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2nd Amendment Omnibus Bill – Implements permitless (“Constitutional”) carry-meaning permits are not required to carry a firearm-a bill constituents have asked for a long time; Permits will continue to be issued but they are optional; NICS background checks still required when a person purchases a gun.

On private sales-the responsibility is on the seller to know that the buyer is not prohibited from purchasing a firearm (a felon, convicted of domestic abuse, adjudicated mentally incompetent, etc.). A seller caught selling a gun to a buyer who is prohibited from possessing a firearm commits a felony and loses their firearms rights. If the seller is not sure, they can get a gun dealer to run a NICS check on the buyer.

More details given in a previous newsletter.

Gun Manufacturers Bill – This bill prohibits lawsuits against firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition manufacturers, sellers, or dealers for simply selling their product. It re-establishes that the responsibility for criminal acts using a firearms rests solely on the perpetrator of the act, not on the manufacturer of the firearm or ammunition. Manufacturers would still be liable, of course, for defective firearms or ammunition.

Free Speech Training in Schools – This bill builds on the requirement in our schools for respect for the school community members’ 1st Amendment right of freedom of speech. This applies both to the Regent universities and the K-12 schools. This bill requires training for students and staff on respect for each other’s free speech rights and requires disciplinary processes be used when violations occur.

Prohibition on Use of “Critical Theory”- This bill prohibits “critical theory”-infused (divisive concepts listed in the bill) training and curriculum for students and staff in the Regents universities and K-12 schools and also for employees of state and local governments. Divisive concepts prohibited include:

  1. An individual, by virtue of his race or sex is inherently or systematically racist, sexist or oppressive.
  2. An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of their race or sex.
  3. America or the state of Iowa are fundamentally racist or sexist.
  4. Race or sex stereotyping – ascribing values, morals, privileges etc. to a race or sex or to an individual because of their race or sex
  5. Race or sex scapegoating – assigning fault to a race or sex or to an individual of that race or sex claiming that one race or sex is inherently racist or sexist or inclined to oppress others

Traditional training that teaches respect for all, no matter their race or sex, remains encouraged. Schools and governments will still be able to use training that teaches respect for everyone’s 1st Amendment rights of free speech and intellectual expression as has been traditionally understood and done. This is basic to freedom and what we as Americans have long valued. Discussion of critical theory is still allowed in the classroom but teaching, training, advocating, and promoting using critical theory or the divisive concepts defined in this bill is not allowed.

For more details see my previous newsletter on “Marxism 2.0”.

Payment Parity for Mental Health by Video – Requires health insurers to reimburse for mental health services provided through telehealth (video) at the same rate as services provided in person.

Age for Preschool Program – The age for the statewide voluntary preschool program now includes “young 5’s” (students with birthdays between Mar. 15th and Sept. 15th) as well as 4’s.

Massage Parlors and Human Trafficking – Creates new crimes to target human trafficking. Focuses on massage parlors and cosmetologists to ensure they have appropriate licenses and aren’t serving as a cover for human trafficking by providing fake licenses or identification.

Deaf & Hearing-Impaired Children – Requires language development milestones to be set for deaf and hearing-impaired children ages birth through age 8. They will be assessed and progress monitored. Resources will be developed and disseminated for parents to use. Designed to address the issue of deaf and hearing-impaired children coming to school lacking language and being behind their hearing peers from the start. Bill was asked for by deaf education advocates.

Orthodontics – Requires a patient seeking orthodontic treatment to have seen a dentist 6 months prior to the treatment.

Podiatrist Vaccinations – Podiatrists would be allowed to administer vaccines and epinephrine.

Alert on H.R. 5 in Congress

HR 5, wrongly named the “Equality Act”, is the most extreme threat to religious freedom, free speech, privacy, and women’s rights that has ever been proposed by Congress. On Wednesday March 13, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 5, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law. Iowa has had these two categories as protected classes since 2007, but if the federal government were to enact the same protections, harmful changes that have been slow to come could be hurried along.

Where the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered equality by ensuring that African-Americans had equal access to public accommodations, employment, housing, education, etc., the Equality Act would further inequality by penalizing everyday Americans for their beliefs about marriage, family, biological sex, sexual ethics, and unborn human life. Similar sexual orientation and gender identity laws at the state and local level have already been used in this way, including in Iowa. Iowa is one of 28 states with protections for these classes.

