Condition of the Iowa National Guard. On Wednesday, we heard from Major General Timothy E Orr, who, in his opening remarks, stated the Guard is “Mission Focused and Warrior Ready”. He pointed out his troops are the most proficient, capable, accessible and battle-tested in the history of the state. Looking forward he stated the Guard faces three challenging transitions that will test their leadership and shape their future. First, the Guard has to transition from war, but in the context of an increasingly complex and competitive security environment. Second, the Guard will have to transition from abundant to constrained resources. And lastly, many active duty service members and their families will need to transition into civilian life, looking for meaningful professional opportunities and a quality way of life. Orr stated that more than 4,000 currently serving Soldiers and Airmen are combat veterans, nearly 45 percent of the force. After 12 years of war, all National Guard units serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are home and about 100 troops are deployed in other locations throughout the world. He did, however, note that two Guard units have received notification for potential deployments later this year. Over the next five years, as we continue to withdraw troops, several hundred thousand men and women from all services will be released from active duty and returned to civilian status. This may become a difficult transition, which provides the state of Iowa with a historic opportunity. Orr stated he was pleased that, through the Home Base Iowa initiative, those soldiers are encouraged and welcome to come to Iowa.
Transportation Legislation. This week we moved three bills through transportation subcommittees, which is the first step in the approval process. HF-2051 basically changes the definition of “motor vehicle” related to Iowa’s lemon law. With farm pickup trucks continuing to increase in size, the bill was written to increase the upper weight limit from 10,000 lbs to 15,000 lbs. HF-2059 better defines when vehicle permits are required to drive equipment on roads when that equipment is being used primarily for construction of permanent conservation practices on agricultural land. This clarification is needed due to recent citations being issued by the DNR for such practices. HSB-548 relates to defining the term “scrapping” vs. “recycling” vehicles for hobbyists. Even though it passed through the subcommittee, an amendment still has to be added.
State Rep. Brian Moore, R-Bellevue, represents District 58 in the Iowa House.