Capitol Update

February 3, 2024

Week 4


That is number of followers I have on my Helena for House facebook page, 636. By no means an impressive number but compared to how many posts that “reach” followers, it is a huge number! I can post a do-nothing, feel-good smiling photo and get almost 500 reaches but anything involving Israel, gender identity or ANY of the myriad of controversial subjects I may mention, the reach is always less than 60 and even the “likes” fall to less than 10.

Information control... Media monopoly... 5th generation warfare... All of these terms are related to methods by which we are manipulated in both the attempts to control our conscience as well as our unconscious. In the early morning hours yesterday, I found myself listening to Dr. Robert Malone on Epoch TV in a session titled, Behind the Governments Covert War for Your Thinking.

They shared these statistics:

20% of people are highly susceptible to hypnosis and propaganda.

20% are highly resistant to hypnosis and propaganda.

60% of people are reasonably susceptible and fall into the “pursuable middle.”

Exactly what causes a person to fall into the respective categories is not entirely understood. However, simply being aware that much of the information we encounter is manipulated to control what we are thinking hopefully helps us to stay out of the highly susceptible category. And to that note, we must recognize that much of the mis/dis/mal information that has come from our own government and its close cousin, the mainstream media, and is often seen in neurolinguistic mantras such as this covid one; “safe and effective.”

That is why this newsletter is so important to me as a means of communication; there is no control mechanism between you and I – only your choice to click and read. I have not dipped into using any other social media (other than Facebook) and have no intention to do so. As old-fashioned as it may be, I hope to continue to grow my numbers of those who receive this newsletter from its current tally of 420 contacts. For a district of 30,000 residents, I have a long way to go.

Please feel free to forward this email or share with others that they may simply go to my website to subscribe. You can all find all past newsletters, both from last session and throughout the interim at this link. Thank you all for clicking and reading!

Chaplain Bill

Above: Making opening statements in the House subcommittee for the Chaplain bill

This week, the Chaplain Bill, introduced by myself and Barb Kniff McCullla and cosponsored by 22 other House members, was assigned its subcommittee in the House where a sizeable number of citizens testified both in support of and in opposition to the bill. The bill passed the sub and should be brought before the education committee. I would like to share some of the top objections to the bill and my response to them. If you would like more information on this, please let me know. But first, here are a couple of quick points:

The Chaplain Bill empowers school boards to add Chaplains, if they choose so, as an additional resource for students. The use of Chaplains in existing public schools has been shown to increase school safety and academic scores while decreasing bullying, drug and alcohol consumption, suicide, and more. School chaplains are nothing new and can be seen in schools like Des Moines Public Schools where programs have existed for almost a decade as heard this week in the testimony of Chaplain, Al Perez. Chaplains do not replace councilors or other qualified staff. School boards will determine for themselves, chaplain requirements specific to the needs of their district. Many excellent training programs already exist. Utilizing a Chaplain is totally voluntary by students. Please read the full bill here: HF2073.

Top three oppositions to the bill:

1 - "Chaplain" is not defined.

 The intent is for each school district to determine if and how a chaplain program best fits their district rather than be mandated by the state. Chaplains are certified, ordained, or endorsed by religious bodies and not government institutions.

However, a simple definition could be, "clergy recognized (licensed, ordained, or endorsed - each has a different meaning according to traditional standards) by their religious organization and trained to serve in secular environments."


2 - The bill will allow Satanists into schools.

Three key words in this bill are "as assigned by." The work and scope of the Chaplains will be as assigned by the school board. All school board members are elected officials that are tasked with pursing what is best for the students they serve. Even in today's rocky culture, I would challenge anyone to find a school board in Iowa who would actively grant a self-proclaimed Satanist access to their students and then expect to retain their elected position. School boards seek to serve the best interests of their students and their families by extension, and ultimately, the community at large. Furthermore, such a statement does not reflect the current make-up of chaplains currently hired by the state and federal government in the United States:

91% are Protestants, the majority of which are Evangelicals.

 7% are Catholic.

  1% are Orthodox.

 The balance of less than 1% is every other kind of religious affiliation.

Although atheism and human secularists are treated as religions constitutionally, Satanism is not. The idea that schools will need to hire Satanists because they hired a Baptist are unfounded. No school will be required to hire any religious groups they don’t want. Satanism is not protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment as found in long standing federal court precedent.

3 - The bill should mandate certifications.

The bill does require background checks but is absent of specific training requirements because the government is not allowed to dictate religious affairs in that way. There is simply no national or statewide governmental body that sets requirements for training chaplains. It is essential to remember that chaplains are certified, ordained, or endorsed by religious bodies and not government institutions. Well established chaplain agencies, such as the National School Chaplain Association and others, exist to assist schools in training Chaplains.

