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Q&A: Celebrate National FFA Week

Q: Why did you co-sponsor a resolution for National FFA Week?

Well, we did and we didn't

You likely don't know it dear reader, but there was a good bit of behind-the-scenes hubbub after State Rep. Wills sent out his Feb. 16 newsletter. I'm sure many dedicated readers already know those newsletters often appear as columns on the opinion page of the Dickinson County News – because we feel it's important our readers know what their legislators are saying. And Rep.

Age appropriate, and explanation

Editor's note - The Dickinson County News reached out to Spirit Lake Schools after receiving State Rep. John Wills' newsletter the afternoon of Feb. 16. The school district was offered a chance to respond or otherwise comment on Rep. Wills' claims, and comment was received from the district Tuesday, Feb. 21. Prior to the district returning comment to the newspaper, Rep. Wills authored a second newsletter, which was received by the Dickinson County News on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Spirit Lake Schools responds to Wills' statements

After reviewing both of Rep. John Wills’ statements regarding library materials, we understand his intention was to shed light on the issue of age-appropriate content in school libraries and to share that he felt no district, no matter how educationally sound, is exempt from this topic. We appreciate Rep. Wills clarifying his intent and apologizing for any unintended issues caused to the district.

Book banning – no, age appropriate – yes

A note from the publisher - After reviewing the content provided as examples by Rep. Wills, I determined that it was too graphic to produce in our news pages. While we appreciate all viewpoints, we have experience in knowing what a large segment of our readership will deem to be acceptable. That said, we do believe people should have access to what our state representative is discussing.

Approaching Funnel Week

This week the Senate was hard at work trying to get everything in order before the first “Funnel Week” arrives, coming up during first part of March. By this time, all Senate policy bills must be voted out of a standing committee to be placed on the calendar for upcoming floor debate. Before a bill is able to be voted on in a regular standing committee like Judiciary, the process starts with a subcommittee, where the bill is voted on to move forward or be halted.

An Ash Wednesday invitation

By Martin Lucin - Grace Lutheran Church


Voice your opinion on CO2 pipelines, eminent domain

We recently made the trip to the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Why did we travel nearly eight hours to Des Moines and back to go to the Capitol?

Quality long-term care at risk in rural Iowa

By Scott Kessler - Administrator, Lakeside Lutheran Nursing Home and Grace Estates Assisted Living, Emmetsburg

In 2022, 19 nursing homes closed in Iowa due to many different factors affecting operations. On Feb. 1, 2023, another four nursing homes went into receivership and a fifth announced its closure on Feb. 8. Most of these closures are in rural Iowa locations.

State funding of education v. performance

Things are moving along nicely at the Statehouse. On Feb. 7, the House passed a 3 percent increase to state spending in our K-12 schools. We are already being criticized by some that we haven’t contributed enough funding to keep our schools competitive. In fact, the narrative is that Republicans are destroying education in the state.

The opposition uses things such as Iowa used to be the number one state in the nation in reading scores.

Upcoming bills and voiced concerns

On Monday I started my day receiving a draft of a bill I recently filed for a constituent and approving another bill to be drafted. One bill is a companion to Rep. Jones' bill in the House regarding the use of fake money or movie prop dollars. The other bill deals with state sales and use tax.

Iowa Farmland Belongs to Iowa Farmers

China represents the greatest threat to our national, economic, energy and food security. From buying up American farmland to stonewalling investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, China cannot be trusted. As we begin the 118th Congress, I have helped introduce several pieces of legislation to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression and protect our most vital, yet finite resource in rural America – our farmland.

Set yourself free in 2023

By Rev. Barb Dean - Spencer Living Word Church Lead Pastor

One of life’s hardest things to get free from are wounds sent from people in the form of words.

Years ago, a man who had been attending our church cornered my husband, Pastor Al, in the hallway after the service and said "I hope you know I hate you!" If you knew Al, you are not surprised at this response ... "I feel sorry for you!" and went on his way greeting the ones who, so far, still loved him.

State government realignment

It seems like we just started at the State Capitol. I was reminded a couple days ago that we are already 20 percent of the way through the legislative session for the year. We are now working in earnest at committee work and passing bills out of sub-committee so that they do not fail as we come up to the first funnel, which is the date we have set that bills must be moving through the system.

Committee work continues

The fourth week of session was busy, but the fifth week promises to be more intense as the first deadline for filing bills is Feb. 10. Over the last several weeks, as the chair of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee, I’ve met with several departments to review their budget requests. The scheduled meetings included Iowa Workforce, the Treasurer’s Office, Office of the Chief Information Officer, LSA and IPERS.

Q&A: Resources for taxpayers

Q: What resources are available for taxpayers having issues with the IRS?


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