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Live-streamed at: facebook.com/peaceloveiowa/live

Zoom link registration for participant stakeholders:

https://us05web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYud-yhpjgrHtYbrzuf79ZrxeQ8Md3zRIY2 

The final moments of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session took many by surprise.

Rep. Jeff Shipley cast an ‘aye’ vote on the successful passage of HF 847, an education bill that includes laws preventing school districts and accredited nonpublic schools from requiring a ‘facial covering’ except for educational purposes.

The bill also prevents cities and states from imposing any requirement on the owner of real property relating to ‘facial coverings’ that is ‘more stringent than a policy imposed by the state.’ This was already the state of the law as expressed by Attorney General Tom Miller last April. However, this was not being followed. Hence, this bill clarifies and codifies the status quo legal framework in this area.

The relevant language, now codified, can be read here.

Governor Reynolds signed the bill the wee hours of Thursday, May 20th, after Iowans demanded immediate enactment.

The passage of this bill caused many to rejoice, but also prompted fear, anxiety, and intense negative feelings for those who opposed its passage.

For the purpose of examining the legislative process, to further solicit feedback from the public, and most importantly:

To harmonize and soften the intense bitter and antagonistic feelings members of the public have on both sides of this issue, Rep. Jeff Shipley convenes a public forum to discuss these topics as a community.

ALL MEMBERS of the public are asked and invited to take part in this important dialogue.

Especially relevant stakeholders in schools (staff + students and parents), cities, counties, and local health officials are given priority to participate in a roundtable discussion on the topic.

Invitations to relevant stakeholders will be extended via email and will be followed up with personal calls from Rep. Jeff Shipley or staff as time allows.

Afterwards, all members of the public will be afforded the opportunity to comment and engage in discussion.

Topics of comment and discussion include:

  • Necessity and efficacy of masking for public health

  • State-imposed mandates versus local control

  • Creating the most desirable education setting(s) for children

  • Legal protections for religious minorities and the differently-abled

  • Maintaining a civil society grounded in mutual respect

  • Crafting health strategies to serve each and every unique Iowan

Guidelines for public participation:

  • Ensure your speaking is intended for the benefit of all

  • Calm, collected, reasonable, and dispassionate testimony is preferred

  • Personal insults, name-calling, or denigration of any human being will not be tolerated

  • Do your best to tell the truth to the greatest extent knowable, lies will not be tolerated

  • Participation in this forum is a privilege, not a right

  • Confine comments to two minutes or less, will allow additional comment as time allows

Any parent, teacher, or student, who wishes to be considered a relevant stakeholder for this discussion can email [email protected] and/or use the zoom registration link to ensure their thoughts and opinions are prioritized.

It is only by engaging in open, honest, and productive dialogue, can we build consensus in our community. This process is essential for the peace and prosperity of Iowa to flourish. Everyone, particularly those opposed to the bill, are gently yet firmly encouraged to attend and participate.

There will be a social distancing area provided for those who wish to do so, as well as refreshments served to provide comfort for what may become a long evening.

Author: Jeff Shipley