Week 6 (1st Funnel Week) of the 2020 Legislative Session reminded me that while the legislation that moves forward is of great importance, it is equally important what Republicans do not allow to move on. We advanced good legislation this week to move our priorities forward, while at the same time killing bad & ugly bills from some Democrats that advanced socialism, attacked agriculture and assaulted Second Amendment rights at a truly disturbing level.
The Good: Advancing positive priorities for Iowa
- Child Care – House Files 2041, 2083, 2171, 2175, 2270, 2271 and 2424 are all bills aimed at improving access and affordability for childcare. We are also looking to remove the “cliff effect,” which discourages citizens receiving childcare assistance from accepting promotions, more hours and pay raises. I will review these carefully and support those that I believe are an appropriate government function and will effectively achieve their goals.
- K-12 Education – Sustainable funding that will keep our schools among the best in the nation remains a top Republican priority. House Republicans have passed legislation that will increase funding for K-12 schools by over $100 million. This builds upon our efforts to give local school boards far more control over how they spend their money and run their districts.
- Affordable Health Care – While the state is limited on what we can do in this area, since most of the control over health care rests with the federal government, House Republicans have been looking at ways to increase access and affordability of health care using free-market solutions, since socialized health care will only destroy our system. Committees have advanced legislation to provide more transparency, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, increase access to health services, and attract and retain more health care professionals. We also continue to work on mental health reforms. I remain focused on addressing issues with Medicaid Managed Care.
- Rural EMS – We are moving legislation to strengthen rural Emergency Medical Services. Initiatives include establishing reliable funding and doubling the EMS tax credit to help attract qualified individuals.
- High-Speed Internet – The Commerce Committee has passed multiple bills to improve internet access and bring faster internet speeds to rural communities.
- Protecting the Second Amendment – This week I advanced HF615, a bill to ensure that Second Amendment issues are regulated on a state level and not county to county or city to city. Known as preemption, this prevents a patchwork of different ordinances that would make it impossible for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights. This legislation also includes protections for gun ranges. Additionally, it mandates that if a political subdivision wishes to make a building or structure a gun-free zone, they must provide screening and security to ensure the safety of those denied their Second Amendment right of self-defense.
The Bad: Big Spending, Big Government, Big Disaster
- Socialist Health Care – To ensure they are not outdone by AOC and Bernie Sanders, some House Democrats filed legislation to turn Iowa’s health care system into a government-run, socialist health care disaster. This legislation would have made employer-provided or union-negotiated private health insurance illegal. It would have also killed thousands of jobs in Iowa and resulted in either a bankrupt state or massive tax increases the likes of which the state has never seen. Thanks to House Republicans, these proposals are DEAD.
- Assaulting Agriculture – Some House Democrats have filed legislation that smacks of The Green New Deal. These ideas would end farming as we know it with overly burdensome regulations, increased production costs and higher taxes on family farms. This was also killed by Republicans.
The Ugly: Attacking Law-Abiding Gun Owners – Numerous bills have been filed by Democrats to assault the Second Amendment rights of Iowans.
- Confiscation – A bill has been filed by Democrats to confiscate commonly used firearms such as shotguns, hunting rifles and pistols used for self-defense. Killed by Republicans.
- Seizure without Due Process – A bill filed by Democrats would take firearms from law-abiding citizens without due process. Killed by Republicans.
- Denying Permit to Carry – A bill filed by Democrats would allow Sheriffs to deny a request for a Permit to Carry without reason, walking back current law that mandates that sheriffs SHALL issue a Permit to Carry unless there is an established legal reason not to do so. Killed by Republicans.
- Banning Magazines lawfully used by Iowans – A bill filed by Democrats bans magazines that hold over ten rounds and makes no exception for law enforcement. Killed by Republicans.
- Banning what Democrats call “Semiautomatic Assault Weapons” – Here is one of the ugliest- HF 125 defines certain firearms as semiautomatic assault weapons based on what the weapon looks like, and prohibits their sale or transfer. Some things that might make your firearm a “semiautomatic assault weapon” according to House Democrats include: Pistol grips; Threaded barrel (for legal suppressors); Folding telescoping or detachable stocks; & Shroud attached to the barrel (rails). The bill goes on to list many cosmetic features of rifles, pistols and shotguns that would qualify them as “semiautomatic assault weapons.” Because this is a made-up style of weapon, it would be difficult for law-abiding gun owners to know if their weapon falls into this category. A person who sells or transfers any of these weapons would be guilty of a class “D” felony on a first offense and a class “C” felony for the second or subsequent offense. Killed by Republicans.
- The unfortunate reality – Some House Democrats deliberately treat law-abiding gun owners worse than many sex offenders and child molesters, tagging them with prison time of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000 in the legislation they propose to make law. This is what Democrats would advance were they to gain control of the Iowa House in the coming election. Elections do indeed have consequences.
There are many issues that are bipartisan in Des Moines. However, there are also profound disagreements that must be pointed out, since the direction we choose could fundamentally change our state forever.