Capitol Update

January 26th, 2023

Week Two Recap

Forum Last Weekend

I enjoyed the opportunity to join Representative Shipley and Senator Dickey for a legislative forum in Jefferson County last Saturday. Thank you to everyone who came to the event, and thank you to the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting!

Exercise & Emails

Legislators have been inundated with hundreds and even thousands of emails on both sides of the school choice issue the past two weeks. Even though our time at the Capitol is used wisely in between committee meetings, caucus, and conversations with visitors, we often have found ourselves continually answering as many responses as we can at home on the weekends! I have found that my time on the treadmill is a great time to multitask and get some office work done while getting some much-needed exercise! Be sure to be take care of your health everyone during these winter months!

Iowans For Freedom Feature

Thank you to Oliver Bardwell of Iowans For Freedom for having me on their podcast, The Freedom Factor. If you would like to listen to the episode, visit this link! We talked about the Students First Act, as well as the three bills coming up through the House that deal with gender identity, parental consent, and school transparency. Oliver and I also discussed my mission to protect Iowa's children.

Students First Act Signed Into Law

On Monday evening, the House and Senate voted on the historic piece of legislation known as the “Students First Act” (HF 68/SF 94). Governor Reynolds then signed it on Tuesday morning (pictured above).

It was exciting to be a part of the debate and voting process for this bill. 

What does the Students First Act accomplish? Here are a few points to note: 

1. Establishes Education Savings Accounts

 An Education Savings Account is an account designated in the state treasury for one specific child, into which the State of Iowa will deposit around $7,600 per school year. The money in this account can be used for what is classified as “Qualified Educational Expenses,” including tuition and fees at an accredited non-public school, textbooks, fees or payments for educational therapies, and other expenses. (See Page 3 of the bill for the full list.)  

2. Provides More Funding For Public Schools 

Some folks have been concerned that money given to families who choose to send their children to a private school will result in less funding for public schools. In actuality, the Students First Act allocates MORE funding to public schools by changing the way students in any particular district are counted for district enrollment. Under the previous code, students who moved away from a public school to a different option would no longer be counted as part of the district. With the new policy, students who receive an ESA (Education Savings Account) in a certain district will count toward the total number of students. This allocates around $1,200 per student in the ESA program per Fiscal Year to the public school district in which they reside. (See Page 2 of the Bill for more details) 

3. Increases Flexibility for Public School Funds

Also new in this legislation is increased flexibility for how school districts can spend their money. Right now, the State earmarks school districts’ budgets for specific programs and some of those dollars go unspent. The Governor’s proposal will allow school districts to use these unspent funds to increase teachers’ salaries as well as other special programs. 

To view the full Bill, click here.

The Dept. of Education has created a web page with all the current information about ESAs including how to apply. This is a helpful resource!

Thank you fellow legislators who voted YES for school choice Monday nigh! It was a wonderful victory for Iowa students and parents.

Tracking Legislation

The Legislature website has a lot to offer anyone who is interested in being more involved in the political process. If you are interested in a certain bill, topic, or legislator, you can sign up for email updates pertaining to any of those categories. 

Click here: this document walks through the process of the Bills and Rules Watch application. 

Before going to Bills and Rules Watch, you will need to create an account by going to and clicking the small “Applications” link at the very bottom of the page. From there you will need to create an account to be able to track any legislation. 

If you need further help with getting this set up, email and my clerk Tressa will set up a time to call and walk through the process with you. 

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:

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

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