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 Statehouse News

Dear %%First Name%%,

Our days start early and sessions now often run into the night, since the volume of bills has increased.   The House passed a bill last night that changes the way county supervisors are elected in counties with populations of 60,000 and above.  The bill prohibits election at large and requires counties to be split into districts for election of supervisors.  I voted against this bill because I believe local control is best.  We should let the voters in counties decide how they want to elect their county officials.  

A bill to end the Praxis II test for teacher licensure has been passed.  I voted no.  I believe the teaching profession is better because of standards and certain minimum requirements.  New college graduates wanting to enter the teaching profession in Iowa currently must pass this test to measure content knowledge and pedagogy (how you teach).  The majority party argued this test keeps some from entering the teaching profession.  I think this bill is a step backwards, we need to hire the best and brightest to teach our children.

I voted yes on a bill that will help contain the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in elk and deer.  The bill designates the DNR as the agency in charge of diseases in wild animals.  The bill establishes regulations on imported deer meat from states and provinces with chronic wasting disease.
It’s a pleasure to talk to you when you come and visit the Capitol.  Each day there are friends from my district that come to Des Moines and share with me their stories.  I continue to work hard for you.

Gift to Iowa’s Future Recognition Day event was at the Statehouse on Monday, March 5. Larry and Laura Miller were recognized by the Department of Natural Resources for donating land to benefit Iowa’s parks, trails, fish and wildlife habitat, natural areas, open spaces, and public recreation areas and for other public uses and benefits.  Thank you Larry and Laura for your generous contribution!

Dr. Sean Brodale of Bloomfield and Leah McWilliams, Executive Director with Iowa Osteopathic Association was at the Statehouse on Monday to visit with Representative Phil Miller.

News from the Statehouse

Republican Tax Plans to be Debated

The Legislature is considering several tax proposals this year.  Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a $1 billion tax bill, Senate File 2383, and sent it to the House for consideration.  The bill was introduced and passed the Senate in less than a week.  The House held a meeting to discuss a different plan offered by the Governor.

House Democrats have developed three common sense principles that should be applied to all tax bills in the Legislature this year.  The first is that the state must balance the budget.  Considering the state’s current budget problems that include mid-year budget cuts, any new tax bill must not burden the state with more budget problems or debt.  Republicans were forced to put $144 million on the state’s credit card last year because of budget mismanagement and the state cannot afford to borrow more money to pay for a new round of tax breaks.

Second, any tax plan must be fair and simple for all Iowans.  Both of these bills favor the wealthy and special interests while providing very little actual relief for everyday Iowans.  The Senate bill goes so far as to end several tax credits for regular Iowans, including the $100 tax credit for volunteer fire fighters and emergency responders.  

Finally, any tax reform must provide relief to the middle class.  These bills provide few incentives for working Iowans and, according to the nonpartisan fiscal analysis, the Senate proposal would actually increase taxes or provide no relief for one third of all Iowans.  In addition, the hundreds of millions in lost revenue under these bills would lead to increased property taxes, higher tuitions at state universities, and a reduction of services that many Iowans rely on.

These tax plans will remove hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget each year.  In other states, such as Kansas, this has led to cuts in services and reversing parts of the tax cuts.  House Democrats have offered proposals to help reform the state’s corporate tax giveaways but none of the options have even been considered by Republicans. 

Fallen Officers Children and Spouses Health Care   

Many men and women across Iowa who are sworn peace officers put their lives on the line every day for the protection of the citizens of this state. They are often called into situations that put them in grave danger and some pay the ultimate sacrifice, by giving their life for their community.

There are also sacrifices that a whole family makes, by being the spouse or child of a peace officer, and when the unthinkable happens the family is thrown into a chaotic situation. Dealing with the loss of a spouse or parent is incredibly difficult, especially when that loss happens in a tragic situation. A family of a peace officer should not have to worry if they can go to the doctor or how they are going to take care of a sick child, in the time of a tragedy.

The legislature recently took a huge step in providing some relief for a spouse or child of a peace officer who is killed in the line of duty by allowing them to maintain their health coverage of the peace officer. A child is allowed to maintain their coverage until the age of 26 and the surviving spouse until they become Medicare eligible or if they remarry and remain married.

Upcoming Events

March 17--Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Best Western, 2200 W Burlington Ave

March 24-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St (CANCELLED DUE TO COUNTY CONVENTIONS)

March 24-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison (CANCELLED DUE TO COUNTY CONVENTIONS)

March 24--Democratic County Conventions- To find your location go to:

April 21-- Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Best Western, 2200 W Burlington Ave

April 28th-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St
April 28th-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison

More News from the Statehouse

Working to Reduce Gun Violence
House Addresses Concussions in Student Sports
Changes to Teacher Preparation Requirements
Greater Flexibility in School Funding
Budget Group Gives Presentation to House Committee
Preventative Action Taken on Chronic Wasting Disease

Contact Representative Phil Miller

1009 Grand Ave
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
902 S. Suncrest Drive
Fairfield, IA 52556
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