This was the sixth week of what should be a 14+ week session. The Senate and House have come to agreement on the K-12 education funding increase for next year. The per pupil and transportation funding will increase a total of $49.4 million. There is additional funding still being worked on that will help with one-time expenses, especially making sure that the preschool program will not suffer.
We passed SF 354 which provides relief to those who need a license for their job, and are in the process of continuing their education for maintaining that license. If they are unable to meet the deadline for their continuing education due to illness or medial or financial hardship, they may apply for an extension. It makes sense to me to allow a little extra time when circumstances that were not planned derail the people providing services in our state from keeping their license current.
Thursday morning Senator Chapman, President of the Senate, announced 29 Republican senators have joined him in supporting a bill that would make big tech companies accountable for censoring Iowans. Senate President Chapman stated there seems to be “a coordinated effort… to restrict, modify or even remove Americans’ and Iowans’ ability to have their voices heard.”
The bill will require big tech companies to recognize the rights of our citizens to be heard or lose their special tax breaks in Iowa. When Iowa was courting Apple, Google, and Facebook, trying to get them to locate in Iowa, we gave them tax breaks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If those companies refuse to keep an open forum for all sides on their platforms, they will lose those tax breaks for 20 years.
The House also filed a companion bill on the same day, so this is ready to move quickly through the legislature and go to the governor’s desk. I am excited to have an opportunity to push back against the censorship many conservatives have experienced over the past year. If you would like to see a short video of Senator Chapman’s announcement, follow this link to The Iowa Standard: https://theiowastandard.com/
I also filed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which says Iowa government cannot restrict the free exercise of religion in the state of Iowa, unless there is a compelling government interest. I have filed this bill in past years, and hope this is the year that it will make it all the way to the goal line.
I was indeed saddened to hear of the passing of Rush Limbaugh this week. He has been like the voice of one crying in the wilderness on the issues of the day. When our children were growing up, we listened to Rush especially whenever we were in the car on the way to music lessons, Taekwondo classes, or on our way to errands. The children got a laugh out of watching my wife pound the dashboard Rush style in agreement with points made. Rush was the first radio host we heard who engaged us in critical thinking. He did this with such a natural knack for parody, and it helped us remember what he said.
Rush taught us to really listen and connect the dots of someone’s worldview. I enjoyed listening to Rush while in the fields farming. As a result, there would be table conversations debriefing about the latest cultural issue. The children grew up learning how to determine truth. We owe him a great debt for teaching us to go beyond the “drive by media’s narrative.” The children learned to dig deep and find out the real facts, and analyze from which worldview the information came. The world is a better place because of Rush’s commitment to speaking the truth on issues of the day. I am hopeful that Rush’s audience will continue his legacy – teach their children by example and raise up a future generation to speak truth with equal clarity of mind, and be bold to engage in public civil discourse just as he did.