Whitver Announces Committee Chairs

Today, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Grimes, announced the Iowa Senate committee chairs for the 90th General Assembly.

“The first supermajority in the Iowa Senate in 5 decades is ready to deliver results for Iowans,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver. “I am eager to get to work with my fellow Republican Senators to help Iowans combat inflation, reduce barriers to job creation, and continue to implement our historic income tax cuts.”

Agriculture 

Senator Dawn Driscoll, R-Williamsburg

Appropriations

Senator Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Ft. Dodge

Commerce

Senator Waylon Brown, R-Osage

Education

Senator Ken Rozenboom, R-Pella

Ethics

Senator Tom Shipley, R-Nodaway

Government Oversight

Senator Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton

Health and Human Services (Human Resources has been renamed Health and Human Services)

Senator Jeff Edler, R-State Center

Judiciary

Senator Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale

Local Government

Senator Jesse Green, R-Boone

Natural Resources and Environment

Senator Annette Sweeney, R-Alden

Rules and Administration

Senator Jack Whitver

State Government

Senator Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig

Technology (The Technology Committee will focus on information technology, telecommunications, cybersecurity, and other related policies.)  

Senator Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire

Transportation

Senator Mike Klimesh, R-Spillville

Veterans Affairs

Senator Jeff Reichman, R-Montrose

Ways and Means

Senator Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs

Workforce (the Labor Committee has been renamed the Workforce Committee)

Senator Adrian Dickey, R-Packwood 

Appropriations Subcommittees

Administration and Regulation

Senator Dave Rowley, R-Spirit Lake

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Senator Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan

Education

Senator Jeff Taylor, R-Sioux Center

Economic Development

Senator Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine

Health and Human Services 

Senator Mark Costello, R-Imogene

Justice Systems

Senator Julian Garrett, R-Indianola

Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals

Senator Carrie Koelker, R-Dyersville

Other Committee Chair Assignments

Administrative Rules Review

Senator Mike Klimesh, vice chair

International Relations

Senator Annette Sweeney, vice chair

Whitver Reelected Senate Majority Leader

Sinclair chosen as Senate President-select to help lead GOP supermajority

Senate Republicans reelected Jack Whitver, R-Grimes, as Majority Leader. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, was chosen as President-select of the Iowa Senate for the 90th General Assembly. 

“Leading this caucus is a great honor and privilege,” said Senator Whitver. “I am humbled to be reelected as the Senate Majority Leader for the Iowa Senate and lead one of the most productive and conservative caucuses in the country. I am proud of the accomplishments we have had over the last several years, like historic tax reform, controlling spending, and supporting law enforcement. I look forward to working on important issues facing our state.”

Senator Whitver was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2011. Through his tenure in the Iowa Senate, he has held leadership positions including Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee and Republican Whip. After the November 2016 election, when Republicans gained control of the Iowa Senate, Senator Whitver was elected as the Iowa Senate President by his colleagues. In March 2018 he became Senate Majority Leader.

“I thank my colleagues for the opportunity to be the President of the Iowa Senate,” said Senator Sinclair. “This role is critical to the success of our caucus and the Senate as a whole. I appreciate the trust they have put in me, and I look forward to continuing the progress we have made to make Iowa the best state in the country.”   

Senator Sinclair was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2013. She has served as the Majority Whip since 2018 and served as the chair of the Senate Education Committee. She has also been a member of several important committees in the Senate, such as Ways and Means, Commerce, and Judiciary.

Closing Remarks from Senate Majority Leader Whitver

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, released closing remarks at the end of the 2022 Iowa Legislative Session as prepared for delivery:

Friends and colleagues, 

I want to start by simply thanking everyone for their hard work this year. Senators, staff, and pages. Thank you for your service to Iowa.

Traditionally, the end of session speech recaps the session just completed. However, this year I want to take a look at the last two years of accomplishments. The 89th General Assembly will go down as one of the most productive and exceptional General Assemblies in Iowa history. It will also go down as one of the most successful.

We took our seats in this chamber in January of 2021, 9 months into the first worldwide pandemic in 100 years. It was a time of hardship for many people. It was a time of great uncertainty. It was a time of great stress for so many Iowans. 

