HF2309 (Stopping Ban the Box & Upholding State Law) – I floor-managed this legislation to protect business owners’ right to know the criminal history of those applying for jobs. The city of Waterloo attempted to “ban the box” and prevent a business from having a check box on an employment form asking about criminal history. Waterloo’s actions were in defiance of existing state law. HF2309 mandates that cities and counties must pay reasonable attorney fees and costs if they are sued for violating this law and lose in court. This legislation passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate.
HF2455 (Tracking Wounded Deer) – This legislation allows Iowa to join numerous other states that allow hunters to track a wounded dear using a dog on a leash. I amended this bill on the floor to remove unnecessary time restrictions. Cody Friedrichsen from our District has worked for several years to get this done, and his effort is paying off. The legislation is now in the Senate for consideration.
Child Care Legislation – Numerous pieces of legislation to make childcare more accessible and affordable are under consideration by the House. I am encouraged by HF2424, a bill that removes the cliff effect and allows Iowans to ease off assistance instead of facing an immediate halt if they receive a promotion or raise. This encourages citizens to advance and better themselves, as opposed to the current system that fosters dependency.
Broadband – At least five bills are under consideration to expand broadband accessibility and speed in Iowa. Initiatives include grants and other economic development tools.
Health Care – Legislation is being considered to make prescription drug pricing more transparent; cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin; retain more health care professionals in Iowa; and telehealth expansion.
Voting Amendment – The House will soon consider an amendment to update the section of the Iowa Constitution that pertains to voting. Specifically, the amendment would update the voting age from 21 to 18 that was never been changed in our Constitution, allow those who will be 18 prior to the General Election to vote in the Primary, remove male references and replace with the term “the citizen,” and clarify that only citizens of the United States can vote in Iowa’s elections. This is an important amendment and is ready for floor action in the House.
Governor’s Tax & IWILL Proposal – Robust discussions continue on the Governor’s proposals to increase the sales tax a penny, fund IWILL, reduce property taxes by moving 70% of the cost of mental health to the state, and reduce income taxes. Overall, the Governor’s proposals reduce taxes, but I am concerned about increasing any tax. I do not believe we need to raise taxes to lower taxes.