Capitol Update

February 17, 2023

Week Six Recap

Law makers had the opportunity to visit with school board members and administration as they advocated for stronger public schools at the capitol this week. I was joined by Charlie Comfort from the Oskaloosa School Board and Derek Philips, Superintendent of the Pekin Schools.

The Individual Income Tax Elimination Fund?

All state revenue belongs to the taxpayer, not the government.

So, when Iowans pay more in taxes than the state needs to operate, the money needs to be put back in the hands of taxpayers. 

In 2011, the Taxpayer Trust Fund was created to collect excess revenue for the express purpose of providing future tax relief. The fund's cap was lifted, and the name was changed to the Taxpayer Relief Fund in 2018. 

Conservative budgeting has led to multiple billion-dollar surpluses in recent years. This substantial overcollection of tax dollars necessitated a significant reform to the Iowa tax code. That's why lawmakers passed the largest tax relief legislation in state history last year. 

Now, the Taxpayer Relief Fund's balance is expected to grow to nearly $3 billion by the end of FY 2023 and even more in FY 2024.

Read more about this issue in the Iowans For Tax Relief newsletter. I would encourage everyone to subscribe to them- they are doing great work!

Protecting Kids from Sexually Explicit Materials in School

Senator Sandy Salmon and myself, along with a number of other legislators, are introducing companion bills in the House and Senate that protect our students from sexually explicit materials in our schools.

Right now schools are EXEMPT from having to obey Iowa laws outlawing sexually explicit materials? We are seeing the results of this bad policy now because we now find sexually explicit material in schools all over the state, courtesy of the taxpayer. It is pornography; and it is totally unacceptable, appalling, and unconscionable.

Pornography fuels a variety of sexual harassment and sexual crimes, including sexual assault and sex trafficking, creating victims in its wake. It damages children and introduces long-term struggles families must deal with. Porn actually changes the physical functioning of the brain, causing addiction. It also grooms children and makes them prey to sexual exploitation.

This bill prohibits a school teacher or administrator from knowingly providing sexually explicit material to a student in the school library, curriculum or classroom or requiring a student to read or view sexually explicit material. Those violating this law would lose their job and their license. The bill also provides a pathway for a parent to bring a lawsuit against the school, and if successful, there would be civil penalties against the school.

School computers and internet are supposed to protect kids from digital sexually explicit material, and this ensures schools also protect kids from physical sexually explicit material. Parents expect that the school their children attend will be free from dangerous and addictive influences. This bill helps to ensure a safe environment for our children in which to learn.

Carbon Pipeline Update

Much at Stake for Iowa Landowners

The carbon pipeline conversations are picking up speed at the Iowa Capital! If you have not yet caught wind of the recent rage over carbon sequestration, here it is in a nutshell: The “Carbon Sequestration Pipeline” refers to the trapping and gathering of gaseous carbon dioxide produced at ethanol plants and fertilizer plants across the state of Iowa, liquifying it under high pressure, transporting it in pipelines buried across thousands of miles of private property and storing it in

underground sites, likely in Illinois. Three companies are vying for the enormous federal grants, subsidies and tax incentives that will be handed out in the process; Summit, Navigator and ADM/Wolf. The global conversation over the carbon pipelines narrative argues that they will lower emissions and address the alleged climate crisis. As for Iowa, the ethanol associations are fear mongering this as a moment of “life or death” for its industry. All the while, private landowners are fighting for their property rights under the threat of private companies forcing

eminent domain upon them. To add to that, environmental groups and the like are exposing the potential threats to the land and people because of the under-regulated public safety concern. One thing is for certain, neighbors all around me in Mahaska County are reporting some alarming conversations with surveyors and pipeline personal. Here are just a few excerpts:

The pipeline is coming through “whether you like it or not.”

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

“Your neighbors on both sides of you have already signed.” (Upon discovery, this was not true.)

“It’s a done deal. Sign now.”

