Capitol Update

March 25, 2024

Week 12

Sometimes speaking on the floor is not all about bills and debate.... in the mornings when the House chamber gavels in, legislators may light up their name on the board and ask, "Mr. Speaker, am I in order for an announcement?" Once granted permission by Speaker, we have the opportunity to announce a visitor, share an invitation, or state something personal. This week, I took the opportunity to thank my husband for all the years of support as we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Thank you to my husband Dan who blesses me every day with his support and grace!

House Passes Legislation to Avoid Tax

Increase on Iowa’s Livestock Farmers

House File 2649 passed the House floor this week with unanimous support. The bill renews an exemption from paying capital gains for sales of certain animals and absent its passage—there would be more than $2.5 million in tax increases on Iowa’s hardworking livestock farmers. The exemption expired for tax year 2023.

The bill allows a taxpayer to exclude the net capital gain from the sale of cattle or horses if held by the taxpayer for breeding, draft, dairy, or sporting purposes for more than 24 months, but only if the taxpayer received more than 50 percent of the taxpayer’s gross income from farming or ranching operations during the tax year.

House File 2649 also allows a taxpayer to exclude the net capital gain from the sale of breeding livestock, other than cattle or horses, held by the taxpayer for a period of 12 months or more from the date of acquisition, but only if the taxpayer received more than one-half of the taxpayer’s gross income from farming or ranching operations during the tax year.

On the floor, House Republicans adopted an amendment to make the bill apply retroactively to tax year 2023 to avoid a tax increase. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Capitol Visitors

This week, the Capitol was bustling with a broad array of visitors. One group included students with the Indian Hills Community College Agriculture program.

Farm Bureau members from Jefferson and Keokuk counties traveled to the capitol to discuss their 2025 legislative priorities.

John Wilber of Fairfield Friends Church and Nathan Chaplain of Stockport Christian Church came to meet and pray with legislators. They caught both House members that represent Jefferson County, myself and Representative Jeff Shipley. What a blessing it was to have their presence at the Capitol!

Education Updates

Last week saw the end of the second funnel. Any bills that we passed off the House floor and got out of the Senate Education Committee are still “alive.” Below are some of the bills that survived and their status that the House indicated as priorities.

House File 2278/House File 134—Open Enrollment Bus Routes

Strikes requirement that districts must both agree before the receiving district school bus can enter the resident district to pick up students.

Status: Senate Calendar

House File 2377/House File 2030—Advanced Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement Grant

Creates a grant program for those obtaining their Advanced Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement and appropriates $335,000.

Status: House Calendar

House File 2465/House File 2081— Agriculture Science Credit

Agriculture instruction allowed to meet a portion of science requirements.

Status: Senate Calendar

House File 2487/House Study Bill 568— BOEE Inappropriate Relationships and Definition of Grooming

Department bill that lays out different levels of inappropriate relationships as well as adds a definition of “grooming behavior.” Adds abuse of a student as an ethical violation that a district would be required to report to the BOEE. Removes the 3-year statute of limitations for soliciting, encouraging, or consummating a romantic or otherwise inappropriate relationship with a student. States the BOEE shall send information on a crime being committed to law enforcement.

Status: Senate Calendar

House File 2545/House File 2329—School Standards Review

Directs the Department to conduct a comprehensive review of the graduation requirements, core curriculum, core content standards, and education standards. Public comment and input from stakeholders will be considered. The director shall convene committees that contain members of the GA that serve in an ex officio capacity.

Status: Senate Calendar

House File 2617/House File 2031—Fetal Development Instruction

In grades 7-12, Human Growth and Development prescribes specific instructions on pregnancy and fetal development.

Status: Senate Calendar

House File 2613/House Study Bill 712—SSA

Sets SSA at 3%, raises categoricals at 3%, and picks up PTRP.

Status: Senate Unfinished Business

House File 2612/House Study Bill 713—AEA Reform

Creates a legislative task force. Money for media, educational services, and special education services stops at the school district in 25/26 school year. Schools may use media services from AEAs in 25/26 and beyond. Schools may use educational services from AEAs in 26/27 and beyond. Schools must use special ed services from AEAs in all years. Dept. in charge of professional development. Dept. has true oversight over AEA budgets and accreditation. Does not allow AEAs to receive funding for shared operations. Restructures AEA chief salaries. Incorporates the Nonpublic Special Education task force recommendations.

Status: Senate Unfinished Business

Constitutional Sheriffs & Human Trafficking Event

On April 30 (6pm - 9:30pm) in Oskaloosa, Sheriff Richard Mack will be presenting on protecting Constitutional Rights and Human Trafficking Awareness teams will discuss the crimes of human trafficking and the mission to seek justice for harmed individuals worldwide.

Hosted by Sovereignty, RSVP for FREE tickets here:

Local Government

Last week was the second legislative funnel, which requires bills to have passed a policy committee in the chamber opposite of its origin. Between the House and Senate Local Government Committees, 9 pieces of legislation were approved that are still available for consideration. Below is a brief summary of each bill that survived the second funnel.

HF 2269/HF 2008 – Assessor Salaries for Partial Terms

Allows the Conference Boards to determine the appropriate salary for a newly appointed assessor when filling a vacancy instead of automatically paying the newly appointed assessor the salary of their predecessor.

