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 Statehouse News

Dear %%First Name%%,

Today I voted yes on a bill that passed out of the Education Committee that requires the Department of Education to establish a task force on dyslexia.  A report to the General Assembly by November 15, 2019 is requested.  Student screening, intervention, teacher preparation, professional development, classroom accommodation, and assistive technology will all be considered.  UNI (higher learning institution with expertise in dyslexia reading instruction) will be part of the working group.  They have the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy having expertise in dyslexia and reading instruction.  The American Academy of Pediatrics states that dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting up to 20% of individuals.  It can be remediated with appropriate teaching methods.

I am very concerned about the possibility of losing property tax backfill for our towns and counties.  In 2013 the state required local taxing authority to reduce property tax on commercial and industrial property.   This local revenue loss has been made up through state backfill.  The state has spent more than it has taken in the last two years and majority leadership is trying to find ways to balance the budget.  Fewer city and county services might be the result.  Raising personal property tax might also be a result.  Both are not good.

It was good to see many of my friends from Davis County, Van Buren County and Jefferson County at the Capitol this week.  I visited with county supervisors, other county officers and the Iowa Cattlemen from southeast Iowa.  It is always good to listen to people from my home district.  

On Tuesday, March 13, 2018, Representative Phil Miller welcomed to the Statehouse Dr. Ray Woody, who is a retired veterinarian and is one of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation Directors and John Sandbothe of Fairfield with Farm Bureau.

On Tuesday, March 13, 2018, Representative Phil Miller met with Alicia Bales, of Van Buren County  and Rachel Engwall of Jefferson County. Both are on their county Soil and Water Conservation Boards.

Representative Phil Miller and his wife Connie met with Queen Bee Tracy Rule, volunteer for the Iowa Honey Producers Association, at the Capitol on March 14, 2018.

Representative Phil Miller met with Matthew Lindenberg, Tony Camero, Kesha Nelson, and Mayor Ed Malloy all of Fairfield at the Iowa Statehouse.

Ron Haines of Fairfield with Midwest One Bank came to the Statehouse this week to visit with Representative Phil Miller.

The Iowa Cattlemen's Association was at the Statehouse on Thursday. Representative Phil Miller was visited by Leonard Harris of Moulton, Dennis Clarahan of Harper, Steve Kisling of Keosauqua and Dan Delaney of Fairfield.

News from the Statehouse

Workforce Training Legislation Passes Iowa House

Iowa currently faces a skills gap. That’s because there are not enough workers possessing the needed skills for the jobs available.  Right now, 55% of jobs available in Iowa are middle skill jobs. These jobs require more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree; they require an associate’s degree, a training certificate, or an apprenticeship. However, only 32% of our workforce has this skill set.  

Bi-partisan legislation approved this week seeks to remedy this problem. The Future Ready Iowa legislation brings forward the recommendations of the Future Ready Alliance with the goal of having 70% of Iowa’s workforce with education or training beyond high school by the year 2025.  

The legislation creates a new apprenticeship program under the Economic Development Authority designed to incentivize small and medium sized apprenticeship programs to create new or more apprenticeships.  The bill also creates a volunteer mentor program; a summer youth intern pilot program for at-risk youth; an Iowa Employer Innovation Program focused on training for high demand jobs; and a Future Ready Iowa Skilled Workforce Grant Program for state universities or accredited private colleges. Additionally, the legislation directs the Department of Workforce Development and area community colleges to identify and create a list of high demand jobs for these programs.

While the bill is a good first step, many lawmakers are concerned there will be no money to implement the bill.  HF 2458 now moves on to the Senate for further consideration.

Prevention of Food Shaming in Schools

Under a bill passed by the Iowa House, Iowa schools are no longer allowed to do actions that humiliate or “shame” a student because they cannot pay for their meal. Those actions include:

•    Requiring the student to consume the meal at a table set aside for students who owe a meal debt.
•    Have a student discard a meal after it has been served.
•    Require a student to wear a wrist band, hand stamp, or other identifying marks, or do chores or work to pay for their meal.  
•    Denying participation in afterschool program or other extracurricular activities.

Schools are currently required to offer assistance to parents or guardians once a year in filling out Free and Reduced Lunch forms.  Due to changing economic circumstances, this would now be required twice a year.

Some schools have set up a private account and accept donations to help pay for school lunch debt.  The bill prevents the school from using those funds for another purpose (which has also happened in Iowa).  

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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)

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

New Law to Protect Iowans at Gas Pumps and ATMS
State Budget Still Out of Balance
Prevention of Food Shaming in Schools
Small Steps Taken to Fix the Medicaid Mess
Voter Regulations Create Problems
Educators to Now Receive Suicide Prevention Training
House Advances Bill to Give Driver’s Licenses Back to Iowans
Sign Language Included as a World Language Offered in High School

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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