This past week the Iowa Legislature was in the middle of “funnel week” with a number of important bills before us. Funnel week is the last week for important House bills to make their way out of committee before making it to the House floor.

I’m excited that we were able to introduce House File 657 this week. This bill would punish employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. State government is at a loss when the feds fail to take responsibility for border control and it’s time we took some action. I’m a co-sponsor of this bill and will be working hard to follow through on my pledge to protect Iowa’s workers. The workers of Poweshiek and Mahaska counties deserve a level playing field during the hiring process and this bill is a strong first step.

On another subject, I’m sure that many of you have been following the news of the deplorable conditions for our wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This standard of care is in no way acceptable and I think it’s time that we all put some pressure on politicians in D.C. to do more than “talk-the-talk” about our veterans. Congressman Boswell has long been a champion for veterans, but I believe letters from constituents back home would send a message to Representative Boswell that we support him in his efforts to care for our veterans. You can contact the Congressman at:

Congressman Leonard Boswell

300 East Locust, Suite 320

Des Moines, IA 50309

I have also recently signed onto a letter urging the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to increase the amount of hardship pay given to our National Guard members to compensate them for the extra time they will spend in Iraq. The extension of service for Iowa National Guard units will cause great hardships on the families, employers, and home communities of the members and we have asked that the Department of Defense provide funding and resources to mitigate the effects of the extension.

We have eight more weeks left in our legislative session and there is still a great deal of work to finish. The first half of session has been very productive and I would welcome your input on what our priorities should be during the second half.

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