Bills moving through Subcommittees

Citizenship and Tuition Assistance HF2128

This bill would require citizenship or proof of legal residency as a preliminary requirement to receive in-state tuition assistance at a regent school or community college.

Child Support at Conception


This bill recognizes life at conception and the important role of fathers in providing for their child during the pregnancy process when conceived outside of marriage. Because both personal responsibility and the right to life are vitally important concepts, I gladly cosponsored this bill.

Over the Counter Birth Control HSB642

This proposed governor's bill would allow pharmacists to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives to any customer over 18. This is a returning bill which I strongly oppose for three reasons: women's health will be put at unnecessary risk due to a lack of doctor's oversight, additional burdens are placed on pharmacists while at the same time providing them immunity to any complications that may arise. The bill faces a sub in the House this coming week.

Halting DNR Land Acquistion


This bill would restrict the Department of Natural Resources from acquiring real property in a competitive manner. It is resurrection of similar bills from years past that finds much opposition from conservationists and recreationalists. The bill died in subcommittee and is not expected to be addressed in the House again this year.

Eminent Domain


This bill would institute new procedures in the state of Iowa to review the exercise of the power of eminent domain in the state by halting an eminent domain proceeding if 22 or more members of the House, or 11 or more members of the Senate file a petition to withdraw from the proceeding. In this case, each chamber would need a three-fifths majority to resume the proceeding.

Convention of State Delegates


This bill works to define the role of individuals selected to Article V constitutional conventions from Iowa. This is the process by which states may recommend amendments to the U.S. Constitution. I would like you to know I strongly oppose a convention of states for many reasons, one being that I took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution, not amend it, especially when it has become painfully apparent that we are not even adhering to this one.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers


Under current law, a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) owes a duty of good faith and fair dealings to third-party payors. This bill expands that duty to pharmacies. One way it seeks to do this is by prohibiting retaliation by a PBM against a pharmacy based on the pharmacy’s exercise of any right or remedy, or on the pharmacy’s cooperation with the commissioner.

Local Funding for Religious Programs


This bill allows for public funds to be utilized by an ecclesiastical or sectarian institution for a project or program if it benefits the public. This is not allowed under current law.

Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Committee

Every legislator is assigned one to five committees that they serve on during their General Assembly (2023 and 2024). I serve on three committees including Natural Resources, Environmental Protection and International Relations.

As we progress through the session, I will give you an update of these three committees as necessary.

Natural Resources

Our 21-member committee passed out two bills this week.

  • HSB576 - This bill allows for all-terrain and off-road utility vehicles (such as ATVs) to be operated on the roads of state parks, which has previously been illegal.

  • HSB602 - This bill adds unlicensed fur trapping privileges for under 16-years of age persons if they are accompanied by an adult with a fur harvesting/trapping license.

Environmental Protection

No bills have been brought to this committee. However, Dr. Kinkade, a DNR specialist, gave us a detailed review of Iowa's prairie chicken restoration project. On April 6th, Kellerton Nature Area will host their annual viewing day and she invites all of us to attend the viewing of prairie chickens in the southwestern county of Ringgold.


William Penn University College students enrolled in the education department learned more about politics at the capitol this week.

Hundreds of FFA students could be found exploring the halls this week but I unfortunately missed the North Mahaska chapter while in a meeting, but I am looking forward to meeting with them at the school soon.

Mahaska County resident Stephanie Edgren was on hand to spread the good word about Iowa Research Reading Center and their excellent work with a program called The Science of Reading that seeks to improve the low reading scores in today's schools.

I happened across this group of AEA professionals waiting to speak to House leadership. I updated them on the status of the bill and requested they assist us with practical solutions for improving their agency, by which they gladly agreed.

AEA Bill Update

For the vast majority of the young session, Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEAs) have been a focal point after the Governor introduced her plan to reform AEAs in Iowa. HSB 542 has been carefully considered and discussed in the Iowa House.

This week, House Republicans held a subcommittee on the Governor’s AEA proposal. In the end, the subcommittee decided not to advance the bill to the full committee, citing the need for more conversations on the matter. And despite the Senate passing it out of their subcommittee, it has become clear that after taking feedback from Iowans, there is not the support in the House to move this bill forward in its current form.

Now that I have had the opportunity to speak to many people in House District 88 about this topic, three things are clear: there is room for improvement in the AEA's, practical solutions exist and this process needed to slow down, which it has now. I am encouraging everyone to be willing to use constructive criticism to examine within their relationship to the AEA, areas of improvement but most importantly, offer us specific solutions.

We will continue to work with stakeholders and get feedback from Iowans to ensure that anything we pass in the House will truly help improve special education in our state.

