Hite Proud Of First Session In Legislature

Rep. Dustin Hite (R-House 79)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – In 2018, New Sharon Mayor Dustin Hite was elected to the Iowa Legislature in House District 79, representing Oskaloosa, New Sharon, and Pella. The 2019 session of the Iowa Legislature recently ended in quick fashion. For Hite, that brought to a close his first year in Des Moines, affecting policy for the State. Hite said that his first year in Des Moines was unique.

“My first session up there, I think, was really good. I ran a couple of big bills; the property tax reform bill and the campus free speech bill. Those were two that I floor managed. Got a couple of other pieces of my legislation through the two houses,” Hite said of the session. “All in all, I’d say it was a good year,” he added.

One of the bills that Hite said he ran was a property tax bill that he was particularly proud of. Hite said, in essence, it gives the taxpayer more information from the respective government as they set budgets in the spring.

“It’s going to give them more information as to really if the supervisors’ or the city councils’ aren’t going to raise taxes, what that would look like to be able to compare that to what they do. So, it’s really just more information for property taxpayers,” Hite said.

During floor debate of the bill, Hite said that accusations were thrown that the bill was really a secret attempt to gut IPERS without the general public knowing.

“I think those falsehoods were dispelled the very next day when IPERS came out and said ‘this bill doesn’t cut IPERS’. IPERS is still mandatory for cities and counties, the rate that they pay in is still set by the state, and it doesn’t affect any current retirees benefits, any future retirees benefits, it just simply doesn’t do anything with IPERS,” Hite said.

Hite attributed those claims to the fact that there was mention of levies that cities and counties use to set IPERS contributions during the budget process.

“If we were to accept the argument from the other side that this was about IPERS, then every budget bill, every property tax bill, every tax bill that we run at the state would be about IPERS, and that’s simply not true,” Hite said.

Comparing the experience as a state legislator to the experience as the Mayor of New Sharon, Hite said there were some differences.

“As Mayor, you’re kind of the leader of the city, and you get a little more control over how things go and where things go. Up there, you’re one of 100 or one of 150 if you want to add in the Senate so, there’s a lot more working with other legislators, whether it be Republican or Democrat,” he said.

Hite added that in retrospect, there is perhaps a lot more bipartisanship up in the legislature than many people may believe exists.

“I think that’s probably most surprising to people, it was most surprising to me, that around 90 percent of the bills we pass are bipartisan, get support from both sides of the aisle, and many of those are unanimous or pretty close to unanimous,” he said.

Hite added that there was one thing he regrets was not able to be passed through this session of the legislature, that being a constitutional amendment to allow convicted felons to vote in Iowa. The Iowa House of Representatives passed the bill; however, it was not taken up by the full Senate for consideration.

“That was an interesting conversation, an interesting dialogue. The groups that lined up for it are normally opposed to just about everything, but there’s a lot of talk of second chances. That made me proud to be proud of that. It passed the house with only two no-votes,” Hite said. “I hope we can come back to that next year,” he added.

Posted by on May 6 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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