Week 2 in the Iowa House has been busy and productive on a number of levels. Committee meetings and sub-committees on proposed legislation are being held. Appropriations committees have begun to evaluate the Governor’s budget requests. Discussions have begun on the Governor’s tax proposals. As Judiciary Chair, I am approving a number of bills for consideration, while stopping others that I do not believe are good public policy. I am personally working on Second Amendment legislation to strengthen preemption and gun range protections in Iowa, and I introduced the Life Amendment in response to Iowa Supreme Court and lower court decisions that struck down our 72-hour waiting period and heartbeat protections.
- In order for a bill to become a law, it must be cleared by a committee chair for consideration. A sub-committee is then held, normally consisting of three legislators. If the bill is approved by the sub-committee, it must then pass the full committee of which the sub-committee is a part. Then the bill must pass the full House, at which time it goes to the Senate for consideration. If it passes the Senate, it must then go to the Governor for her consideration. This time-consuming but proven process has begun on a number of bills in the 2020 legislative session.
- The Justice Systems sub-appropriations committee, of which I am a member, met today to hear the Governor’s spending proposals for the Justice system. The Justice Systems budget includes funding for Public Safety, the Department of Corrections, State Public Defender, the Judiciary and the Attorney General’s office. This year I have identified a real need to increase funding for cybersecurity, our crime labs and forensic examiners, in order to help ensure the safety and security of all Iowans. I will provide additional details in future newsletters.
- House Republicans have begun to carefully examine the Governor’s spending and tax proposals. The first thing we must determine, within 30 days of receiving the Governor’s budget requests, is funding for K-12 Education. The Governor has proposed nearly $100 million in increased funding for K-12 schools, which would mean over $900 million in additional funding for our schools in the last seven years. We must evaluate this request within the scope of all the state priorities that must be met, while balancing the budget and spending taxpayer money wisely.
- The Judiciary Committee has been busy indeed, with a number of bills beginning the sub-committee process. Bills up for consideration in Judiciary and Public Safety include medical malpractice reforms; stopping drug paraphernalia expansion and illegal CBD sales; reforms to criminal fees and fines; reforms to Iowa’s CBD program, criminal justice reforms focused on reducing recidivism and improving prospects for successful reentry into society; and protection of 2nd Amendment liberties through strengthened preemption and range protections. This week I introduced the Life Amendment, the next step in the process to reverse the Iowa Supreme Court decision that created a fundamental right to abortion that could lead to taxpayer-funded abortion in Iowa. Unborn lives matter.