It was also a difficult time to legislate. The issues facing us were issues none of us ever expected to address in our years in the Senate. Issues we don’t consider when we decided to run for office. Issues like pandemics, vaccine policies, mask requirements, or lockdowns.  

It was a time that needed strong leadership. It needed smart leadership. And it needed good leadership.

That leadership was provided by Governor Reynolds through the summer and fall of 2020 when we were not in session.

But when the legislature returned in January of 2021, it was time to get to work WITH the governor to legislate solutions to the issues in front of us. While most governors around the country continued to govern through executive orders, this caucus and this legislature sat down and worked WITH our governor to pass the necessary LEGISLATION to move this state forward. We worked together to lead this state through the challenges brought by the pandemic in a way consistent with the founding principles of this republic. 

In January of 2021, the hottest issue in the state was: Should our kids go to school? As liberal school boards literally locked our kids out of school or forced our students into part time school, the Republicans in the legislature stood up and passed one of the first laws in the country saying that no matter where you live, no matter which school you attend… if you want your kids in school, they have the option to go to school 100% of the time in Iowa.

History may look back at this decision as an obvious decision… the easy solution.

It wasn’t that easy. Education unions decried the common-sense solution of giving parents and students the option of being in school in person full time. Only a handful of states had the courage and ability to step up and pass legislation to ensure our kids were in school. We were one of them. 32 Republicans in this chamber stood up for our kids to make sure our kids were being educated. Every Democrat voted NO! 

As liberal cities and states across the country rushed to DEFUND THE POLICE, Iowa did the opposite. Common sense will tell you that if you defund the police, you will see an increase in crime. This legislature passed one of the most comprehensive Back the Blue bills in the entire country. In Iowa, our law enforcement officers know – when they have our back, we have their back! 32 Republican senators voted to support our law enforcement. Every single Democrat voted NO! 

The covid pandemic was also a very difficult for state budgets across the country. A shutdown of the economy for several months naturally had a tremendous impact on our state revenues.

Because of the hard work done by Republicans in the Iowa Legislature on our state budget over the past few years, our finances were strong in March of 2020. The Council of State Governments analyzed every state fiscal situation in March of 2020, and Iowa ranked as the state best prepared to weather the pandemic financially.

If that wasn’t enough, because of the decisions made by the governor and this legislature, Iowa opened back up and we were named by Wallet Hub as the one of the fastest states to recover from the pandemic.

Our strong fiscal conservatism has led to record surpluses, record balances in our rainy day funds, and a record amount in our taxpayer relief fund. This year we promised to do what every government should do when it has too much taxpayer money. 

Our Ways and Means committee got to work! In 2021, we passed one of the biggest tax reform bills in history. We expedited income tax cuts, we eliminated the death tax in Iowa, and we made good on our promise to fund mental health, while reducing property taxes.

This tax bill would be historic in any normal General Assembly. But continued growth and surpluses positioned us to enact another tax cut. This time the biggest income tax cut in state history! We began our Republican trifecta with a tax rate of 8.9%. This legislature has reduced that rate to 3.9%!

Over the last two years, we have seen relentless government overreach in a way few of us ever could imagine. At every turn, we have had Iowans’ backs.

When cities and states across the country were implementing vaccine passports, this legislature stood up to support Iowans. We passed a ban on vaccine passports so Iowans would not be shut out of local businesses due to their personal medical decisions. 

When schools continued with unnecessary mask mandates that took power out of parents’ hands and defied common sense, we were there for our students. Iowa was one of only a few states to pass a mask mandate ban in our schools. 

When the Biden Administration imposed vaccine mandates on millions of employees, we again stood up for Iowa employees and passed a bill last fall to ensure that Iowans would be protected against these unconstitutional mandates.

If there is one thing that I would tell Iowans about the 89th General Assembly…it is this: Republicans in the legislature have had your back. We made sure you kept more of what you earned. We made sure Iowans had the choice to wear a mask and whether to attend school full time. We protected Iowans against the non-stop government overreach by some cities, schools, and the federal government. We have had your back and we made sure common sense prevails in Iowa. 