Local Government Updates

This week the House Local Government Committee reported 3 pieces of legislation for consideration of the full House chamber. House File 2079 is a bill to help connect public dollars to charitable services that benefit local communities provided by religious groups.

Currently under Iowa law, counties and townships are not allowed to directly appropriate public funds to institutions, schools, or associations under ecclesiastical or sectarian management. HF 2079 allows public funds to be given to these groups to be utilized for projects and programs to benefit the public. These programs are meal services, homeless shelters, etc. The bill specifies that the group receiving the funds cannot require participation in religious services, educational programs, or other participation to receive the benefit of the program. This bill is another tool for local governments to further utilize public dollars to help those in their communities who need assistance.

House File 2008 is a bill to provide more freedom and control for local governments to set salaries as they see fit for assessors who are filling an unexpired vacancy. The legislation would clarify in Iowa Code that when an assessor leaves the position before the term has expired that the local conference board may establish a new salary for the newly appointed assessor. There could be scenarios where the experience and qualifications of the assessor could be significantly different, and it would be appropriate to adjust the salary.

House File 539 is another good common sense local government bill reported out of committee. If enacted, it would require that before a parcel is split or consolidated that the parcels shall be free of unpaid taxes, special assessments, and drainage assessments. This bill would ensure the clean processing of these transactions, ensuring that there are not issues later that stemmed from a debt or assessment remaining on the original parcel.

Health and Human Services

This week, the House Health and Human Services committee passed six bills with bipartisan support to address a variety of issues affecting Iowans. Below are some of the bills:

Parent Access to Child’s Medical Record – House File 2064 requires health care providers to give parents access to their children’s health care information through electronic health records or printing the record at no cost to the parent. Minors are able to consent to very few health care services under the law, and based on those few exceptions, some health care providers were cutting off parents entirely from their child’s health information.

Child Care Flexibility – House File 2056 allows for additional workers to be able to assist during nap times and breaks. In 2022, the legislature allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to work in child-care centers with children 5 years and older. This bill allows those workers to assist with younger children during naps and brief periods.

Maternal Health – House File 2057 makes updates to the More Options for Maternal Support program. This bill allows the state to contract directly with pregnancy resource centers, allows for the 3rd party administrator to be based in Iowa, and allows for additional services to be provided to pregnant women.

Medicaid Look-Back – House Study Bill 501 clarifies that Medicaid has 2 years to do a post-payment review of Medicaid claims that do not involve fraud or misrepresentation and cannot recoup funds or offset against future reimbursement claims after the two years have passed.

Nursing Home Cameras – House File 537 allows for live-streamed cameras in nursing home and clearly outlines processes for residents or their legal representatives to request a camera in their room. The bill includes protections for shared rooms and gives roommates the authority to determine whether a camera is in their room.

Oskaloosa Coffee & Conversation

Last weekend, Smokey Row was the location in Oskaloosa to host the first Coffee & Conversation of the new session which featured Iowa Senators Ken Rozenboom and Adrian Dickey, as well as Iowa Representative Barb Kniff-McCulla and myself. There were a lot of great questions asked and topics discussed! Don't worry if you happened to miss it, there will be another on Feb. 24th at the same spot. Check the bottom of my newsletter for all upcoming events.

On a Personal Note...

Now that I am in the habit... I just as well keep you updated on the latest batch of baby chicks. They are a week old and currently going to reside in a box in my basement. Hamburgs are naturally flighty breed and you can see their tense state even as chicks. Their wing feathers are always the first to come in and will give them a bit of unbalanced look because they will be as long as their chubby little bodies for quite some time. Those of you who are members of the Mahaska County Republican committee will recall that even our U.S. House candidate visiting last night brought up the need for all of us to have chickens, so get yours as soon as they show up in the farm stores! That cold spell seemed to have put an end to my hens laying so I will have to wait awhile before getting to hatch my next batch.

How to support me

What do people like me need for support as elected officials in a state office?

* Prayer (the key!)

* Your input - either for or against the issues

* Volunteers

* Yards for signage (both yard sign and barn signs/4x8)

* "Word-of-mouth" support by expressing your approval to others

* and of course, financial donations:

Hayes for House, Treasurer

2812 170th Street

New Sharon, Iowa 50207

Thank you all!!

Upcoming Events

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

Coffee & Conversation (Formerly Eggs & Issues)

To be held at Smokey Row Oskaloosa (109 S Market St. Oskaloosa, IA) on the following dates:

  • February 24th @ 8:30 to 9:30 am
  • March 23rd @ 8:30 to 9:30 am

Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Forum

To be held at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center (200 N. Main Street. Fairfield, IA) on the following dates:

  • February 17th @ 7:30 am
  • April 20th @ 7:30 am

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!


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

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