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Well, the past few weeks in my newsletter, I had commented on the lack of floor debate in the Senate so far this session. Well, that certainly changed this week where we debated every day. One bill I was able to help stop would have made every county in Iowa follow the same requirements concerning windmills. It is my belief that if windmills are going to become a visual eyesore in our counties, that those choices and the requirements around them, should be made at a local level and not in Des Moines.

However, without a doubt the talk of the week in the capitol, heck, maybe the talk of the session so far, involved the craziness that some will go to protest a bill. And in this case, it happened to be aimed at legislation that came out of my Senate Workforce Committee.

In 2017, well before I ever was elected, legislation was passed that shaped how public sector employers, their employees, and unions (if there was a desire to have them as a part of that relationship), operate in Iowa. That bill was 69 pages long and as is true with many bills that length, occasionally there is a typo or a small oversight that created a loophole that was outside of the legislative intent of the bill. When those things are discovered, it is very common that legislation is introduced in the following years to fix these oversights without significantly changing the original bill.

We recently discovered a loophole in that bill that 41% of Iowans that work for public sector employers were not having their voices heard concerning their desire to have or not have union representation. To close that loophole in the bill passed in 2017, a bill was introduced this year as a technical fix, again nothing new in the legislative process.

Well the Teamsters never miss an opportunity to misinform Iowans and they used this bill to jump at the opportunity. They tried to intimidate me by claiming they were going to have 5,000 Teamsters in the Capitol on Wednesday to protest, however only 20 showed up! Then for 2 hours they had 2 fancy semis and trailers (bought and paid for with union member dues) driving around the capitol with a handful of cars blowing their horns. That sight was comical to all who watched from the capitol chamber, however if that was not humorous enough, the Teamsters then paid for an airplane (again, bought and paid for with union dues) to fly around the Capitol for 6 hours pulling a banner that said, “Kill Senator Dickey’s union busting bill”. It was the same sort of circus that you would see from the stands at Kinnick or Jack Trice during a fall football game. I thought that was pretty awesome! To my knowledge, never in the history of our beautiful capitol has a plane flown around with a banner that had someone’s name on it. I will clearly wear that as a “banner” of honor! Humor aside, the sad part was the thousands of dollars in union dues that the Teamster brass wasted on an issue that will never even be noticed if the current law is being followed. It is sad to see the lengths that some people will go to simply to misinform voters… something that I’ve been subject to a lot this past year. Lol.

The past 6 years, Iowa Republicans have made GREAT strides to lower ALL of your taxes and in the Ways and Means committee, we have been working hard to protect these tax lowering efforts. We are working on a constitutional amendment that would require a supermajority vote of Iowans to raise income tax rates in Iowa and to make sure that if there was ever a need to raise taxes in the future, it would likely require bipartisan support.

Raising taxes on Iowans shouldn’t be easy. There should be a higher bar and an overwhelming need to raise income taxes on Iowans. By putting into the Iowa Constitution a single, flat tax for Iowans, we can ensure Iowa’s tax code remains simple and fair for all taxpayers.

This week, I voted to pass legislation to ensure common sense protections for Iowans with sincerely held religious beliefs. SF 2095, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, does not pick a winning or a losing religion, and it does not legalize discrimination. The bill says the state must have a compelling state interest to intrude on an Iowan’s religious expression. Further, if the state does have a compelling interest, the impact on someone’s free exercise of religion must be in the least restrictive manner possible. This bill simply provides a day in court for people who believe that their freedom of religion has been impeded. It is reasonable to have a high legal burden to protect the founding principle of this country.

A less important bill, but one that has a lot of popularity, was Senate File 2116, which strengthens Iowa’s “left-lane camping” traffic laws. We have all come across drivers who are going slower than other vehicles on the road but stay in the left lane while disrupting the flow of traffic and creating a safety hazard. This bill requires drivers to drive in the right-most lane (or a middle lane), with the exception of passing another vehicle, avoiding obstructions in the road, or preparing to make a left turn.

Lastly, Senate File 2251 also passed the Senate this week. This bill expands Medicaid benefits to pregnant mothers during their pregnancy from 2 to 12 months postpartum and it resets the income eligibility cap to a more realistic level.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and with the 60° weather in front of us, let’s hope that winter is just like that banner, something that everyone has already forgotten about!

Author: Adrian Dickey


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