First Week of Session

The Second Year Has Begun


The 2016 legislative session has begun.  I am humbled to start this year as Assistant House Majority Leader. The faith my caucus has placed in me by electing me to this position as well as your willingness to send me to Des Moines keeps me grounded. As Assistant Majority Leader, my responsibilities include leading a portion of our caucus in the day to day operations of the State House.

 
This new session has already made history as Rep. Linda Upmeyer, was officially sworn in as Speaker of the Iowa House. She is the first woman to serve in that role in our state’s history. I have no doubt that we have made an excellent choice in her as Speaker; when we voted for Linda Upmeyer, nobody mentioned the fact that she was a woman, but we discussed the fact we should elect the most qualified person.  That is what we have done.  Her work and commitment to our state is unparalleled and I look forward to what we will accomplish together.
 
Going into 2016, the state’s economy is strong, but growth is slower than initially anticipated. Based on the figures provided by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, there is an estimated $153 million in new revenue over last year's budget.  However, there are already nearly $200 million of built-in increases from commitments made in previous years. This will require us to make some difficult decisions, but House Republicans have and will remain committed to passing a balanced budget and will not use one-time money for ongoing obligations.
 
House Republicans are also working to set school funding early. Not only do our schools need to plan their budgets, but they need to know that the commitment we make is one on which they can depend.
 
We will have other challenges as well, but I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the priorities of Iowans. It is an incredible honor to serve the people of Iowa. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime with questions, concerns, or ideas.

 

I have been busy over the recent months putting together legislation that I feel is important and legislation that is right for Iowa.  Below are bills that I have already filed and will be debated in the State Legislature: 

 

  • Military Family Scholarship Program – gives Military families the option to attend schools where it best fits their schedule and desires.
  • Collective Bargaining Transparency – ensures any agency or government entity has transparency in its collective bargaining
  • Reduction of Waste in Government – ensures any government waste is identified and ended.
  • State Purchases of Materials with local preference – ensures government agencies and personnel buy materials locally and without bids or quotes. 
  • Religious Freedom Restoration – allows for individuals to refuse services based on religious feelings or ideals.
  • School Choice Directory – requires the Department of Education to publish a brochure each year that explains the options that parents have to ensure an adequate education for their kids.
  • School Choice, Parent Control – allows for parents of children in a consistently underperforming school to close the school, receive vouchers for their kids to attend another school, or create a Charter School.
  • Term Limits – ensures state legislators will only be able to serve a maximum of 16 years in the State Legislature. 
  • Welfare System Integrity – ensures those who receive welfare have their incomes verified and are under the minimum requirements for Welfare.
  • Lake Rafting – puts rules and requirements for rafting in a public waterbody.

 

In the coming weeks there will be other bills that will be filed that deal with the issues we here in Northwest Iowa feel are important and critical to ensure our state is the best in the nation. 

 

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Update from the Statehouse Archive

Simply click on this link and you will see all the Archived Newsletter Posts from the 2015 Legislative Season. 

http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=17a317428d544a8ec1c408965&id=7501583b72

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Gun Bill Making Progress

Yet once again in a desperate search for relevancy Iowa Gun Owners has lashed out against the work we have done trying to advance Second Amendment rights. In an email sent yesterday and a video that was posted online, IGO completely mischaracterizes and lies about what SF427 and the House amendment will accomplish if signed into law. As is the usual method of operation they use fear tactics and claim this is in an attempt to provide cover for democrats, nothing could be further from the truth. As I am sure all of you know SF427 with the House amendment is an attempt to move good Second Amendment policy that advances the rights of 3 million Iowans.

It is clear from the comments and rhetoric being used that there is a complete lack of understanding on what the House Amendment will accomplish by those who are now opposing it. This is not uncommon coming from IGO as they routinely misconstrues the truth to benefit this “the sky is falling” rhetoric in order to help raise money by fear mongering. I also find it laughable that they are now trying to claim that IGO wrote portions of this bill. they never once tried to engage in the discussion on this bill nor have they been present at any of the committee meetings where this bill was being discussed.

Below you will see a list of what will be accomplished if the Senate passes the House amendment.