These lies, threats and coercive techniques are occurring across the state as heavy pressure is being placed on landowners to sign vague and confusing easements so that the companies can reach a threshold of land and be granted the necessary Iowa Utilities Board permit to build.

As Representative for Keokuk County and portions of Mahaska County and Jefferson County, it has been made clear to me that landowners are being intentionally mislead. If you or anyone you know has something to share or is interested in learning more about the carbon pipeline, please contact me through any of the methods listed below.

This fight is far from over. I have been following this issue since before my run for office and have been clear that I will continue to protect individual property rights over private company profits. Please join me! Here are a few things you can do:

1. Get Connected – Let me put you in touch with others!

2. Be Seen – Know your elected officials and be sure they know you. I will help you with


3. Be Heard - Write a letter of opposition to the Iowa Utilities Board. I can tell you how.

4. Learn More - Reach out to me for more information on all things pipeline related.

School Funding History

Last week, I mentioned the SSA (State Supplemental Aid) increase we passed for public school funding. Setting the SSA at 3% amounts to an overall increase of $106.8 million for the 2023-2024 school year. The State Cost Per Pupil (SCPP) amount on which the school aid formula is based increases from $7413 to $7635, a $222 increase.

Here is a picture of state aid increases over the past 13 years:

The above graph shows the growth of the SSA since the 2010/11 school year. This helps to address the narrative that public schools are chronically underfunded.

A Closer Look at Iowa’s Emergency Management Commission and its existence in Mahaska County

It is becoming apparent that the terms, Emergency Management Commission (EMC) and Mahaska County, are more frequently used together now due to our counties struggles between two government entities.

Very early on in this session, I introduced one of my first bills that I would like to highlight now. Many taxpayers do not necessarily want to get detailed in this topic but this affects all taxers and requires some background information in order for us to fully understand it. Here we go…

The EMC is part of the Iowa Homeland Security which is responsible for coordinating homeland security and emergency management activities across the state. By law, all counties are required to develop and sustain an EMC that will “create comprehensive emergency response plans to cooperate with and provide mutual aid to each other and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management during public emergencies.”

Over the years, problems have arisen regarding funding, accountability and taxpayer representation within the EMC. In one of the counties that I represent, Mahaska, taxpayers have been left with legal bills exceeding a half million dollars because of the illegal actions by their EMC. In five separate lawsuits, the court has found the EMC has repeatedly violated the law. In the most recent decision, the district court found that the EMC was misusing an uncapped county supplemental levy to tax the citizens of the county. As the situation in Mahaska County demonstrates, there needs to be safeguards in place to ensure a local EMC will use its levying power in a proper way.

Under section Iowa Code section, 29C.17(2), a local EMC can choose five different methods to fund its operations. Most of these options distribute the tax burden equitably across the county, including on a per capita basis or based on a relative share of the total assessed valuation of each jurisdiction within the county. However, one funding source is particularly problematic. Under 29C.17(2)(a), the EMC can require a county board of supervisors to impose a countywide special

levy. Because this levy is uncapped, a local EMC effectively has a blank check to impose as much taxation as it sees fit. This is particularly problematic because voting membership on the EMC is not based on population but the total number of political subdivisions. Under section 29C.9, a commission is composed of one member of the board of supervisors, the sheriff, and a mayor from each city within the county. Each member receives one vote regardless of how many

people they represent. A city of 100 people has the same voting power as a city with 10,000 people. The problem this creates is that a minority of the citizens can impose a levy on the majority. Coupled with an uncapped levy, taxation without representation becomes a real threat.

This has not always been the case. Prior to 2012, a local EMC could not use a countywide EMC special levy without the board of supervisors’ approval. This ensured that EMC funding was born equally by the citizens of a county.

HF117 seeks to restore balance in taxation. Under this bill, the approval of the board of supervisors would once again be needed to use a countywide levy to fund EMC services. For those counties who already have a funding structure for their local EMC that works, this bill would not require any changes. However, when an EMC tries to use a coutywide levy to unfairly tax the few to pay for services of the many, this bill will provide taxpayer relief.

