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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community
March 23, 2018

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This week Senate members started out with some disappointing news. However, our ability to swiftly and efficiently make leadership decisions while continuing to do the work of the people showed the caliber of the character the individuals of the Republican Senate Caucus.

Since our first day, our focus has been on a pro-growth agenda for our state and keeping more money in the pockets of hard-working Iowans. The bills we have passed in these weeks during the session have made our agenda clear.

We passed a tax relief package for hard-working Iowa families. This proposal would simplify the tax code for farmers, families and our state's businesses. It provides Iowans and families with an average of $1,000 in tax relief per year and cuts taxes by $1 billion dollars annually.

We are committed to reducing the tax burden on all Iowans and creating a tax policy that is simple and fair. We are working to ensure our children have every educational opportunity available to them and help them flourish and succeed. Our goal is to enact policies that will continually help our state grow, and make it a great place to live and work.

Supporting Rural Iowa Schools

For years funding inequities existed between urban and rural school districts. This year we took the first step to even out the costs of transporting students and the unequal state funding for school districts. We have long believed a student's zip code should not affect the quality of their education. The proposal we passed sets up the framework for us to address this inequity in the long-term and starts to equal out the costs of transporting students to and from school.

More options for Iowans

We also passed two bills to address the dwindling health insurance options available to Iowans. As individuals slowly lost the options they have for health insurance, we found a solution that gives our citizens options for their health care.

One of those options was Senate File 2349, which provided an option for small businesses and sole proprietors to band together to purchase health insurance through Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWA). Another bill, Senate File 2329, would allow agricultural organizations to offer health benefit plans. Plans utilized under Senate File 2329 would not be considered insurance under state or federal law, which takes these plans out of the ACA requirements and gives Iowans another options for their buying their health insurance.

REC Day on the Hill

This Wednesday the Iowa Capitol hosted another successful REC Day on the Hill. Rural electric cooperatives from multiple counties gathered in the rotunda to meet with legislators and discuss the importance of renewable energy in the Iowa infrastructure. Iowa's RECs play a critical role in our state's infrastructure by providing power to roughly 650,000 Iowans throughout all of our 99 counties. RECs provide power that is affordable, reliable and importantly, environmentally responsible.

I enjoyed meeting with a variety of individuals from Iowa's rural electrical cooperatives and appreciate them coming to meet with us at the capitol. It is always great to meet and speak with constituents about the issues important to them and we always value their input when we consider legislation. Support of our RECs is important. Reliable and affordable electricity in rural Iowa is key to economic development and quality of life for many Iowans.

A special thank you to my friends from Consumers Energy, TIP, Grundy, and Midland REC's for making a point to visit on important issues.

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