Week 9 in the Iowa House was highlighted by advancement of important legislation, budget progress, discussions on education transparency and school choice. Unfortunately, it is also memorable due to an unprecedented attack by Democrats on parental authority that would be almost impossible to believe were it not in writing. I will highlight each of these events in this edition of Freedom Watch.
Combatting Human Trafficking:
Human trafficking is an evil in our society that must be stopped. Victims of human trafficking are controlled by their traffickers through brainwashing, drug addiction, violence, and intimidation. As Chair of Judiciary, I floor-managed legislation this week to allow expungement for victims of human trafficking of some criminal records that result from their victimization. Additionally, the legislation mandates that children under 18 who are victims of human trafficking and are picked up for prostitution be referred to the Department of Health & Human Services for assistance and counseling, as opposed to simply prosecuting them for offenses they were forced to commit. This important legislation passed with strong bipartisan support and is now in the Senate for consideration.
The Iowa House took the first steps this week in passing the State Budget. The Justice Systems, Transportation, and Agriculture and Natural Resources budget bills were the first to clear budget sub-committees and head to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Justice Systems Highlights:
The Justice Systems Budget continues Iowa House Republicans’ commitment to ensuring our men and women in law enforcement have the resources they need to do their jobs. The Department of Public Safety will get a budget increase of $3.1 million in FY 2023 under the House proposal. The majority of that increase will go to the Iowa State Patrol.
The Justice Systems Budget also provides $2.5 million for the Public Safety Equipment Fund. This fund was created last year to ensure the Department of Public Safety has the most up-to-date equipment available and can properly maintain it.
The Department of Corrections will receive an additional $7.1 million in the next budget year. With this increase, the Department of Corrections would see an increase of almost $29 million since FY 2021. These increases are necessary to ensure the safety of our Corrections personnel, as well as for the health and welfare of inmates.
The Judicial Branch under the House budget would see a $7.36 million increase for fiscal year 2023. This increase in funding would cover the costs of adding four new associate judge positions and providing judges and magistrates with a salary increase.
Transparency in Education:
The Iowa House is working hard on initiatives to increase transparency in education for parents, that are also workable for our teachers. Ultimately, transparency will provide accountability for what our children are being taught in school.
The Ames Community School District, Des Moines and some others have been exposed as having engaged in anti-American indoctrination, racial scapegoating and stereotyping, teaching inappropriate sexual terminology and LGBT ideology to elementary students, distributing anti-police images to young children, and placing pornographic, age-inappropriate books in school libraries.
Transparency will help prevent teachers and administrators from using their positions to engage in indoctrination. For the vast majority of schools that are doing it right, I would suggest the time is overdue for a conversation with those engaging in indoctrination, as to the irreparable harm they are doing to public education in Iowa.
Iowa House Republicans believe that parents matter, and that they deserve to know what their child is being taught in the classroom. However, House Democrats clearly don’t agree, and their attack on parental authority this week went beyond the pale. They introduced an amendment, H-8130 to HF 2499, our bill to increase transparency on what is being taught in our schools, which strikes at the heart of parental authority and would give unprecedented power to government. This amendment targets parents by forcing them to report parenting decisions to the school for government approval. Unbelievable.
Additionally, the Democrat plan forces parents to provide information every week to schools, including a list of “every of television show the student watched during the preceding week” and “a thorough description of how the relationships among adults in the student’s life are displayed in front of the student.”
The amendment is at best a mockery of parents’ rights to know what their child is being taught, and at worst a horrific attempt to allow a level of government control that should be profoundly disturbing to every Iowan, regardless of party affiliation. It is a reflection of the arrogance of those who believe that people are accountable to government, not the other way around.
Under Republican control, assaults on free men and women, such as this amendment that attacks parental authority and belongs in the halls of a dictator, are dead on arrival. However, if this amendment in fact reflects Democrats’ growing desire to exert government control over every aspect of our lives, then the necessity to keep those who cherish liberty in control of state government has never been more important or more compelling.