Unlike beliefs about race which are not part the religious beliefs of hardly any Americans, the views of those identifying with the “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” classes are in direct opposition to the great majority of Americans’ religious or conscience beliefs as they include views regarding marriage, family, biological sex, sexual ethics, and the life of the unborn.

Here is what HR 5 would do:

  1. Biological boys and men would be legally allowed to enter bathrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and dressing rooms, designated for girls and women, both in schools, public places, and business places, putting girls’ and women’s privacy and safety at risk. This includes in sleeping facilities with women on overnight stays, school/church trips, etc.
  2. Biological boys and men would be legally allowed to compete in girls’ and women’s sports, depriving them of a level playing field physically and a fair chance at championships and potential scholarship opportunities. This has happened in Connecticut and Alaska. This would defeat the purpose of Title IX, which was meant to ensure that women would have the same opportunities as men including in sports.
  3. Biological boys and men would be legally allowed to enter women’s domestic violence shelters and women’s prisons, totally unthinkable and unacceptable.
  4. Employers and workers would have to conform to this new law or else lose their businesses or jobs as there is no exception for those with religious or conscience beliefs. This happened to a business in Iowa due to our state civil rights law that already has these 2 categories as protected classes.
  5. Churches and faith-based schools and non-profits would also have to conform to this new law regarding ceremonies and services offered, employment policies, public accommodations policies, housing policies etc. as there is no exception for them. If not, what are the penalties: loss of tax-exempt status, loss of accreditation, fines, denial of student loans, lawsuits, possible closure?
  6. Faith-based foster care and adoption agencies would be forced to place children in homes that do not align with their religious beliefs or close their doors, as has happened in other states.
  7. Medical professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) would have to participate in abortions, in the treatment and removal of healthy sexual organs of patients (gender transition), and in the dispensing of medications that violate their religious beliefs, their conscience, their oath to “do no harm”, and/or their best professional medical judgment. There is no exception for them.
  8. Hospitals and insurers would have to provide and pay for these therapies and procedures against any moral or medical objections. Again no exception.
  9. Families would be harmed because there is nothing in the bill that recognizes their right to protect their children who struggle with sexual identity from harmful gender transition treatments or their right to seek counseling treatment for their children who struggle with same sex attraction or behavior or gender confusion.
  10. Counselors would not legally be allowed to help clients with unwanted same sex attraction or behavior or gender confusion.
  11. Public schools and colleges would have to conform to this new law with LGBT ideological education as many are already doing currently, including here in Iowa. Also, conformity would be required in employment, housing options, public accommodations, etc. including, where applicable, standards for undergraduate and graduate coursework.

It needs to be understood there are no provisions in the bill to prevent any of these obviously unacceptable scenarios from happening. Common sense and a respect for privacy, safety, decency, and for different beliefs is gone out the window.

Immutable biological differences and unique attributes between sexes will become illusory because birth sex is irrelevant under HR 5. Women’s rights and historic gains made by women will be negatively affected because men will be able to legally be recognized and treated as “women”.

Julia Beck, who describes herself as a radical lesbian feminist and the former law and policy co-chair of Baltimore’s LGBTQ Commission, testified before the U.S. House about how badly HR 5 will harm women: “This would eliminate women and girls as a coherent legal category worthy of civil rights protections. There is no way to tell if someone is lying about being transgender.”

It also needs to be understood that this bill specifically says that a person of faith who is discriminated against by government action enforcing this new law will not be able to claim that their religious freedom rights under the 1st Amendment have been violated. A citizen’s religious free exercise protections are gutted. In effect, it will allow those whose views aligning with LGBTQ ideology to trample on and discriminate against those whose religious views are opposed to theirs. This bill makes religious free exercise, free speech, conscience, and privacy second-class rights.

Just to be clear, no one is advocating for discrimination or adverse treatment of any person no matter how they view their sexual identity. But this bill goes far beyond that. A federal sexual orientation and gender identity law would empower the government to interfere in how regular Americans think, speak, and act at home, at school, at work and at play. Any bill promoting such authoritarianism and totalitarianism is a danger to our freedoms. HR 5 does not protect the values of most Americans and, in fact, will punish Americans for exercising our long-held rights and freedoms. It needs to be rejected.

Please contact Sen. Grassley at 202-224-3744 and Sen. Ernst at 202-224-3254 now to register your opposition to this bill. Or you can email at https://www.grassley.senate.gov/contact/questions-and-comments and https://www.ernst.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

Author: Sandy Salmon


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