The View from Here
The first week of February started with Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation caucus. I was not aware most other states do not go through the process of speeches for candidates on caucus night and I am again impressed with how diligent we are at really knowing the candidates. Iowa is not a state “driven by media.”
We had a short week in Des Moines with caucus Monday and a storm on Tuesday. The chambers saw lots of legislators pouring over bills as we hustle to get them submitted and assigned to a committee before the Feb. 19 funnel date.
This week the House sent us a bill to couple Iowa with Federal laws providing for Sec. 179 depreciation for farmers/businesses. Not coupling may give the state a one year bump in revenue, but it would all be eaten up in the following years. Not coupling would also hurt not just farmers, but all businesses that rely on sales to farmers. Businesses that sell feed, seed, fertilizer, machinery and other inputs are all hurting this year. Not coupling would most likely hurt them even more and lead to less revenue in 2017. Making coupling permanent would give those running businesses the ability to plan their purchases based on reliable rules. It remains to be seen if Democrats in the Senate will allow the coupling bill to come to the floor for a vote.
I expect that the Senate will be debating an education funding bill early in the week of Feb. 8-12. I have been impressed that school administrators have been fairly understanding of our inability to give schools a large increase in funding. They know that even at 2 percent growth schools are getting more of an increase in funding than almost any other state program. I would like to see this issue settled this week so schools will know how to budget.
On the subject of schools, I just read of an interesting case in the Supreme Court regarding schools. In 1831 Stephen Girard left over $7 million dollars to build a school for orphans in Philadelphia. He specified that no missionary or minister of any denomination could ever be admitted or even visit on the premises. Daniel Webster argued the case and in the end all parties agreed. The plaintiff’s lawyers said that education without Christianity was “repugnant,” the city’s lawyers had declared it “obnoxious,” and the Supreme Court said it couldn’t be permitted—that Biblical and Christian principles must be taught in schools. The Court stated, “Where can the purist principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? Where are benevolence, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry so powerfully and irresistibly inculcated as in the Sacred Volume?” Vidal vs. Girard’s Executors 1844.
In contrast, today’s government seems to promote not a religiously neutral environment, but a godless one.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these or any issues. I will have town hall meetings on Feb.12 in Forest City, 8:30 AM at Salvesen Hall, Lake Mills, 10:30 at the Mill’s Theater, and Buffalo Center, 12:30 at the Heritage Town Center. On Feb. 20 I will be in Algona at the Public Library at 10:00 AM. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 641-430-0424.
Thanks for the opportunity to represent you in the Iowa Legislature!