Letter to the Editor

The second funnel

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What a great week to be an Iowan. This week was eventful in that many bills that were sent from the Senate were kept alive or “died” in the Second Funnel – the self-imposed deadline that requires bills to meet restrictions or they are no longer eligible. Below are some of the notable bills that will continue in the Iowa Legislature and remain eligible for future consideration. 

 

Promoting careers of the future

Senate File 274 is a first step in addressing a skills gap for businesses across the state by incentivizing and encouraging school districts to provide quality computer science courses in grades K-12.

It creates standardization across the state for expectations, high-quality components of courses, and training for teachers. It provides new opportunities for licensure and pathways into teaching computer science for tech professionals outside the field. A workgroup is also established to recommend additional ways to provide opportunities to Iowa’s children to work towards jobs in a high-paying, in-demand career.

While the bill passed out of the Senate unanimously, several Democrats voted against the bill in committee. The extreme partisanship displayed by Democrats is even affecting normally non-controversial ideas like the support of science, technology, engineering and math education.

 

Protecting unborn life

House Republicans are a pro-life caucus and believe the lives of the unborn are worthy of our protection. House Republicans have attempted to limit the number of abortions in the past, but were consistently blocked by pro-abortion Senate Democrats.

With a new makeup in the Senate this year, Iowans can expect the Legislature to take a strong stand to protect life.

This week the Human Resources Committee passed a bill limiting abortions after 20 weeks, similar to many other states.

The bill does allow for exceptions in situations where the life or health of the mother is threatened. This bill doesn’t ban birth control.

Twenty-three other states prohibit abortions between 20 and 24 weeks and this approach has held up in court.

While this isn’t the resolution everyone may have preferred, this is the most substantial piece of legislation to protect the unborn in Iowa history.

 

More positive legislation passed by the House:

 

Protecting victims of domestic abuse and stalking

House Republicans passed legislation this week that protects victims of domestic abuse. House File 263 ensures that habitual domestic abusers serve a minimum amount of time in prison. This will provide survivors and victims of abuse with more time to remove themselves from a bad situation while abusers serve their sentence.

 

Exceptions to fail first insurance policies

House File 233 will give patients and medical providers more control over their healthcare. The bill provides a number of exceptions so that patients can get the medicine they need without having to go through treatments that aren’t effective as a way for insurance companies to save money. This will ensure that sick Iowans get the medications that their doctors recommend without having to go through a number of ineffective treatments first. 

Protecting private property rights

House Republicans took a strong stand for private property rights with the passage of House File 603 this week. For many years, House Republicans attempted to advance legislation that protects the rights of private property owners, only to see those efforts die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Encouraging growth in Iowa’s craft breweries and distilleries

Over the last decade, the popularity of microbreweries and distilleries, and the products they make, has grown among many Iowans. This House File will help continue the growth of the craft beer and spirits industries, creating new jobs and bringing more tourism to Iowa. This legislation brings much-needed parity between the different sectors of Iowa’s alcohol industry.

 

I want to thank you, once again, for your faith in me to bring our northwest Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines. Please let me know the issues and thoughts you might have. I look forward to the next few weeks where we will shift primarily to budget issues and start the process to wind down this legislative season for the year.