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I want to first apologize for the title of my last newsletter as it conveyed an attitude of disrespect for the president. I am sorry for that. Although I disagree strongly with the policies of the current administration, the president should always be treated with respect.

Did you know Iowa laws protecting minors from pornography are stuck back in the technology of 40 years ago?? That’s right: they target telephones! I mean landline rotary or pushbutton-type phones!

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Did you know pornography is not primarily delivered over telephones anymore but over the internet on internet-capable devices? Do you think our laws need updating?? Absolutely, they do!

Did you know cell phones or any other internet-capable device have the capability to filter out pornography but the filtering software is turned “OFF”?? Why is the default mode on “OFF”? Why are they by default leaving children and families unprotected? Why is the onus on families to protect their children from pornography? Why are we making it easy on viewers of pornography but not on parents?? Do you believe we have to pass a law that filtering must be turned “ON”?? We shouldn’t have to, but unfortunately we do have to.

Did you know that schools and libraries are EXEMPT from having to obey Iowa laws outlawing obscenity (obscenity is the legal word covering pornography)??  Social media has been full of reports over the past couple months of Iowa parents that are discovering the results of allowing schools and libraries to be exempt. It evidently means you can throw decency and common sense out the window and let porn come on in to your kids’ schools! Some people might think this is a “Des Moines Metro” area problem because that’s where the reports are coming from….but it is not! I have discovered in a spot-check survey conducted across the state that this problem is all over the state. Books containing pornography are likely in your kids’ schools! The Florida Citizens’ Alliance has done the research for us and identified such books in their “Porn in Schools Report – 2019”. Concerned parents should investigate and take action.

I am sure there are many school officials unaware of the pornographic content in some of their books and I’m sure if they knew it, they would remove those books from their schools. But, unbelievably, I am hearing about pushback on this….I am hearing of some school and library officials actually defending having this kind of material in their inventory. Are they really defending pornography?? And exposing it to children?? This is entirely unacceptable and is for many Iowa parents!

Are we that desensitized that we have moved beyond apathy to defending exposing children to pornography? I sure hope not. We need to remember pornography fuels a variety of sexual harassment and sexual crimes, including sexual assault and sex trafficking, creating victims in its wake. It damages children, kills marriages, and introduces struggles and addictions families must deal with. Porn actually changes the physical functioning of the brain, causing addiction. It also grooms children and makes them prey to sexual exploitation.

Did you know there were 3 bills introduced last year in the legislature to deal with these issues: the archaic laws that speak of “telephones”, the filtering software turned “OFF”, and the loophole allowing schools and libraries to provide pornographic material?? Yes, I introduced them and could not get political will on any of them. I hope the social media firestorm and awareness brought by this article and others spur legislators to action!

Snapshot Updates

Thanksgiving and a vacation out of town took me out of the loop for awhile. In the meantime there have been lots of developments that affect us. Here are the highlights:

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Dobbs Case:  During our vacation to Philadelphia we took one day to go down into Washington D.C. to be present on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court when the justices heard oral arguments on a Mississippi law protecting the unborn at 15 weeks. This case is anticipated to be an opportunity for the court to reverse the deadly and infamous 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. If that were to occur, decisions regarding abortion would be returned to the states. How states would handle abortion would likely vary widely. As for Iowa, due to a past egregious ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, in order to put more protection in place for the unborn, Iowa voters will need to pass a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to do that. The process to do that has already begun. The U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision probably in June. I feel cautiously optimistic about the outcome.

Biden’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Blocked:  Two federal judges have blocked the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) from enforcing their mandate on hospital, nursing home, home care providers, and other health care workers to have to take the COVID vaccine. This order is in effect nationwide while the case makes its way through the courts and applies to Iowa. One judge wrote: “CMS seeks to overtake an area of traditional state authority by imposing an unprecedented demand to federally dictate the private medical decisions of millions of Americans. Such action challenges traditional notions of federalism….Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate.” The other judge wrote: “If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency. During a pandemic such as this one, it is even more important to safeguard the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution to avoid erosion of our liberties.” Those 2 judges hit the nail on the head!

Biden’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for Employers Blocked:  Now the federal OSHA rule mandating the COVID vaccine for all employees of companies with 100 or more employees has been permanently blocked. Another great decision!

Biden’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors:  A federal judge has blocked the federal executive order mandating all federal contractors take the COVID vaccine. And a 3rd great decision!

In each case, Governor Reynolds, calling these mandates, “an abuse of power”, joined the lawsuit on behalf of Iowa. In each case, the judge did the right thing, upholding citizens rights and liberties!

Where that leaves Iowans: Even though we were not able to get the votes in the legislature to put a prohibition on employer-mandated COVID vaccines in place, Iowa law still has protections for employees in that any business that mandates its employees receive the COVID vaccine, must also honor medical and religious exemptions. If an employee is fired for not receiving the vaccine, they will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

States Allowed Tax Cuts:  A federal judge blocked a provision of one of the COVID stimulus laws that prohibited states using that federal funding to enact tax cuts. Governor Reynolds had joined the lawsuit with a number of other states saying, “The Biden administration was trying to punish fiscally responsible states like Iowa, which has a record budget surplus….with this ruling the Biden administration can’t keep us from cutting taxes and I look forward to doing just that.” The court ruled that Congress overstepped its legal authority under the Constitution and that there are limits to the “strings” that can come with federal funds. States have the right to be free to set their own tax policy. A definite win for taxpayers!

Sex Change Surgeries:  Two years ago the state passed a law saying Medicaid is not required to pay for sex-change surgeries. A district court judge has struck that down saying the state cannot deny payment for those surgeries because it is unconstitutional. He said it violates the Iowa Civil Rights Act that includes protection for gender identity. This means Medicaid will be required to pay for sex-change surgeries approved by a doctor. A change is needed to prevent this tragic interpretation of current law. My thoughts: If a person wants to get this surgery on their own dime, they are certainly free to do that but this is something the state should not pay for. Those that struggle with gender dysphoria continue to struggle with mental health issues even after undergoing surgery and so a better plan is that they should receive compassionate care and counseling treatment with the goal of acceptance of their God-given identity.

Merging State Agencies:  The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) are making plans to merge the 2 agencies into one state agency and call it the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. The legislature will be reviewing the plan next session.

Author: Sandy Salmon

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