It’s becoming evident that our early adjournment for the 2014 session has been a mirage that disappears as we get closer to it. I had hoped the session would end on
April 17th, but it’s obvious we will need at least a few days to get things buttoned up for the year.
Perhaps one of the best things we did this week is the Social Host Bill, SF 2310 which passed 47-0. This bill punishes adults for allowing the consumption of alcohol by non-family mixers on their property. The bill was watered down a little from its original form but will provide a state wide minimum standard while allowing local governments the ability to enact stiffer standards for their city/county. This bill has been pushed by high school students for several years. Hats off to all those students for their diligent work to get this passed.
Of interest to Iowa sportsmen was last week’s bill which was unanimously passed, allowing the use of a crossbow during the late muzzle loading season. I am personally acquainted with a few senior hunters who have begun to find bow hunting a challenge and hop this bill allows them to enjoy the sport for many more years.
There has been lots of interest in the bill that would legalize suppressors on firearms. This is one of the bills that has broad bi-partisan support, but will not come up for a vote because of the Senate leadership. There are many who say they don’t vote for the party, that they vote for the individual. I agree with that sentiment, but this is one of several cases that proves a different point. There are Democrats who would support this bill so you can feel you are supporting Second Amendment Right when you vote for the individual. In fact, unless the leadership in the Senate is changed by a change in majority party, those pro-gun Senators will never get to vote on any of these bills. Leadership is key to passing anything regarding pro-life, traditional marriage, or budget reductions.
This session we’ve heard several times from Senate Democrats about the minimum wage. I’d like to share what I read on that subject a few weeks ago in a national magazine.
The CEO of a company was giving a tour of the company a few years ago. One stop was at their warehouse, where about 20 employees were at work. When the CEO was asked how much the company paid these employees, he had to admit he wasn’t sure.
He pulled aside one of the employees and asked, “How much do we pay you?” Her response was, “Minimum wage.” Puzzled she asked, “Is there a problem?”
That night, as the CEO thought back on that incident, he was troubled. “What message are we sending to these employees?”—he thought. “We are telling them that if we could legally pay them less, we would. What is that doing for morale?”
The next week, all these employees received a $.25-$.50/hour raise. Then, the CEO met with his board to determine how much they could pay each employee, and still meet their obligations to shareholders. The result was more than just an increase in wages, it was an increase in the sense of value each employee had of themselves.
This double benefit could not have been legislated. Raising the minimum wage could have changed the economic picture for these employees, but would have done little for their morale. They’d still have the attitude that the company would pay them less if they could. A heart change did more than a law change.
Let’s consider the bullying bill that we passed some weeks ago. Somehow, as we debated that bill, I sensed it was more about retaliating against the bullies than it was about stopping bullying. Part of the language stated that we wanted to change the “culture” of the schools. The Oxford Dictionary defines culture as “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” When we talk about changing a culture, we are talking about changing something external to ourselves.
I suggest that, there again, the best way to achieve this change is not with a law but with a heart change. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the only law needed to regulate bullying when the heart is right.
So, how do we change the heart? Our heart is wounded because we all have a sense of guilt. Some say this guilt comes from society that judges us too harshly. But the Bible and our own experience tell us that we feel guilty because we are guilty. We all would like to do “good,” but we know that we have at some time behaved badly.
I’m grateful that this month we celebrate Easter. Easter is a time when we remember that there is a cure for a wounded heart. If we admit that we have done wrong and desire to turn away from it, we can ask God for forgiveness through the blood of His Son. When we do that, there can be a change of heart, which results in a change in our lives.
As always, you can contact me at dennis.guth@ legis.iowa.gov or call me at 641-430-0424. It is a privilege to serve you. Have a great Easter season!