  1. Legalizes suppressors including chief law enforcement officer sign off requirement much like shall issue. This will brings Iowa in line with 39 other states.
  2. Creates the process by which law enforcement can verify the validity of a permit. This will prevent LE from having to seize the weapon of someone who unintentionally forgets their permit.
  3. Creates new and streamlined training requirements for renewal permits and moves the time between training from 5 years to 10 years. The renewal process will now be as simple as taking an online course to demonstrate continued proficiency.
  4. Allows for a renewal applicant to renew their permit under any of the current training requirements including shooting on a range if they so choose.
  5. Establishes that a veteran with small arms training will never have to go through initial or renewal training to obtain their permit to carry.
  6. Extends the window for qualifying training from the current 12 months now to 24 months. So if an applicant has had any qualifying training in the last 24 months that will qualify them for their new or renewal permit.
  7. Creates the requirement for uniform permits throughout the state and establishes that all permits, carry and acquire, shall NOT be issued for a particular weapon nor can it contain any identifying information about the weapon including the make, model, serial number or any ammo used in the firearm. It also strikes that the applicants residence be listed on the permit and prohibits the inclusion of their social security number.
  8. Extends the permit to acquire from a 1 year permit to a 5 year permit. This matches it up with the permit to carry which is also a 5 year permit.
  9. Adds new language that if a permit is denied and it is later determined that it should not have been that the applicant can recoup reasonable attorney’s fees.
  10. Removes the absurd ban on parent from being able to teach their child proper handgun safety if the child is under the age of fourteen.
  11. Establishes a statewide verification system for law enforcement to determine if a permit is valid. This also has a provision that an individual can request in person or in writing if a person has a valid permit to carry or acquire if they provide the name of the person and any of the following; their date of birth, address or telephone number. The House incorporated two additional provisions to this section that will require the person making the request give their name, contact information and the reason they are making the request. This information will be kept on file in the sheriff’s office and be accessible to those who wish to inquire if someone has been asking about their permit. Please keep in mind that current law allows for any member of the public to request to see your personal information that is on your permit application. Under the new provision if they make the request they will only be given a yes or no answer as to whether your permit is valid and the validity dates of such a permit. This is a huge step forward from where we are at currently. This is NOT a firearms registry nor is it a registry of firearm owners as not every firearm owner has a permit.

This is our prime opportunity to get something done that benefits all Iowans. It has been 5 years since shall issue has been passed and Iowans in the Second Amendment community are hungry for more of their freedoms. This bill, with the House amendment is a strong step forward and advances those rights. Is it everything you or I would like to see enacted into law this year? No, it is not! But it is the best shot we have at doing right by the people we serve.

If you have been contacted by folks who say they are in opposition to the bill due to IGO's misleading’s. Please consider explaining to them all that the bills does and point out that they is merely trying to raise money by lying to them. You can also point out that the Bill with the House amendment is strongly supported by the NRA, Iowa Firearms Coalition, law enforcement from across the state as well as hundreds of thousands of Iowans.

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Iowa Straw Poll Date and Place Set

The Iowa Straw Poll, long held in Ames, is moving to a new venue down the road.

Boone is the winning bidder, after a unanimous vote Thursday by GOP party board members.

Aug. 8 is the date for the carnival-like political gathering, which the Republican Party of Iowa hosts every four years during the summer before Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses. The aim is to raise money for the party and showcase presidential candidates. The event is famous for its music, food, speeches and mob of media. Campaigns try to lure in voters and beat expectations in the nonbinding poll.

To see the announcement from the Republican Party of Iowa go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6-c66JmhII

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Friends and Fellow House District 1 Citizens

Friends and Fellow House District 1 Citizens

After a huge (some would say historic) success on the November 4 election it is time to get to work.  We look forward to the hard work of serving you in the upcoming Legislative Session at the State House.  Your voice has been heard and now I ask for your help so I can better serve you in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.  Please get involved and let your priorities be known to me and other legislators. 

I will be sworn in as your State Representative on Monday, January 12th at 10am. I am honored that you have placed trust in me to bring our values to the concrete of Des Moines.  I am also humbled by the trust you have placed in me. I will do my best to honor your trust by fighting for the principles that built our state and our nation. 

You can now contact me through my legislative email address: john.wills@legis.Iowa.gov.

I will communicate with you in many as many ways as is possible.  Here are some that are the easiest ways that we can communicate. 

1.      Attend Legislative Forums and Coffees which will be published in Newspapers, on Facebook, and our website.

Jan 24 Lyon County, Forrester Community Building, 8:00 AM

Jan 24 Osceola County, Sibley Public Library, 11:00 AM

February 7, Spencer Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues, 8:00 AM

February 7, IGL Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues, 11:00 AM

February 28, Lyon County Eggs and Issues, 8:00 AM

March 7, Spencer Chamber of Commerce, 9:00 AM

March 7, IGL Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues, 11:00 AM

March 21, Spencer Chamber of Commerce, 9:00 AM

March 21, IGL Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues, 11:00 AM

March 28, Lyon County Eggs and Issues, 8:00 AM

2.     Refer a friend to our newsletter and/or “Like Us” on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/WillsforIowa?ref=hl

3.     Invite me to visit your group to discuss what is happening in in our state or to educate me on topics you feel are important.

4.     Come to Des Moines and meet with me, tour the Capitol, and learn about our political process.  (if you do come to Des Moines, you may meet my very special and talented clerk, Cami Wills, my wife, who will assist me with your issues and your priorities while in Des Moines)

5.       Write or e-mail me to share your concerns:  john.wills@legis.iowa.gov

15732 Tradewind Dr

Spirit Lake, IA  51360

6.     Call me with your important issues.  712-330-9492 or (515) 281-3221

I look forward to hearing your views and concerns as we work to make Iowa a better place, while also restoring the founding values that are essential for securing the future for our children.