This two-year General Assembly has been productive and historic. As we end this session and head out to talk with our constituents, we know our work is not done. Despite all we have accomplished, we have much more to do. This generational tax cut will be implemented over the next several years and a conservative, sustainable budget must accompany that tax relief.

In addition to implementing tax relief and sustainable budgets, more work remains to give Iowa parents a greater ability to direct their children’s education. Iowa has some excellent public schools but they don’t always work for every student. Putting parents first has been a theme for Senate Republicans for the last 6 years. From in-person learning, to choosing to wear a mask, and ensuring open enrollment exists for all Iowa students, we have led on empowering parents. We continued that work this year and we will continue to advance that goal next year.

The path forward is clear. I look forward to the next several months of communicating our positive, pro-growth message to Iowans. Followed by the 90th General Assembly when we will continue to deliver results for this great state.

Thank you Mr. President.

Whitver’s Remarks from Tax Bill Signing

Today, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, delivered remarks at the bill signing for HF 2317, the largest income tax cut in Iowa history. His remarks, as prepared for delivery are below:

“Good morning! Today is a great day in Iowa! And today is a historic day in Iowa as the governor signs the largest income tax cut in state history.

6 years ago, when Republicans won the Iowa Senate majority and therefore the trifecta at the capitol, we inherited one of the most complicated and punitive tax codes in the entire country.

We were 4th highest in the nation in individual income tax rates at 8.9%.

We were 50th in corporate tax rates – the highest in the nation in 2016.

But 6 years ago, we laid out a vision for Iowa, and more specifically a vision for tax reforms in Iowa. A vision where Iowa is a state that encourages work and encourages investment. A vision where retirees stay in Iowa to be close to their kids and grandkids. A vision of a tax code that is simple, flat and fair to Iowa taxpayers. HF 2317 brings that vision to life.

This bill reduces the individual income tax rate in Iowa to the 4th lowest rate in the country – saving the average taxpayer over $1300 per year. It eliminates taxes on retirement income in Iowa. And it begins to reform our outdated and job killing corporate tax code.

In this post pandemic economy, the competition is fierce for jobs and workers. This bill will ensure that Iowa will compete for those jobs and workers.

HF 2317 is the result of the hard work of so many people. Senator Dawson, who spent hundreds of hours working on tax policy that would make Iowa more competitive. Thank you for your time and effort to get this bill done!

Speaker Grassley and Representative Hein – thank you for your work on the House side to make this bill a priority for the House.

Governor Reynolds – thank you for your leadership on tax reform. In five years as governor, you have signed 3 historic tax cuts. This wouldn’t happen without the leadership from you and your office. 

Most importantly, today when the governor signs HF 2317, it will be making good on our promise to Iowans, a promise that when over collect tax dollars, we will return that money in the form of permanent, sustainable tax reductions to Iowans. Today is a great day in Iowa, and a great day for Iowa taxpayers. Thank you all for coming out, we are looking forward to seeing this vision signed into law.”

Iowa Senate Passes Largest Income Tax Cut in Iowa History

Today, the Iowa Senate passed the largest income tax cut in Iowa history.

“For years Senate Republicans have promised to provide income tax relief and today, we kept that promise again,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny. “This tax bill is the third major tax relief package the Senate has delivered in the last 4 years. A nearly $1.9 billion tax cut creates an environment for more career opportunities for Iowans, gives Iowans more of an incentive to rejoin the workforce, and helps Iowans weather the impact of record setting inflation created by the reckless policies coming from Washington, DC.”

HF 2317, when fully implemented, moves Iowa’s individual income tax rate from 8th highest rate in the country to the 4th lowest at a flat 3.9% rate. It exempts all pension income from state taxes, provides relief for retired farmers, and reforms corporate income taxes. It also provides for transfers from Taxpayer Relief Fund if revenues do not meet expectations.

“Today is truly a great day to be an Iowan,” said Senator Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs, and the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “We’ve heard the quote ‘Big government bureaucrats believe every day is April 15 and Senate Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July,’ and today feels like the Fourth of July as we celebrate this accomplishment of transformational tax relief for Iowa families. Cutting down Iowa’s tax rates to a flat tax is a huge step towards getting rid of the income tax in Iowa and will have a major impact on Iowans and their families. I am proud of the work we have done here and how far we have come, and proud to see this bill pass the Iowa Senate today.”