Status: Senate Unfinished Business

HF 2264/HF 2079 – Public Funds to Religious Groups for Public Benefit

Allows counties or townships to appropriate or loan public funds to religious groups to fund or support programs that would benefit the public such as food banks or homeless shelters. The religious groups are not allowed to require any religious services, participation, or education in order for a person to receive the benefit of the program.

Status: Senate Calendar

HF 2388/HSB 619 – Prohibition of Building Material Restrictions

Would prohibit cities and counties from adopting or enforcing restrictions on the exterior building material of residential buildings that are more strict than the state building code. Exceptions to the limitation include historical buildings and districts as a well as common interest communities.

Status: Senate Unfinished Business

HF 2398/HSB 597 – Bonds and Insurance Policies for Public Officers

Addresses the requirement of public officials to obtain a bond to be allowed to obtain an insurance policy of the same value and requirements as required by code. Amends code to provide a public official not in compliance time to rectify the requirement without immediately being removed from office.

Status: Senate Unfinished Business

HSB 685 – Tax Collections for Buildings/Improvements on Leased Land

Provides the county treasurer the authority to act to delinquent taxes on buildings or improvements valued over $5,000 that are owned by a person other than the land owner.

Status: Passed House with amendment

HF 2654/HSB 685 – Tax Collections for Buildings/Improvements on Leased Land

Provides the county treasurer the authority to act to delinquent taxes on buildings or improvements valued over $5,000 that are owned by a person other than the land owner.

Status: House Ways and Means Committee

SF 2325 – Civil Service Commission Reform

Prohibits cities from using citizen review boards of police officers. Increases commission memberships in cities above 50,000 in population. Restricts the removal or suspension of civil service employees to violations of law or city policies. Prohibits lawyers who have ever represented the civil service commission from representing the city in an appeal. Allows both parties in an appeal the right to discovery. Employees who prevail in their appeal are entitled to reasonable lawyer fees and costs and expenses

Status: Reported out of House Local Government Committee

Immigration in Iowa

Several House members met with Polk County Supervisor, Bob Brunnell, to discuss Des Moines' soon to be expanded "foreign-born welcome center" called Global Neighbors. Last year, I authored a 10-part series on illegal immigration after returning home from a visit to the southern border. Now knowing that "every state is border state," I was anxious to learn more specifics about this facility and how it fits into the narrative at the border. Mr. Brunnell was very helpful with the details:

Global Neighbors serves approximately 16,000 secondary immigrants: those already in the states for some time and moving to Iowa from another US location. These immigrants, mostly from South Asia and central Africa, are eager to learn the language, join the workforce and seek further education. Most are on humanitarian parole with a green card and have spent years or even generations in refugee camps before coming to America after their application was approved abroad. The facility is mostly county funded along with some city and private funds. For more information, click here.

Raccoon Bounties

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the House Ways & Means Committee approved House File 2481 by a partisan 15-aye to 9-nay vote. HF 2481 creates a state raccoon bounty program. The program encourages higher levels of trapping, harvesting of raccoon during the raccoon trapping season. As a result of low fur prices for long period of time in recent years, the number of raccoons harvested by trapping and hunting has plummeted. For example, it was reported that Iowa harvested about 300,000 raccoons in 2011 and in one decade it dropped to a reported ~30,000 in 2021. In combination with significantly improved environmental conditions, raccoon numbers have exploded and they are now becoming a nuisance to many Iowa homeowners and farmers. Raccoon are a significant reservoir for some hazardous diseases such as distempers toxoplasmosis which can be present in their scat and periodic rabies epidemics.

HF 2481 creates a raccoon bounty program designed to reduce the excessive number of raccoons in the state. The bill proposes to establish both— (1) a Raccoon Bounty program paying $5 per animal taken to resident trappers/hunters during the raccoon trapping season administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and, (2) a Raccoon Bounty fund in the state treasury under the control of DNR. The raccoon bounty fund shall consist of monies deposited in the raccoon bounty fund, including monies collected from the civil penalties assessed under the bill and gifts and donations received for the raccoon bounty fund. Moneys in the raccoon bounty fund are appropriated to DNR to pay participants (who will turn in a raccoon tail to DNR and receive $5 voucher) in the program and to administer the program.

The measure authorizes a resident with a valid fur harvester license to relinquish to DNR the whole tail of a raccoon taken during the raccoon trapping season at a monthly pickup event held in every county and DNR has appropriated 50 cents for each raccoon tail relinquished at the monthly pickup event for program expenses. The measure requires trappers to check set traps every 24 hours. The bill requires NRC to adopt rules for the program and determine the details for monthly pickup events for raccoon tails and prohibits a person with a fur dealer license from participating in the program.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this bill as it has yet to go the House floor! Please reach out to me with your comments for and against the bill.

On a Personal Note

It's on to the third batch of Spangled Hamburg's in my little incubator. This tiny home incubator only holds about 16 of these little eggs for a 21-day incubation period but thankfully, I have a family member that just started 5 dozen of my eggs for me in their 500-egg incubator so... you can expect the chicken photos to keep coming! Thank you all for letting me share this fun little past time of mine.

How to support Helena for House

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 if you choose:

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:

  • 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:

  • 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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