The Rozenboom Report – January 12, 2018

Ken Rozenboom (R) at his desk in the Iowa Senate Chambers.

Ken Rozenboom (R) at his desk in the Iowa Senate Chambers. (file photo)

We finished up our first week of the 2018 legislative session and everyone is excited to get back to work for our constituents. It is an honor to serve you in the Iowa Senate. It was nice to be back at home in the district the last few months, but I am looking forward to starting our work and debate in the Senate. As we start to move forward with our agenda for the year, please feel free to contact me by phone or email if you have questions or comments on an issue, or better yet, stop by the Iowa Capitol to talk to me in person.

Much of the first week is ceremonial. The leaders of each party and chamber gave their speeches and set out their agenda for the session. One thing is very clear here – we are focused on providing tax relief for Iowans.

Governor Kim Reynolds gave her Condition of the State to a joint assembly of House and Senate members Tuesday morning. I was honored to have been able to watch the first woman governor of Iowa give her first Condition of the State to the members of the General Assembly. I believe she did an outstanding job of connecting with Iowans.

A number of things stood out to me. She announced a new initiative focusing on rural Iowa, promoting investment and expanding broadband capabilities. She also will be creating a bipartisan task force to look at our tax credits and give recommendations to legislators on improvements and changes we can make.

The governor also mentioned the health insurance crisis in our state and the problems facing working Iowans. The burden on Iowans, especially self-employed Iowans, that resulted from passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) a few years ago continues to be a big challenge for state lawmakers. Unfortunately, we can’t totally fix the problems that Washington created, but we are committed to doing what we can at the state level to lessen this burden. We also look forward to working with Governor Reynolds on improving Medicaid and the problems that have occurred since modernizing the system a few years ago. I have heard from many constituents on this issue. We want to find a solution that gives the Medicaid population the care it needs along with working on our state’s mental health system.

Additionally, Governor Reynolds announced a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in Iowa by increasing the use of the Prescription Monitoring Program, supporting enhanced intervention for Iowans addicted to opioids, and expanding medicated assisted treatment. She also would like to see legislation to reduce the number of opioids prescribed in Iowa.

One year ago, Senate Republicans started our tenure in the majority. We passed legislation on the Second Amendment and voter ID, a joint resolution to let the citizens of Iowa vote on putting a 99 percent expenditure limit amendment in the state’s constitution, changes to reward our state’s best teachers, and gave our school districts more control and flexibility. We passed legislation reducing the regulatory burden on Iowa’s job creators, eliminating hurdles to growth for other industries, improving career opportunities for every Iowan, while ensuring our state remains a beacon of enterprise and ingenuity.

This year Senate, the House of Representatives and Governor Reynolds are all dedicated to tax relief for Iowans. I look forward to talking with our colleagues about what plan is best for Iowans after learning more about how the federal tax code changes will affect our state. We all believe in making our state more competitive and a place where local businesses can thrive.

Tax relief is about strengthening our middle class and encouraging our citizens to invest in themselves, their local businesses, and our state. It allows Iowans to keep more of their hard earned money. Tax relief rewards work and investment. It is about growth and opportunity.

The Condition of the State speech was an historic one for Governor Reynolds and for the state of Iowa. It was exciting to listen to her vision for Iowa and set out her priorities. Her speech also provides us with the groundwork for budget discussions going into the session. We are looking forward to discussions with the House and with Governor Reynolds on our priorities this year.

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