Opening Day Remarks of Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Below are the opening day remarks of Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, as prepared for delivery:

Mister President and colleagues of the Senate, 

The 2022 legislative session provides exciting opportunities for us as we continue our work to make Iowa the best state in the country – the best state to live, the best state to work, and the best state to raise your family. Recently, Iowa was rated as one of the best states for opportunity. We were named the state in the strongest position to withstand the Covid pandemic and we were also named the fastest state to recover from it. After 5 years of a Republican trifecta, Iowa’s success is no longer subjective – it’s objective.

In the five years since Republicans have had the majority in the Iowa Senate, we have enacted legislation to help Iowa grow and make the state better for those who call it home. The priority being tax relief for those hard-working people who make our state the great place it is. After implementing conservative, responsible budgeting practices, we passed truly historic income tax relief and we have continued to pass tax relief measures every year. We started as one of the states with the highest, most complicated income taxes in the country. Even after the measures we have taken, we have more work to do.

In a post pandemic economy, the competition is fierce for jobs and citizens. If policy makers want this state to grow, then we must be on the list of states with the lowest income tax in America. 

Census data from 2021 was released recently and it showed a dark picture for states with high tax rates, punitive regulations, and regular lockdowns. Look no farther than east of the Mississippi river to see a state lose more than 140,000 residents last year. High taxes, closed schools, and an oppressive government chase residents to other states. Just like Illinois, California and New York have all had a net loss of hundreds of thousands of residents. People are voting with their feet and with their wallets. They are moving to low tax, pro freedom states.

In an increasingly competitive and fluid economy, we must improve Iowa’s competitive advantage to attract new residents and create new career opportunities. We started down that path in 2017 by implementing sound, reliable, and sustainable budgets and maintained that discipline each year. We continued in 2018 by passing the largest income tax cut in Iowa history. In 2019 we approved property tax transparency and in 2021 we accelerated the 2018 tax cuts and eliminated a property tax levy.  All of that work has set the stage for another significant reduction in the income tax rates. 

We have almost a billion dollars in the rainy day funds. Another billion in the taxpayer trust fund. Another billion dollar projected surplus in this current budget year, and a huge structural surplus as we brought in almost a billion dollars more than we spent this year. 

In short, our policies are working and that success has led to an overcollection of taxes on hard working Iowans. When Republicans collect too much of your hard earned dollars, we will keep our promise to give it back. We must return that money to taxpayers in the form of major, permanent pro-growth tax reform. Iowans deserve a simpler, more transparent, and more competitive tax code. 

It is more important now than ever for Iowans to keep what they earn and be motivated to join the workforce so our economy can continue to grow. Cutting taxes is not only good for the hard-working Iowans who earned it, but also for small businesses paying that same rate. They have more money to invest and build their business. More money to reward employees with higher wages, attract new customers, and expand their opportunities. It makes Iowa more competitive with the states around us, and a more attractive place to live.

One of my colleagues has already been quoted as saying we are looking at building a 21st century model for our tax code, and that there is no reason we should settle for mediocrity. The tax code should not punish Iowans for wanting more in life, trying to provide more for your family, or getting a promotion at work. 

In addition to tax relief, Iowans from nearly every sector of the economy are looking for solutions to the demand for workforce. I would propose instead of creating another government program to fix a government-created problem, we get government out of the way and empower Iowans to solve the problem. Let’s make it easier to open and operate a child care facility in Iowa so Iowa parents who want to return to the workforce, can. Let’s eliminate outdated licensing requirements and make sure someone with the necessary training and skills can get to work sooner, without government-imposed delays. Let’s ensure Iowa’s public assistance programs are there for the truly needy and not a lifestyle option for healthy, capable Iowans. Let’s improve the tangible incentive to work by reducing income taxes on all Iowans. 

I am proud to be the leader of this caucus and proud of the accomplishments we have made so far. I am most proud because we deliver on the promises we make to Iowans. Promises like sustainable budgets, reliable funding for education, empowering parents in their children’s education and supporting law enforcement. 

