Below is a quick overview of some major events from the week. Live video of debate, committees, and subcommittees can be found at legis.iowa.gov. Please reach out if you have any trouble finding anything or have any questions about any topics, including the ones discussed below.
1. Government Oversight Hearing
As the chair of the Government Oversight Committee, I have an important job in ensuring that our government is working for the people. On Wednesday we heard from University of Iowa Dental student Mr. Brase, who faced potential disciplinary action for engaging in free speech. The College of Dentistry sent out an email to their students expressing their disagreement with one of President Trump’s executive orders. Mr. Brase responded with an email that respectfully disagreed with the deans and faculty of the college. For using his free speech rights, Mr. Brase was called to a future hearing where he faced a potential dismissal recommendation. This hearing only did not occur because members of the Legislature became involved.
I wish I could say that this was a one-off event and that our public universities do not have a 1st Amendment problem. But there are cases of disregard of the Constitutional rights of students at each of the 3 public universities in Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Iowa. I look forward to hearing from administrators at each of these institutions about what steps our universities are taking to ensure this stops.
2. Parental Choice in Education – HF 229
I am proud of the work that has been done to ensure that choice about what type of education will rest with the parents and students of Iowa. HF 229 will ensure that any parents of a K-12 student will have the option to have their child receive a 100% in-person education.
I thank the schools in SE Iowa who are doing everything they can to provide in-person learning to their students. But in some areas of the state, students are being trapped in situations that aren’t what’s best for them.
There are some students who can learn well online, but others require the in-person experience to get the best education they can. Who knows what their child needs better than their parents?
3. The Life Amendment
In last week’s update I discussed the importance of the Life Amendment and how it would place the vital question of life back in the hands of the people of Iowa, instead of judges.
This amendment would not outlaw abortion, it makes our Constitution neutral on the issue. It passed. In order to be placed in the Constitution the Life Amendment must be approved by the next general assembly, THEN it is placed on the ballot for the people of Iowa to vote on.
I truly believe that this is the most democratic way to decide this issue… by turning it over to you to have the final say.