The second week of the legislative session was a short one due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. However, that day off did not mean the week was any less busy. Subcommittees have already started on a number of topics and we’re starting to hear from groups and departments on proposed budgets for the next year.
Other bill topics included creating a special license for people ages 14-18, allowing minors who live or work on a farm in Iowa to operate a motor vehicle to help with farm work. Another bill would allow a permit to carry weapons for specially trained EMTs who may be working in a dangerous situation with an active threat.
Discussions continue on education funding and ensuring a bill is passed in a timely manner to give school boards and school administrators the time they need to plan their budgets for the next school year. Each year when the legislature debates the education budget you may hear we are cutting funding. The reality is we are deciding how much to increase the budget each year, in addition to the increase from the previous year. We are dedicated to passing reliable and sustainable school funding for schools and directing more of that funding for use in the classroom. Inequities in transportation costs and per-pupil funding continues to also be a priority for us, so we can ensure that the resources available to school districts are equitable across the state.
Working to Protect Life
A joint resolution that would make the subject of abortion neutral in the Iowa Constitution is one of the first bills moving through the legislative process. This change to Iowa’s Constitution does not prevent abortions. And, the U.S. Supreme Court precedent still prohibits states from banning all abortions under the U.S. Constitution. What this amendment does do, is add new language to the Iowa Constitution stating it does not secure or protect a right to an abortion or require public funding for an abortion.
In a ruling on a 72-hour waiting period for an abortion, the Iowa Supreme Court created a constitutional right to an abortion. If the constitution is going to be amended, it should happen through the process established by Iowa’s founders and not by judicial fiat.
The process to amend the Iowa constitution is for the legislature to pass the exact same proposed constitutional language in two consecutive General Assemblies. Following those votes, the citizens of Iowa would then decide to support or oppose the amendment. This is not the only amendment being presented for consideration by the people of Iowa.
Staying in touch
As we work further into the session, your input becomes increasingly important because everything we do as a General Assembly affects you personally. You can email me at email@example.com to voice your support or concerns on upcoming legislation.
Also, meet with me in your area to talk to me about issues important to you.
On Friday, February 7, I will be in the following areas at the following times:
Farm Bureau Meeting Room, Corydon, at 8 a.m.
Mosaic Meeting Room, Chariton, at 10 a.m.
Lakeside Casino, Osceola, at 12 p.m.
Community Center Meeting Room, Leon, at 2 p.m.
On Saturday, February 15, I will be in the following areas at the following times:
City Hall, Monroe, 10 a.m.
Knoxville, Location TBD, 12:30 p.m.