Under the Golden Dome, Too

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I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating the 4th of July holiday with family, friends, BBQ, fireworks, and parades. I also hope you have plans to continue to enjoy this tremendous summer Iowa weather by experiencing all the great activities and attractions our state has to offer.

July 1 marks the date when many of the laws we pass during the legislative session actually go into effect. I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about some of the notable bills that were passed during the 2013 legislative session that went into effect on July 1 of this year.

I look forward to spending this summer and fall meeting with you to receive your feedback on these new laws as well as ideas you have for the next legislative session.

HF 599- Beginning Farmer Tax Credit- This law promotes new jobs in Iowa’s agricultural industry by expanding the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program both in scope and in the amount of tax credit available. Additionally, it streamlines the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority’s (IADA) administrative process for implementing the credits. For more information on how to apply for the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit, contact Steve Ferguson at IADA- 515-725-4928 or steve.ferguson@iowa.gov.

SF 452- School Employee Background Checks- This bill offers increased safety and protection for our kids while in school. Iowa law requires all school employees to undergo a record check of the sex offender registry, child abuse registry, and the dependent adult abuse registry prior to employment. Under this legislation, school districts will be required to establish a policy which would require current employees to undergo the record check at least every five years after their date of hire.

HF 355- Online Driver’s License Renewal- In an effort to provide more convenience for Iowans renewing their driver’s license, this law creates a mechanism for online renewal. To renew your license online, go to https://mymvd.iowadot.gov/. For more information, contact the Iowa DOT at 515-244-1052 or ods@dot.iowa.gov.

HF 522- Aquatic Invasive Species- This bill is designed to protect our state’s lakes and streams from nonnative aquatic invasive species, so we can continue to enjoy our beautiful Iowa waters. Stopping the spread of aquatic hitchhikers can be done with a few simple precautions- clean, drain, and dry your boat and equipment before leaving a body of water. Also, keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport.

SF 295- Largest Property Tax Cut in Iowa History- This bill took effect upon enactment. It rolls back commercial and industrial property taxes 5% over two years. It limits valuation growth from the current 4 percent per year to three percent per year immediately for agriculture and residential properties and keeps the two classes tied together while freezing industrial property taxes at 90 percent.

Whether at a parade, festival, town meeting, or in the grocery aisle, I look forward to visiting with many of you this summer. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime with your thoughts, comments, or concerns at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.

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