This week the Senate considered a bill that would make texting while on the roadway and even while stopped at a stoplight, a moving violation. This means that being caught texting is cause enough to be stopped by law enforcement and this would go on your record the same as a speeding ticket. Texting is indeed a dangerous thing to do while operating a car. However, I thought Senator Brad Zaun offered an interesting amendment. His amendment simply said drivers must use common sense while operating a vehicle. He explained that there are many other things that are dangerous to do while operating a vehicle. Here are few he listed: eating, reading, disciplining your children, adjusting your radio or climate control, putting on makeup or being distracted by a pet. His point is we seem to think that government must regulate everything. What we really need is for people to use common sense and be accountable for their own actions. I agree. Predictably, his amendment was struck down and the original bill passed the Senate with bi-partisan support. However, the issue appears to have died in the Iowa House.
At the beginning of the session, Governor Branstad committed to getting something passed to address bullying in schools. House Republicans and Senate Democrats have two very different bills. The Democrat version insists only behavior against certain classes of students be treated as bullying. This would mean that if you are a minority or homosexual you would be protected under this law. If you are just the new kid in town or you hang out with the geeks this law would not apply. I think it is time to quit creating segments of society that receive special rights and start treating everyone the same. This appears to be an issue that will cause much heated debate the rest of the session. I suggest that we apply the Golden Rule and “treat others as you would like to be treated.” This looks like another area where government is trying to micro-manage and we might be better off allowing the local school boards to make their own policy.
March 21 was the last funnel date for legislation to reach the floor in order to be passed this year. There are several good bills that came over from the House that will not be debated in the Senate because the Majority Leader refused to put them on the agenda. That includes a bill to ban webcam abortions, protect traditional marriage and several gun rights bills. If we want any of these issues to be discussed we must change the leadership in the Senate.
I urge citizens to contact me if they have questions about what is going on in our state government. Patrick Henry said: “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” You may contact me at email@example.com or call me at 641-430-0424. I plan to be at Wright County on either the March 21 or 22. (Time and location to be announced.) I will also be in Algona March 29 at the library at 10 a.m. That evening I will be at the NRA banquet at Duncan.