Greetings from the Statehouse: Condition of the State

By Michael Bergan, Iowa House District 55

Michael Bergan

On Monday, Jan. 8, the House began the second session of the 90th General Assembly with typical formalities. This week the House and the Senate convened for a joint session to hear Governor Reynolds Condition of the State address, as well as hearing Chief Justice Christensen on the Condition of the Judiciary. Lastly, we heard from Major General Stephen Osborn, the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, on the Condition of the National Guard.

Condition of the State

In the wake of the terrible tragedy that occurred in Perry, Governor Reynolds opened up her address with praise for the swift response by law enforcement personnel, whose courage shows that even in dark times, there is hope. She then informed the legislature that the plan we set forth in 2018, to have 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce be trained at a level beyond high school by 2025, has already been accomplished. Teacher’s salaries was another topic highlighted by the governor as she asked the joint assembly to provide more funding so that the starting salary of teachers could rise by 50 percent bringing it up to $50,000. Lastly, she asked the legislature to help in lowering the income tax once again so that you, the everyday Iowan, will have even greater savings.

Condition of the Judiciary and the National Guard

On the morning of Jan. 10, Chief Justice Christensen spoke to the legislature on the Condition of the Judiciary. In her speech, themed around “building connections”, she asked the legislature to increase the judicial branch budget by 4.3 percent so that Iowa can ensure the salaries of judges here in Iowa are competitive. This in turn, she believes, will help to ensure the judicial branch across Iowa is adequately staffed and subsequently more able to provide justice for Iowans.

Thursday morning, Jan.11, the legislature received an address on the Condition of the National Guard by Major General Stephen Osborn, the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard. In his address the Major General spoke of the missions that the Iowa National Guard have taken part in, most notably Operation Lone Star which saw 109 Iowa National Guard soldiers voluntarily deploy to the southern border. He also informed the legislature that the Iowa National Guard’s top priorities are modernization and maintaining a constant state of readiness so that they can properly execute operations in 2030 and beyond.

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