Important upcoming dates that you may be interested in:

January 12 – First day of Session, Installation of Representatives – 10:00 AM

January 16 – Governor’s Inauguration and Inaugural Ball

February 6 – Final day to request bill drafts

March 6 – First Funnel Day

March 16 – 20 – 2nd Funnel Day

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State Revenue Slows

State Revenue Growing at Slower Rate

 

Timing issues helped to hold back revenue growth for November, as FY 2015 revenue growth fell to 2.7 percent through five months of the fiscal year.  For the month, state revenue was down $12.9 million or 2.1 percent when compared to November 2013. 

 

Amongst the individual tax categories, personal income tax saw 1.5 percent growth in collections when compared to 2013.  Through the first five months, personal income tax is up 3.0 percent.  Withholding payments are up $63.4 million, while estimate payments (-$11.9 million) and payments with returns (-$7.6 million) are down on the year.

 

Sales and use tax collections fell by $24.5 million or 7.6 percent for the month.  For the fiscal year, sales and use tax is up 2.6 percent.  Corporate income tax collections were up for the month, increasing by $3.5 million or 27.8 percent over November 2013.  For the year, corporate tax is down $15.3 million or a decrease of 7.8 percent.

 

What was the cause the slip in revenue?  Much of it can be attributed to the processing day calendar.  November 26 was final tax processing day of the month, while in November 2013 the final processing day was November 27.  In its revenue memo, the Legislative Services Agency stated:

 

This calendar difference will push $45.0 to $55.0 million of November 2014 revenue into December.  This issue makes monthly and year-to-date comparisons through November 30 difficult. 

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Iowa Industry Political Action Committee Endorses Wills

For Immediate Release:

9/13/2014

ABI’s PAC endorses John H. Wills as a Friend of Iowa Business

John H. Wills of Spirit Lake has been named a Friend of Iowa Business by the Iowa Industry PAC (IIPAC), the political action committee of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.  Wills is seeking election to the Iowa House in District 1 which includes Lyon, Osceola, and most of Dickinson Counties. 

The Iowa Industry PAC evaluates candidates based on their support for competitive business climate with a focus on creating Iowa jobs.  Criteria used to make the designations include the candidate’s positions on issues based on questionnaire responses, interviews, and their approach to general business community concerns. 

“Wills has demonstrated that he will be an advocate for improving Iowa’s business climate so that employers can create more jobs and grow the economy.  ABI looks forward to working with Wills to produce legislation that everyone can get behind; more economic stability for Iowa,” ABI President Michael Ralston said. 

ABI is comprised of more than 1,400 companies that employ more than 300,000 Iowan’s.  “As the Voice of Iowa Business since 1903”, ABI works to enhance the Iowa business climate to foster growth and prosperity for all Iowans. 

IIPAC is non-partisan and endorses both Republican and Democratic candidates for legislative and statewide offices.  The committee encourages voters to consider the endorsements when evaluating which candidates will focus on economic issues and help bring jobs to Iowa when voting this November. 

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You Can Vote Early and in Comfort

This year make a change in your voting habits and vote early by using Iowa's Absentee Ballot Request Form.  It is easy, it is convenient, and it will save you from being contacted by multiple candidates asking for your vote.  Simply go to this website:

http://branstadreynolds.com/absentee/

 

Follow the directions in requesting your ballot and when it comes, make sure you submit that ballot.  No more waiting in lines.  No more hoping the weather is good.  No more forgetting about voting until you get home...and then not wanting to go out again.  Vote early this year to make sure your vote counts. 

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Vote Early

This year, I would like to encourage people to vote early.  There are many benefits to voting early in this election. 

First, by voting early you will be removed from the contact lists and avoid being contacted and get all that mail.

Second, you will avoid the lines on November 4 and ensure that you do get out to vote, in case something happens that prevents you from going to the polls.

Third, it is easy...all you have to do is follow this link to the Dickinson County Republican Woman's website and request the absentee ballot. 

Finally, it will save the Republican Party and candidates a lot of money by not having to mail, call, and contact everyone before the election. 

Here is the link:

http://www.dcrwia.org/absenteeballotinformation/

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me I would be happy to help you through this easy process. 

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Dickinson County Republican Woman Upcoming Events

I have been trying to post the following upcoming events to the Wills For Iowa Calendar, but for some reason I can't publish a website to the calendar.  The following link will lead you to some great events in Dickinson County for the Dickinson County Republican Woman. 

http://www.dcrwia.org/new-events/

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Wills for Iowa
I will bring rural values and our ethics of hard work to the concrete of Des Moines.