Capitol Update

February 9, 2023

Week Five Recap

Speaker for the Morning

It was an honor to take the role of Speaker of the House for our routine morning gavel-in on Wednesday.

Moms For Liberty "Giving Parents a Voice" Town Hall

Moms For Liberty hosted a town hall event recently in Des Moines, and I felt privileged to be invited as part of the legislator panel. The focus of the event was the recent School Choice legislation and topics surrounding education. I appreciated the questions and discussion that came from both sides of the aisle.

Fairfield Journal Article

The Fairfield Journal is an online news source for the Fairfield Area. They cover community events, messages from local leaders, and listings of local businesses. I appreciate the opportunity to submit articles to them! I invite you to bookmark this page to see new articles.

Read the first article here:

Fairfield Journal School Choice Article

State Supplemental Aid: Public School Funding Numbers

This week held the passage of our Public School Funding Package- the State Supplemental Aid (SSA). SSA is the amount of new funding committed by the state to local school districts. Each year, the Legislature is required to set this figure for the next fiscal year within the first 30 days of the Legislative session. The Education and Appropriations Committees passed a bill to increase the SSA funding by 3%.

This number must be agreed upon by the House, Senate, and Governor. The 2024 SSA results in $106.8 million more than Fiscal Year 2023 going to our public schools. This increases the funding per student by approximately $200.

Medical Malpractice Caps

Medical Malpractice or "Tort" Reform has been a hot topic at the Capitol this week. The House Health & Human Services Committee passed House File 161. This bill limits the amount of noneconomic damages that can be awarded for a medical malpractice claim at $1 million. The bill was debated Wednesday night and passed with an amendment.

In a case of medical malpractice that results in loss of a bodily function, substantial disfigurement, or death, there are three types of damages a jury can award:

  1. Economic damages- quantifiable damages like lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, cost of medical bills. This bill does not limit what can be awarded to the plaintiff in economic damages.
  2. Punitive damages- Deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of the patient. This bill does not limit what can be awarded to the plaintiff in punitive damages.
  3. Noneconomic damages- mental or emotional anguish or other suffering that can't be quantified. This bill caps noneconomic damages at $1 million, adjusted for inflation annually beginning in 2028.

With the amendment, the passed bill limits the amount of noneconomic damages that can be awarded for a medical malpractice claim at $2 million if the incident happened at a hospital and $1 million if it happened somewhere else.

It has truly been a rare instance when visiting with those from my district that even know what “tort reform” means. And for those that do, it is an understanding born out of deep pain and tragic sorrow. Often, I have found that all I am left with are questions that lend only speculative answers. How will this alter the trajectory and proceedings within lengthy, costly court cases? Is there ever such a thing as justice and closure for victims and families? What will the impact be for healthcare facilities and hardworking personal in the medical field? Where will there be found the long-term ramifications for taxpayers? How will this decision shift the course for insurance companies? In what way does each decision we make influence and modify the next as we contend with very real life and death situations? Even in my short experience with medical malpractice, I have determined there are no real winners, not even for those who may reap a few dollar signs in the end. Because of some of these lingering questions, I chose not to support the bill. This difficult issue brings to mind a fitting section from a famous poem by William Wordsworth:

What through the radiance which was once so bright

Be now forever taken from my sight

Though nothing can bring back the hour

of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind.

Tips for Contacting Legislators

The ability to contact those who represent us in our state and federal governments is an integral part of the representative republic we call our home here in the United States. 

I wanted to provide some tips to get the most out of the process of contacting your legislators. These tips are specific to the state level and are from the perspective of the legislator who is receiving them! 

First of all, I want to stress that we as your Representatives DO want to hear from you! Don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from us right away: we often receive hundreds of emails each day and do our best to sort through and respond. In the same breath, don’t be afraid to be persistent if you don’t hear back! 

Here are my top tips for contacting your state legislators: 

1. Always identify yourself and where you’re from. 

This is the most important part! Of all the opinions and perspectives that come across our desks each day, we are most concerned about those we know come from those who live in the district we represent. I suggest including your name and home address in the signature of your email. Including your phone number helps if the legislator prefers to call you back. 

2. Be clear on what issue you are talking about. 

When emailing about a specific bill or issue, it is helpful to include a bill number and the title or a short summary! There are over 2,000 bills introduced each session and we simply cannot keep track of every number or topic. 

3. Know your WHY. 

It is also helpful for us to see the reasoning behind your points. Feel free to include personal stories or experiences as you are comfortable. 

4. Be courteous and respectful. 

We receive a lot of harsh communication, especially when controversial bills come forward. We welcome viewpoints that differ from ours, but a respectful discourse is always better for everyone involved! 

5. Visit the Capitol or a local forum. 

If you are able, we always welcome visitors at the Capitol. If possible, send us an email in advance to let us know you are coming, and we can set up a time to meet. We also have forums in our districts throughout the session- check with your local Chamber of Commerce for this information. Meeting face to face is truly the best way to establish a connection with your legislators. 

6. Leave a voicemail. 

You can call the Iowa Capitol switchboard anytime and leave a message for any Representative or Senator. You will not be able to talk directly with them through this switchboard, but when you leave a voicemail we get a notification and are able to listen to a recording. Be sure to include your phone number so we can call you back. 

7. Identify committee assignments.

When writing about a specific bill that is in a committee or subcommittee, you can contact those committee members and specifically the Chairperson, as they will guide the discussion in the subcommittee or committee meeting. Including sentences like “as the Chair of the Education committee, I hope you will consider my comments below,” helps to connect with them and their position.

8. Remember that we work for you. 

It is your right to contact those who represent you and make your voice heard. You don’t have to be an eloquent writer, a good public speaker, and you don’t have to know exactly what to say. Be confident and respectfully persistent. Be civil but don’t be afraid to speak truth. 

All Iowa State Legislators contact information can be found at under the “Legislators” tab. There is also a tool there to find who your Representative and Senator are based on your home address. 

Letter to Legislators Example: 

Dear Representative/Senator ________________, 

Thank you for leading and serving in Iowa.

I am writing today with my comments/concerns on House File/Senate File _______, the bill that proposes ___________________________________. 

I support/oppose this bill because ___________________________________. 

[Feel free to include personal stories, links to resources, helpful information, etc.] 

Thank you for considering my comments/concerns. 


Your Name 

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!

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