It is important to note that even when a board of supervisors refuses to authorize the use of a countywide EMC levy under HF117, it does not mean they have a veto over EMC budget. Rather, the EMC can still use any one of its other four funding sources but code section 29C.17(2) would require each local political subdivision to distribute the tax burden equally among all taxpayers.

In contrast, SF41 and it house companion bill, HF126 only furthers the current funding problems with EMC. While proponents of these bill argue that the new code language enhances public safety, in practice it does nothing of the sort. Rather, this legislation seeks to remove the last check the board of supervisors has when an EMC seeks to use the countywide levy in an illegal way. Under current law, section 331.424 gives the board of supervisors the power to certify supplemental levies. This is an important provision because if the supervisors believe the EMC is seeking to impose an illegal (rather than an excessive) levy, it can refuse to certify. When this happens, a local EMC can bring a lawsuit and the district court can decide the matter before the levy goes into effect.

This is exactly what happened in Mahaska County. There, the board of supervisors refused to certify the EMC levy because it was designed to fund activities that were not permitted under chapter 29C. While the district court agreed with the board of supervisors, without this certification provision, the illegal levy would have been placed onto the tax roles with no one to stop it. At that point, the only remedy would be an expensive and time-consuming taxpayer lawsuit.

If HF126 or SF41 becomes law, the EMC would become the only non-political subdivision to have an uncapped (i.e. unlimited) levy. Moreover, there is no limitations on the amount of funds a local EMC can carryover from year to year. As a result, it is my strong belief that HF126 and SF41would only result in less accountability and with more taxation.

I would encourage you to support HF117 to restore a proper balance in funding the important work of local EMCs. In contrast, I would strongly urge you to oppose HF126 and HF41 which would only make the EMC more unaccountable to the electorate. These bills have passed subcommittee in both chambers and will soon be brought in to the House and Senate Local Government Committees. If you have concerns about what you have read here, please out reach out to the Chairs of these two committees listed below as soon as possible. Your county supervisors are also available to answer any questions.

Chair of House Committee on Local Government - Shannon Latham:

Chair of Senate Committee on Local Government - Senator Jesse Green:

Special Elections

Special elections will take place for some local jurisdictions in approximately 60 counties on March 7. The counties highlighted in yellow above will have special elections. Parts of Keokuk County will be voting on a school board measure for the Sigourney School District.

You can contact the Keokuk County Auditor or the Sigourney School District for more information!

Get Involved

  • Call or email legislators about an issue important to you.

  • Talk to friends about calling/emailing legislators about important issues.

  • Show up at the state capitol for a public hearing or rally (on a weekday, 1-3 per year)

  • Speak at a subcommittee at the state capitol (for or against a bill)

  • Show up to a local meeting (city counsel, school board, etc.)

  • Write letters to the editor and submit to different news sources.

If you would like more information on how to track legislation, navigate the legislature website, or stay involved, please email my office!

Newsletter Subscriptions

Thank you for subscribing to Representative Hayes’ newsletter! If you would like to share it with someone you know, feel free to forward this email to them. Anyone can sign up for the newsletter by visiting and submitting their email address at the bottom of the page. 

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the newsletter mailed to you, please email with your name and mailing address. 

You can also print this email to share with friends. 

Contact Information

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. I love to hear from you and want to represent you accurately! 



Phone: 515.281.3221

Donation Information:

Upcoming Events

Here are the dates for upcoming forums I will be at! I welcome all constituents to join me for these meetings. I want to hear what you have to say!

Eggs & Issues at Smokey Row Oskaloosa (109 S Market St. Oskaloosa, IA) will take place on these dates:

February 25 - 8:30-9:30am

March 25 - 8:30-9:30am

Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Legislative Forum at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center (200 North Main St. Fairfield, IA)

will take place on these dates:

February 18- 7:30-9:00am

April 8 - 7:30-9:00am

If you have any questions about these events, don't hesitate to reach out to me. Forums and events will be posted on my Facebook page as well as here in the newsletter!

Facebook  Email  Web