We will not stop now. The Senate Republican agenda for this session is tax relief for Iowans, and we do not intend to waste the opportunity we have here with one-time checks. We are here to deliver real, permanent tax reform to give employers and families the confidence to know their work and investments will be worth the risk. 

You have all heard me say we shouldn’t be just thinking and working for next year, but for the next generation of Iowans, and the next generation after that. Nothing we do here is just for today. 

Colleagues, we begin the 2022 session with Iowa in the strongest position we have ever been. The 5 years of hard work, leadership by many of you in this room, and the patience for our policies to work, has given us a tremendous opportunity.

When given an opportunity, we must deliver. We must keep our promises to the voters who send us to the capitol. Promises that ensure that the next generation of Iowans is better off than we are. 

Few policies have shown more long-term growth impact than significant, permanent income tax cuts. Implementing pro-growth tax policy to make Iowa one of the fastest growing states in the country is policy that makes a generational difference. 

It is great to see everyone back at the Capitol. Let’s get to work. 

Opening Day Remarks of Senate President Jake Chapman

Below are the opening day remarks of Senate President Jake Chapman, R-Adel, as prepared for delivery:

Friends, family, colleagues, and to our newly-elected Senator, it is my honor to welcome you to the 2022 legislative session. I have always enjoyed the first day of session.  It’s a time in which friends and colleagues are reunited, hope and excitement flourishes, and optimism for the future resonates. 

Colleagues, the time has come for us to take a stand. It has become increasingly evident that we live in a world in which many, including our media, wish to confuse, misguide, and deceive us, calling good evil and evil good. One doesn’t have to look far to see the sinister agenda occurring right before our eyes. The attack on our children is no longer hidden.  Those who wish to normalize sexually deviant behavior against our children, including pedophilia and incest, are pushing this movement more than ever before.  Our children should be safe and free from this atrocious assault. Our students should be learning about science, and mathematics; they should be learning about engineering and innovation. Instead, some teachers are disguising sexually obscene material as desired subject matter and profess it has artistic and literary value. The literature being pushed on our students should disturb all of us and if you aren’t disturbed, I can only hope it is because you have not actually heard or seen the content.  Nobody, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or occupation has the right to expose children to obscene material. It is for that reason that this body should use this session to address this very issue. 

When students are subjected to this violating content, we need to ensure parents have the ability to protect their children by removing them from the district.  We can and must tear down the financial barriers that prevent parents from making this decision.  We must hold those who distribute this repulsive and criminal content to minors accountable. Let us not forget the quote on the first floor of this capitol which reads “nothing is politically right that is morally wrong.” In other words, we can’t be right by doing the wrong thing, and doing the right thing can never be wrong. 

Since 1973 nearly 70 million Americans have had their voices silenced. Their lives were taken in the so-called name of “choice.” We have courageously stood for and defended those who could not defend themselves. I am proud of the work done by this body to give a voice to the voiceless. As the United States Supreme Court takes up this important issue, we will stand ready to take whatever steps necessary to defend the dignity of life. 

Colleagues, because of your dedication to being fiscally responsible, we come into this legislative session with our economic reserves totally full.  Our revenues are at a historic all time high, and our ending fund balances are flourishing. This economic prosperity has come from sound fiscal policies and reducing taxes on Iowans.  When individual economic freedoms abound, economic prosperity follows. Yet, let’s not forget that there will be some who wish to spend this money on expanding government; our focus must be to return these dollars to the rightful owners – the taxpayers. Now is the time to take a bold stand. We have come a long way in reducing taxes on Iowans but it’s not enough. Let’s keep our eyes set on the total elimination of income taxes. Now is the time for action, now is the time to be bold! We cannot allow another year to go by sitting on the sidelines, while other states are aggressively reducing taxes.  This is the year to take action!

