WCC: Speaker Upmeyer Talks Priorities


By: MacKenzie Dreeszen

The Westside Conservative Club featured Speaker of the Iowa House Linda Upmeyer at their breakfast at the Iowa Machine Shed on Wednesday. Speaker Upmeyer talked with pride about the role that women play in the Republican Party in Iowa.

“While we don’t play gender politics, our party was excited when I was elected as the first female Speaker, when Joni Ernst was elected as the first woman Senator, and now that Kim Reynolds is about to become the first woman Governor. We also elected four new women to the Iowa House this year.”

Speaker Upmeyer gave an update on what is happening in the House and what Iowans can expect during the next few months of the 87th General Assembly.

“The first thing that we had to deal with this session was a deappropriation bill. We don’t spend more than we take in, and we are going to return money to Iowa taxpayers. Unfortunately, estimated revenue was wildly off, which means that we are going to have to cut about $100 million in spending.”

Speaker Upmeyer gave reassurance that there will be no cuts to education spending. The deappropriations bill is expected to pass the House on Thursday and the Senate on Monday.

The next step, Speaker Upmeyer continued, will be to determine supplemental aid.

“We have had to make tough choices to make education funding a top priority. For example, we have fewer state troopers on the road so that we can invest in our schools.”

Another piece of legislation that Speaker Upmeyer brought up was HF 1, which would require every agency to be reviewed every five years. If found to be ineffective or unnecessary, the agency would be discontinued. This bill also applies to rules and regulations.

“We are going to get rid of things that don’t make sense or don’t work anymore so that we can focus on things that do. This is part of our philosophy of smaller, smarter government.”

The number of laws in the state have increased dramatically over the years.

“When my father was in the legislature, there were three volumes of the Iowa Code. When I was elected in 2002, there were four. Now there are six.”

Other items on the agenda for this session include implementing a voter ID requirement, exploring medical marijuana laws, defunding Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions, making texting while driving a primary offense, pre-emption of city and county minimum wage requirements, and reforms to collective bargaining.

MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant in the Iowa House and a political consultant focused on fundraising.