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Sunday Talk: Stone on Legislative Business

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say, I just watch what they do.” - Andrew Carnegie

by Iowa State Representative Henry Stone 

This week, I and other House Republicans made good on one of our campaign promises. We passed House File 756, an act relating to the acquisition and possession of weapons. This is another really good bill, but most importantly, it makes good on a long-standing promise the House Republicans have had with Iowans, that we will work every day to remove burdensome regulation that impedes on Iowan’s right to keep and bear arms. 

Why does this matter? Two reasons: First, we should always work to deliver on promises and if we don’t, voters should hold us accountable. Second, improving public safety is important along with ensuring Iowans are able to conceal, carry, and purchase firearms without unnecessary restrictions. This bill was able to accomplish all of this. 

I wholeheartedly supported this legislation, and along with House Republicans, we got constitutional carry done. 

House File 756 – 2nd Amendment Omnibus Bill 

What this bill does: 

  • Continues background checks in the State of Iowa for individuals who wish to purchase firearms.
  • Allows law enforcement officers to carry on school grounds to help protect children both on and off duty.
  • Tightens loopholes for private sales.
  • The right for every law abiding Iowan to keep and bear arms

What this bill does not do: 

  • Eliminate the need for background checks.
  • Eliminate or change existing laws on firearms on school buses.
  • Allow any individual outside an off/on-duty police officer to carry on school grounds.

And the good news is: 

Opening Iowa’s Nursing Homes Safety 

Iowa’s nursing homes and their direct care staff have done an exceptional job protecting the health of their vulnerable residents throughout this public health emergency. While the physical health of Iowans residing in nursing homes is extremely important, we must not forget the toll isolation from loved ones can have as well.

Last week, after a year of extremely limited visitation, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Department of Inspections and Appeals expanded their indoor visitation guidance at long-term care facilities. This guidance takes into consideration the Long Term Care Pharmacy Partnership Program, which as of March 12th has administered 139,142 vaccine doses to Iowa’s nursing home residents and staff.  As of March 17th, there is only one nursing home out of 444 that has COVID-19 cases. The Updated guidance requires nursing homes to allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents, regardless of the vaccination status of the resident, or visitor, unless these three instances arise:

Unvaccinated residents, if the COVID-19 county positivity rate is greater than 10% and less than 70$ of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated;

  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue transmission-based precautions; or
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria for release from quarantine.

The guidance continues to have infection control recommendations for all visits, including screening of everyone entering the facility, face coverings, and 6-foot distancing.

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Drops Again

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent from the revised December rate of 3.7 percent. The state’s jobless rate was 2.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in January.

Fuel Choice Legislation Passes Iowa House

Local jurisdictions across the country (mainly on the east and left coasts) are aggressively seeking to exclusively use renewable fuels. While this may be a laudable goal, a problem arises when clouds block the sun or the wind does not blow. –The need to provide consumers with multiple energy options, and limit the ability to prohibit energy options, both directly and through creative means, drove the need for legislation like HF 555.

HF 555 will protect consumers from attempts to prohibit viable energy sources for both heating and cooling needs. It also ensures consumers will have multiple energy options available – including natural gas and propane for all their energy needs. The House of Representatives passed HF 555 this week and sent it to the Senate for their consideration.

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