Lastly, may we always remember that the work we do here in this building will impact the lives of millions of Iowans and future generations to come. Let’s make 2022 a year to look back on with humility and thanksgiving for the bold stand we took to give greater freedom and liberty to Iowans, where we stood for parental choice in education, where we lifted the crushing weight of tax burdens on Iowans, and where we stood for what is right, even among those who call it wrong. Right is right, all of the time, and wrong is wrong, all of the time.  May this body choose to do what is right.  God has so richly blessed and prospered our state, may we recognize Him and His hand in all we do! May He continue to bless our great state and may He bless each of you throughout this session!

Closing Comments from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Mr. President, 

It is a tradition at the beginning of each legislative session for the Senate Majority Leader to lay out the vision for the upcoming session. In January I talked about the need to give parents an option to send their students to school for in-person learning and for us to continue our focus on creating a tax and regulatory environment to encourage work and investment. Policies designed to make this state a premier location in this country to work and raise a family.

Parents across the state were seeing their children struggle to stay engaged with remote learning. It quickly became apparent the quality of education through a screen just is not the same as education in person. The emails from frustrated parents began to trickle into our email boxes. The trickle became a stream and the stream a river. Parents knew their children needed to have a regular schedule of education and they needed the legislature to help.

The Education Committee quickly developed policy to implement a shared priority with the House of Representatives and the governor to give parents the option to send their children to school full time. Data from Iowa and across the country showed the deterioration of the academic performance of K-12 students. The decline was even worse amongst lower income children. After 9 months or more of intermittent or no in-person schooling, it was time for Iowa students to stop the erosion of their knowledge and skills and begin to recover and advance their education.

Education provides Iowa students the tools they need to compete for the careers of tomorrow in an ever-changing economy. The changes in the economy over the last 15 months highlighted the need for improved broadband service across the state as more and more Iowans worked from home, took classes from home, and even had doctor’s appointments from home. Iowa is ranked as one of the bottom states in the country in connectivity and broadband speeds and that problem needed a solution. Leaders of the Commerce Committee addressed the vital need for improved broadband services across the state with strong policy improvements. That policy was followed up by a $100 million commitment to improve this service.

The $100 million for broadband was made possible in part because of the tough but necessary choices on the state budget over the last four years. For the first two years in the majority Republicans were forced to implement mid-year budget cuts because spending was too high. After those years, the budget is now on solid footing and can sustain not only a global pandemic, but also can create opportunities to build the broadband infrastructure to further economic development in rural Iowa. 

That stable, reliable budget creates opportunities for tax relief and this year the tax relief will be significant. A robust housing market caused property assessments to rise by tens of thousands of dollars in some areas. The Senate responded with a $100 million property tax cut by eliminating the mental health levy and moving funding to the state budget. Uncertainty around the effective date of a major round of income tax cuts was eliminated. This relief will reduce the top rate in Iowa from an uncompetitive 8.53% to a more competitive 6.5%, along with implementing more simplicity into the tax code. This year’s tax cut package totals over $1 billion over the next 8 years. It also allows bonus depreciation so farmers and small business can continue to invest in their operations and create more opportunities in this state.

Finally, none of these opportunities will become a reality without the protection of the life and property of Iowans. This year the Senate led on implementing a number of protections for the people who keep us safe. Law enforcement will have protections enshrined in Iowa law for faithfully doing their jobs. They will have legal protections from dangerous and violent offenses against them like maliciously shining laser pointers in their eyes.

This session ran a little longer than normal. But as I’ve said many times, Senate Republicans come to Des Moines to do something, not be someone. We are happy to do the hard work necessary to provide certainty on income tax relief, property tax relief, make sure K-12 students can go to school full time, pass a reliable, sustainable budget, and defend law enforcement.

Iowa is the 2nd fastest state in the country to recover from the pandemic. Iowa has 65,000 job openings and 32,000 people looking for work. Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, great schools, a lowering tax burden, and an outstanding quality of life. 

Iowa is a great place to live and it’s only getting better.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Closing Comments from Senate President Jake Chapman

Mr. Majority Leader, Colleagues, and Fellow Iowans:

Let me begin by congratulating all of you on an incredible legislative session. It is a privilege and an honor to preside over the Senate. I have had the unique opportunity to observe all of you as we debate, discuss, and vote on legislation. In your eyes and facial expressions, I have seen joy, excitement, sorrow, disappointment, and perhaps even anger at times. These emotions are real, and are an outward expression of the love all of you have for our great state and her people.

