For the second installment of Eggs And Issues for 2021, state legislators took center stage.
In attendance were Dustin Hite, Iowa House Representative for District 79, Holly Brink, Iowa House Representative for District 80, and Ken Rozenboom, Iowa State Senator for District 40. Rozenboom mentioned that in light of the pandemic, many of the day to day procedures at the Capitol are very different, with only the bare minimum of required staff present. Hite also mentioned that while most committee meetings are being livestreamed, the Capitol is still open to the public at this time.
A question was submitted regarding the possibility of eliminating Daylight Savings Time, to which Rozenboom mentioned that while there hasn’t yet seen any bill submitted of that nature, it is still early in the session and there are countless bills being proposed. Brink recalled that a few years ago there were a little over 2,100 bills submitted, of which 174 were signed. She mentioned that bills often get combined and condensed as the session continues. Hite stated that he has heard calls to end Daylight Savings Time in the past and would be open to voting for it.
Another question was submitted regarding Governor Reynold’s proposal to lower state income tax and increase the sales tax. Rozenboom stated that the proposal was part of the Invest In Iowa Act, which was not re-submitted this year due to COVID. He did acknowledge that the were still going to discuss lowering state income taxes this session. Another question was submitted regarding ending mandatory income tax withholding. Hite stated that it likely wouldn’t be possible to do so, as it would would complicate the tax system currently in place, causing more problems than it would solve.
The lawmakers were asked for their opinion on schools meeting in-person during the pandemic since lawmakers were taking extra precautions. Hite said that even with precautions in place, lawmakers are still meeting in person as required. Hite then said that studies have shown a relatively low rate of transmission at schools and that most of the parents and teachers he has spoken would prefer to meet in-person. Brink also emphasized their presence at the Capitol, as though technology is being used to allow the public to view safely from home, legislators are required to vote in person. Rozenboom mentioned that while understands that the same approach isn’t necessarily suited for every school, in-person learning is the best option. He said that some schools have made in-person learning very difficult, and that as legislators they must respond because in-person learning is far superior to online learning.
The next installment of Eggs and Issues will take place on February 13, 2021, and is planned to feature City of Oskaloosa and Mahaska County Representatives.