legislation that will help all Iowans while making sure our voice is heard from Siouxland on issues that will directly affect the citizens of Sioux City and House District 14.
I’m happy to welcome my third granddaughter, Alice Lane, as the newest member of my family, who was born on Jan. 24.
There will be more details of legislation I am working on soon as the legislative session continues. Please email, call or visit me at the Capitol to share your concerns and issue priorities.
Sen. Jackie Smith, D-Sioux City
My first couple weeks have been quite the learning experience. The 2019 legislative session gaveled in on Jan. 14. It’s an honor to be in the Iowa Senate representing the people of Sioux City.
My focus is moving Iowa forward. We can start by strengthening Iowa’s mental health system; improving our lakes, rivers and drinking water; and expanding job-training opportunities that meet the needs of workers, employers and communities.
State government needs to be an active advocate for strengthening our economy and making Iowa a place where people want to live and invest. That’s why I’m especially looking forward to my work on the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
I’ll also serve on the Education Committee, Natural Resources and Environment Committee, Transportation Committee, and the Local Government Committee, on which I am a ranking member.
I filed my first bill in the Iowa Senate last week. Senate File 95 would repeal state law preventing cities and counties from establishing better wages, employment benefits and other standards than what are required by federal or state law.
My bill is in response to extensive actions by Statehouse Republicans since 2017 to block city and county ordinances.
Local officials have expressed frustration and a sense of powerlessness in their own communities, as a result. Each Iowa community has different needs, depending on its size, location and economy. Local leaders are often in the best position to assess and respond to those unique needs. My bill reflects that wisdom and puts power back into the hands of those who know best.
For example, several local governments in Iowa had adopted minimum wage standards that are higher than $7.25. Republican laws over the past two years rescinded those local changes. SF 95 would bring back those local pay increases, which would mean a bigger paycheck for 36,000 Iowans.
Over the last two years at the Statehouse, everyday Iowans — including seniors, students, workers and women — have been pushed to the back of the line in favor of millionaires and big corporations. That’s been a big mistake.
I’m prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats on initiatives that help all Iowans, while opposing special-interest legislation that does not. In order to do that, I need to hear from you. I want to know your concerns and ideas, and what you think about the direction Iowa is headed. You can call me at the Statehouse at 515-281-3371, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also encourage you to follow what I am doing throughout session. If you’d like to subscribe to my legislative e-newsletter, please send me an email and I will sign you up. It will cover what’s happening at the Statehouse, key bills in the State Senate, local forums and listening posts, news and resources for Sioux City, my latest photos, and more.