Capitol Update

January 12th, 2023

Week One Recap

Oath of Office 

What a week it has been here at the State House! We began the week by taking the Oath of Office which concludes by saying, “So help me God.” I feel that these are the most important words I spoke in that oath! The weight of this position is not lost on me, but it is only the Lord who can make my efforts effective. I want to be fully submitted to Him as I seek to represent you excellently and do what is right! 

Here's a photo of Senator Adrian Dickey and I from this week!

He is the Senator for our district.

Condition of the State 

On Tuesday evening, we heard Governor Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address. She said, “We’ve been recognized as the most fiscally responsible state in the country, we’re ranked in the top ten states to live in America, and we continue to be ranked the #1 state for opportunity. In a world increasingly marked by chaos, Iowa’s strength and stability stand out.” 

She also introduced her School Choice Bill, which creates Education Savings Accounts for families who choose to send their child(ren) to a private school. The bill proposes that the State of Iowa will contribute $7,598 to those funds (the same dollar amount the State provides for each student that attends public school). I know there are divided views on this issue in my district, and I welcome your feedback as we consider this legislation coming down the pipeline. 

Governor Reynolds also touched on the issue of abortion and her plans to expand the funding for healthcare apprenticeships and pregnancy resource centers. 

To read the full transcript or watch the Address, visit this link.

First Constituent Visit

On Tuesday, I had my first visit from some constituents! The group pictured above was from Sieda Community Action, promoting their FaDSS (Family Development and Self Sufficiency) Program. They are doing great work in my district and across the state. Thank you for visiting! 

Bills Introduced

Wednesday morning, House Files 1 through 13 were introduced. These are the first official bills originating from the House for this General Assembly! To read these bills, visit . You can switch which bill you are viewing on the left-hand side of the page. “HF” at the beginning of the title indicates “House File” and means a bill that originated in the House.

Committee Meetings

I had my first committee meetings this week: Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Both meetings consisted of preliminary information about what the committee will be doing, and the adoption of the committee rules. We didn’t discuss any bills this week due to the fact that there have not been any introduced bills that have been assigned to these committees. 

How a Bill Becomes a Law

One of the things I am most excited about for this coming session is helping people understand more accurately how the government works, why it matters, and what they can do about it! With that in mind, I wanted to continue by explaining the basics of how a bill becomes a law. Hopefully, this will help you understand a bit more about how things happen at the Capitol. 

What is a bill? It is a written proposal for a law. Bills originate from both the House and Senate, but this explanation will follow the path of a bill that starts in the House.

1) Concept. The first step is an idea. Ideas for legislation come from many sources, either from individual legislators, legislative committees, businesses, interest groups, or from constituents themselves! There are many examples of “regular people” presenting ideas for bills to their legislators and then seeing them advance all the way through to becoming a law.

Drafting. After the idea or concept has been solidified, the bill must be written! This is done by the LSA (Legislative Services Agency) in Des Moines. They look through the current Iowa Law and Codes to see if there is anything that would conflict with the proposed law and ensure that it is in the proper legal format for legislature use. 

Returned to Sponsor. After the bill is drafted, the official draft is returned to the legislator who requested the draft, called the “Sponsor” of the bill. The Sponsor reviews the bill and requests any changes necessary. After any changes are made, the bill is reviewed by the House Legal Counsel for accuracy of format. Then, it is filed with the Chief Clerk’s Office and is assigned a bill number. 

First Read. Soon after approval by the Sponsor and Legal Counsel, the bill’s title, number, and sponsor are read before the House during a session. 

Assigned to Committee. When the bill is read, the Speaker assigns it to a standing committee. (More on committees in the following section!) 

Assigned to Subcommittee. After the bill is read in the committee meeting, the committee chairperson assigns a subcommittee to review the bill in detail and report their findings to the standing committee. A subcommittee is typically made up of three members (a subcommittee chair from the Majority Party, and then a member of the Majority Party and a member of the Minority Party). Subcommittee meetings are open to the public to attend. Many lobbyists and citizens attend these meetings! 

Full Committee Discussion. Based on the subcommittee’s findings, the full committee discusses the bill and makes a recommendation to the entire House of what action should be taken on the bill (recommend to pass, fail, refer to another committee, or no recommendation). Committee meetings are open to the public as well and can be watched via live stream on 

Calendar. The bill now is returned to the Chief Clerk’s office and is placed on the “Debate Calendar,” which is a list of bills that are eligible to be debated. The Speaker then decides which bills will be brought up to debate on the House floor, and when that will happen.

Debate. Once the committee’s work is complete, the bill will be presented to the entire House by the “floor manager” (typically the chairperson of the committee). The bill is then discussed by the entire chamber and sometimes amendments (changes added to the bill) are proposed. 

Vote. All one hundred members of the House vote on the bill. If there is a constitutional majority (at least 51 votes), the bill passes and moves to the Senate for their consideration. 

Senate Process. Once a bill reaches the Senate, it will repeat the same process there until it gets to the vote. If any amendments are added in the Senate, the bill has to go back to the House for approval of the changes. 

Final Action. If a bill passes the vote in both the House and Senate, it will be sent to the Governor. She then has three options: 1) Sign the bill 2) Veto the bill, or 3) take no action. If the bill is signed, it becomes a law! If it is vetoed, the legislature has a chance to override the veto as long as there is a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate voting to reconsider and pass the bill a second time. If the Governor takes no action, during the legislative session, the bill becomes law in three calendar days. 

Iowa Law. Once a bill is signed, it typically becomes law on the following July 1st, unless there is a different start date specified in the bill. 

To read a more detailed explanation of the bill-to-law process in Iowa, visit this link from the Non-Partisan Legislative Services Agency. 

Newsletter Subscriptions

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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:

January 28 - 8:30-9:30am

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. All forums and events will be posted on my Facebook page as well as here in the newsletter!

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