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If the word fits, use it. The Iowa Legislative Session that ended on the afternoon of Thursday May 4th can best be described by a word that is often overused but appropriate in this case: historic.

Under the leadership of Speaker Pat Grassley and Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, House Republicans delivered on important priorities that have far-reaching implications for the future of our children, our state, and our nation. From property tax relief to education reforms, House Republicans not only took action, but in the case of public education reform, we pushed many of these priorities across the finish line. There were also three priorities that did not make it this session, and in this edition of Freedom Watch, I will highlight our many important successes, and those things remaining to be done.


  • School Choice, allowing all Iowa parents to choose the best educational setting for their children.
  • Delivered $100 million in property tax relief, including new exemptions for Iowa seniors and veterans. Step one in reforming property taxes in Iowa.
  • Empowered teachers with additional tools to address students’ behavioral issues in the classroom that threaten the safety of both teachers and students. This legislation was requested by teachers when House Republicans met with a group from across Iowa early in session.
  • Prohibited gender reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies on Iowa children under the age of 18. I helped write and floor-manage this legislation to passage. It was past time to protect our children from experimental procedures unproven in their efficacy. Oversight Hearings held by House Republicans, under the leadership of Representative Brooke Boden, exposed just how harmful and irreversible these procedures are for young children suffering gender dysphoria, most of whom return to identifying with their biological gender once they go through puberty.
  • Mandated that bathroom & changing facility use in schools be based on biology. I helped write and floor-manage this important priority to passage. This legislation was important to help ensure the privacy and safety of our children, at a time in which truth is being assaulted in the name of an agenda that is increasingly harmful to our children. Requiring a standard for bathroom and changing facility use that has been in place since 1887, in the face of ever-changing gender “fluidity” that defies logic, was a no-brainer. It is unfortunate that this legislation was even necessary, but it was, and in spite of the name-calling and attacks by the Left, we took decisive action in defense of all children.
  • Increased the efficiency of state government by shrinking state agencies from 37 to 16, resulting in smaller, smarter government. This was a high priority for Governor Reynolds.
  • Prohibited graphic, sexually explicit books in school libraries. The House drove the train on this important legislation, holding Oversight Hearings and exposing just how age-inappropriate many of these books are. This was never about book-banning, but rather about what is age-appropriate for young children to be exposed to.
  • Prohibited curriculum on gender identity and sexual orientation from being taught in K-6th grade. These discussions are best left for parents to decide. The teaching of gender ideology to young children is an assault on the values of many Iowa families. Confusing children at such a young age and planting doubts in their minds that were likely not there before, is wrong and will not be tolerated in Iowa.
  • Prohibited schools from keeping secrets from parents about their child’s gender identity. This legislation was driven by the actions of several school districts in Iowa that have concluded they own our children and know better than parents. They do not.
  • Reformed the Board of Educational Examiners to ensure the system is holding bad actors accountable and that parents are represented on the board. This was a House initiative and was driven across the finish line by the efforts of House Education Chair Skyler Wheeler, who stood boldly in support of parental authority in education.
  • Eliminated needless regulations preventing Iowa teenagers from being able to work jobs that allow them to learn valuable life lessons, save for their futures, and explore possible career paths.
  • Reigned in the divisive and misleading DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – sounds good but does just the opposite) bureaucracies at Regent Universities that are misusing taxpayer funds to silence conservative voices and impose ideological conformity on campus. This effort was driven by Representative Taylor Collins, a freshman with a great future ahead of him. He did outstanding work.
  • Protected access to health care by capping noneconomic damages awards. This initiative was important for the future of healthcare in rural Iowa.
  • Expanded access to health care, particularly in rural Iowa, by increasing funding for mental health care and maternal support programs, and by creating midwifery and rural emergency hospital licensures.
  • Creation of a new Iowa Workforce Grant and Incentive Program to fund scholarships for Iowa students studying to fill high-need jobs in the state.
  • Creation of a Human Trafficking Interim Committee to see how we can better combat trafficking and assist victims. As Judiciary Chair, combatting human trafficking will remain one of my top priorities.
  • Creation of a Master Teacher License that will enable teachers in the field for a long time to be exempt from certain continuing education requirements.

Remaining To Be Done:

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards are an attempt by the Left to create conformity and adherence to their world view by imposing standards for business transactions based not on financial considerations, but rather on their ideology on climate change, firearms, and other issues. Those businesses not in line would be denied loans and access to financial resources such as credit card services and shipping options. This is already happening in Iowa. The House passed strong legislation to address ESG in Iowa; the Senate did not advance it.
  • 2ndAmendment Protections passed by the House did not advance in the Senate.
  • Eminent Domain use for the proposed CO2 pipeline projects is strongly opposed by an overwhelming number of Iowans who understand the words of George Washington: “Freedom and property rights are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other.” The House passed legislation that I wrote to provide strong protections for landowners against the use of eminent domain for a project that clearly violates the Takings Clause of the 5thAmendment. The Senate did not advance the bill.

This legislative session was indeed historic in so many ways, but as the work that remains to be done reflects, there is still more to do. In defense of liberty and our way of life, our efforts are never enough. God Bless this nation and state we love and thank you for the honor of serving you in the People’s House.

Author: Steven Holt


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