|This week was spent in debate of many bills. Some of the legislation to note includes the following: |
Senate File 75 – Rural Emergency Hospitals
- This week, Iowa House Republicans passed Senate File 75 to establish licensure in Iowa for Rural Emergency Hospitals.
- This bill was a priority bill for the caucus from Day 1 of the 2023 Legislative Session.
- A rural emergency hospital is a health care facility that maintains a 24-hour emergency room, but does not include acute inpatient care.
- Establishing licensure in Iowa for this kind of health care facility allows them to be more successful by receiving reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid at a higher rate.
House File 135 – Student Right to Know
- This week, we passed House File 135 through the Iowa House. This bill is aimed at providing more transparency for students at the state’s Regent Universities.
- This bipartisan bill requires the Board of Regents to publish a report that includes information on income, debt, and post-graduate degree completion by major, institution, and class.
- This bill will allow students to make informed decisions about their futures.
House File 623 – Prohibition on Gender Procedures on Children
- This week, the Iowa House passed a bill to prohibit transgender surgeries and harmful hormonal therapy from being used on Iowa children.
- Two hospital systems in Iowa perform these therapies or surgeries on children. Unity Point provides hormone therapy and puberty blockers, and UIHC provides hormone therapy, puberty blockers as well as top surgery to children.
- Importantly, there is very limited data available on the long-term effects of this type of treatment. The few studies that have tracked long-term effects do not support the idea that this treatment lowers the rate of suicide in transgender individuals.
- Children are just too young to make these permanent decisions. In many ways, we limit children and their parents from making choices they are too young to make. A child can’t smoke cigarettes or gamble, even with parental consent.
- Under current practice, these children are being allowed, or even encouraged, to make these permanent decisions, with life altering consequences such as sterilization, before they have been given the opportunity to grow up and learn more about themselves.
- This law will help give Iowa children the time to mature and grow into themselves before making such a life-altering decision.
House File 348 – Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation Curriculum
- This week, the House passed a bill to prohibit any classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-6th grade.
- We send our kids to school to learn reading, writing, math and science. This bill will allow teachers to use their time on those topics and leave discussions on social issues to the parents.
- Teachers should teach and parents should parent.
- This bill was amended to make clear that this is not about limiting all discussion around LGBTQ Iowans. It is to prohibit instruction, curriculum or promotion of these topics in school.
- Students with same-sex parents or teachers in a same-sex marriage would not be limited from talking about those relationships.
House File 597 – Removing Sexually Explicit Materials from Schools
- This week, we passed a bill to remove sexually explicit material from Iowa school libraries.
- This bill requires that all books in school libraries must be age appropriate and expands the definition of age appropriate in code to include what is NOT age appropriate.
- Age appropriate does not include any material with descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act. (I’ve chosen not to include the definition of “Sex Act” in this newsletter due to its obscene nature, but it may be found in Iowa Code Sections 702.17 & 728.1.)
- I still cannot believe that this is a bill we need to pass. But unfortunately, books that contain images or passages of graphic sexual acts have been found in Iowa schools.
- If you find yourself skeptical that this material could possibly be in Iowa schools, please take the time to follow the links and view the passages and images from these three examples.
- Let’s Talk About It contains sexually explicit illustrations with instructions, tips and suggestions on how to perform various sex acts. The book also suggests safe ways to consume porn.
- Gender Queer contains graphic illustrations of sex acts.
- Push contains detailed and disturbing instances of incest and sexual molestation.
On Thursday morning, Representative Staed and myself sponsored House Resolution 9 that recognizes March as Disabilities Awareness Month in Iowa. We had representatives from the Iowa Developmental Diabilities Council, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and disability advocates from around Iowa. It was an honor to meet with these very dedicated people and discuss their issues.