In my opening day remarks I highlighted – that like the rest of America, Iowa has faced unprecedented times with a global pandemic. “Back to normal” has been the battle cry for many Iowans who want nothing more than to have their rights and liberties restored. I believed then, just as I believe now, that we have and will continue to strive for something much greater than returning to the days of the past. Iowa will have a better tomorrow because of the legislation enacted by this General Assembly.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of these accomplishments. Iowans can have confidence that with the passage of our election integrity legislation, our elections are safe and secure. We passed legislation that will allow law abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd amendment rights without asking the government for a permission slip. Districts, including Des Moines Public Schools, will no longer have the ability to force students to stay in their failing education system, and with the elimination of these diversity plans, will allow students to pursue a better education elsewhere. Legislation was passed to protect and defend our brave men and women who selflessly serve our communities as law enforcement officers; we are indeed grateful for their sacrifices.  We preserved Iowans’ freedom and ensured they would not be forced to show a covid-19 vaccine card to live out their lives.

Colleagues, we are also leaving this legislative session with a sound fiscal budget. We have learned from years past that overspending does not lead to prosperity but rather enslaves us by chains of indebtedness. Not only did we maintain a fiscally conservative budget, we passed a tax reduction bill of which we should all be proud. This legislation will provide over $1 billion dollars of tax relief over the next eight years. This legislation will provide property tax relief while also ensuring our highest income tax bracket is reduced to 6.5%. Lastly, Iowans will no longer be subjected to the horrible and irresponsible plunder tax known as the inheritance tax. 

I recently read a quote by Solon found near the stairwell on the 2nd floor of this beautiful capitol. The quote reads as follows,”The ideal state – that in which an injury done to the least of its citizens is an injury done to all.” Perhaps the greatest accomplishments are when we are able to protect those who are particularly vulnerable and who have been victimized by others. I was honored to run the legislation to lift the statutes of limitation for criminal prosecution for those who violate children. This law lifted the arbitrary deadline for victims to come forward in telling their story and seeking justice. One brave individual, Kimberly Gleason, courageously spent day after day sharing her story, educating, and advocating for this legislation. “Kimberly’s Law” will undoubtedly help countless individuals into the future and is a great example that the power of one is limitless. Colleagues, more can and will need to be done to protect our children!

It was also necessary for this body to correct a feckless and negligent judicial decision that aimed to re-write our constitution. When our courts usurp “the people” by using the power of the gavel to rewrite our constitution, this legislature will take action. The Senate and House came together to propose a constitutional amendment that will reassert that it is “the people” of Iowa, not unelected judges who will ultimately decide what changes our constitution will undergo.   

Colleagues, we leave this legislative session with much optimism, optimism that we made a difference and optimism for a promising future. Though more work is needed, we can be assured that Iowans will wake to a much brighter tomorrow because of the work and sacrifice of this general assembly. May God continue to richly bless our great state and her people.

Senate Passes Income, Property, and Small Business Tax Cuts

The Iowa Senate passed SF 619, a broad agreement to reduce the tax burden in Iowa. This bill passed with bi-partisan support, 29-15. It now goes to the House of Representatives for their consideration. The bill is expected to save taxpayers over $1 billion over the next 8 years. 

“Today, the Iowa Senate made Iowa more competitive. Reducing the top income tax rate to 6.5% means Iowa families will keep more of the money they earn. Lower income tax rates make this state more attractive to small business and people looking for a new home,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R – Ankeny. “Phasing out the inheritance tax ends the unjust practice of taxing the dead. Eliminating the mental health levy finally provides actual property tax relief for Iowans. Iowans asked for tax relief and the Iowa Senate has answered those calls.” 

“Senate Republicans promised bold tax reform when the session started in January and this bill delivered,” said Senator Dan Dawson, R – Council Bluffs, chair of the Ways and Means Committee. “This bill includes eliminating the tax triggers, eliminating the inheritance tax, provides tax relief for small business, and provides tax cuts for Iowa families. Senate File 619 is the tax bill Iowans deserve and I am proud to have it pass the Iowa Senate.”