Ashley’s Angle: Week Four 2/2/17

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Trusted. Proven. Leader

Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent Iowa House District 67. I am proud to represent people from Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, and Cedar Rapids.

Wednesday was Iowa Realtor’s Day on the Hill. I was happy to see and meet with several members of the Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors.

Floor Debates and Alligators, oh my!

House Business
Monday of this week marked the first floor debate in the House. House File 118 (aka the de-appropriations bill) was brought before the House. The bill proposed $118 million in budget cuts for the current fiscal year to meet the constitutional mandate that Iowa maintain a balanced budget. Although anxious, I had done my homework and was ready to enter the political arena if needed.

However, after more than 3 hours, the bill passed 58-38 and has since been signed by Governor Branstad. As we move forward, we need to continue to look for savings and improve the efficiency of state government to prevent similar situations going forward. While this wasn’t an easy vote for me, it was a necessary one. I know you sent me here to work for you, the taxpayer, and to make those tough decisions of your behalf.

On Tuesday, Major General Timothy Orr, Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, addressed a joint session of the House and Senate on the Condition of the Iowa National Guard. Here are some of the more notable figures he presented:

  • 9,000 Iowans currently serve as Soldiers and Airmen in the Iowa National Guard.
  • 425 Iowan Soldiers and Airmen are mobilized for combat around the globe.
  • Nearly 40% of current Soldiers and Airmen are combat vets, a new record in modern history.
  • 1,200 men and women of the Iowa National Guard utilized programs to attend Iowa Universities, Colleges, and Community Colleges
  • In 2016, training at Fort Dodge equated to 400,000 training days and brought more than $100 million dollars of economic impact to central Iowa.
  • For every $1 of funding provided by the State, the Iowa National Guard brings in $32 of federal funding. In 2016, this meant more than $353 million dollars was brought into the state.

I am glad that so many soldiers and airmen are using programs to attain education and training from our great institutions. I hope more will continue to do so; but, I know we can do more. I am continuing to work with other representatives to find ways we can make the transition from soldier to citizen smoother.

I also want to bring everyone’s attention to the Iowa Secretary of State’s program called Honor a Veteran. The program offers a chance to recognize veterans for the service they provided this nation and the sacrifices they made to uphold our rights and liberties. I hope everyone will take a moment and check out the program. I also would like to personally recognize veterans and I need your help! If you know any veterans who you would like me to recognize, please contact me at

Personal Business
I have been assigned as chair for the subcommittee on House Study Bill 70 (HSB 70). HSB 70, or as I like to call it, “It steers, it clears” is legislation that would require those involved in car accidents resulting in only vehicular damage to move their vehicles out of travel lanes. This, of course, would only apply if the vehicle is operable and moving the vehicle can be done in a safe manner.

According to the DOT, for every minute that vehicles involved in an accident sit in a travel lane, the chances of a second accident occurring increases by 2.8%. By allowing the vehicles to be moved, we hope to alleviate congestion and prevent dangerous and sometimes fatal secondary accidents.

Lastly, I invite any readers who are in Des Moines on Monday, February 6 to attend the Public Hearing on HF 136 relating to State School Funding. The hearing will be in Room 103, the Supreme Court Chamber, and it is expected to be a very crowded event.

Bill of the Week
The bill of the week is…House Study Bill 5 (now House File 133) 

As a House Study Bill, this piece of legislation was assigned to me in the Judiciary Committee. In subcommittee, which included Representative Koester (R), Representative Wolfe (D), and myself, we unanimously supported and passed the bill to go before the full Judiciary Committee. The bill also passed through the Judiciary Committee this week and was read into the House as House Fill 133 (HF 133).

Although HF 133 is a fairly “technical” change to existing legislation, it may come to play an important role in Child Custody or visitation proceedings.

Most notably, the bill specifies the roles of guardian ad litem and another separate attorney for children. The guardian ad litem shall be solely responsible for representing the best interests of the minor child or children. They are required to be independent of the court and other parties and to be unprejudiced and uncompromised in their role. Aside from the guardian ad litem, a court may appoint a separate attorney to represent the minor child or children of the parties. If the child does not or is unable to express the child’s interests, the attorney shall advocate the child’s legal interests.

HF 133 helps clarify the roles of the individuals involved in the court cases, prevents conflict of interest, and, most importantly, will help protect vulnerable children by offering them quality representation in court proceedings.

Capitol Visitors
Some quests to the Capitol are scaly in nature. The Blank Park Zoo brought some animal friends including Bog, a four year old American Alligator (with Animal Care Specialist Julia Trausch).
Representative Staed and I stopped by the Linn-Mar Future Farmers of America’s table in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday. We met (left to right) Ekta Nanda, Chase Krug, Cayce Gudenkauf, Mason Gassmann and Agircultural Science Teacher and FFA advisor Barb Lemmer (not pictured). They are four of about 150 students currently participating in the program.
Another of Linn County’s finest visited the Capitol, Chief Jerman of the Cedar Rapids Police Department. With so many Law Enforcement officials coming to see me, I’m sure I’ve raised a few eye-brows.