This was the twelfth week of the legislative session, and another milestone was reached. For any bill to remain alive this year it had to be passed out of the original chamber and through committee in the other. In other words, only debate in one chamber is left. Bills can still be amended at that point, but new ideas must be left for next year.
We recently received more good news about Iowa and its economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Iowa’s economy grew 6.3 percent in the last few months of 2020, faster than many of our neighboring states. This, along with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, is great news as Iowa recovers from the pandemic. Many doubted that tax cuts and reducing regulations would actually increase our revenues and provide more money to run our state without new taxes or higher rates. I am very gratified to see these policies accomplishing what we projected they would.
This week we passed SF 333 which allows an emergency vehicle to operate without using sirens and lights when doing so would give warning to the suspect and possibly cause evidence to be destroyed. It also reduces liability while operating a vehicle in an emergency. This protection does not apply if the vehicle is operated in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Ever since I came into office I have heard complaints that mental health should not be funded via property tax. It is a people service, not a property service. This week the Senate advanced SF 587 which would eliminate over the next two years the property tax levy for mental health and provide increased funding from the state to improve those services. This will benefit property owners by over $100 million in the near term and that benefit will be magnified to even more of a reduction as property tax assessments rise.
The most recent hot button issue is concern over a vaccine passport, which would require proof of vaccination before allowing a person to travel, shop, or work. The Biden-Harris administration is determined to make it mandatory for persons to be FORCED to get a vaccine passport in order for them to have full enjoyment of employment, socializing and commerce activities. No law of this nation mandates that the citizens of the United States must be forced to be vaccinated to enjoy the freedoms afforded to them by the US Constitution.
It is illegal under both federal and state laws to discriminate against an employee based on his or her medical condition with regard to employment decisions and it is ALSO illegal under both federal and state laws to deny access to all enjoyments offered such as parks, commerce and education based on his or her medical condition. With respect to employment decisions like hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, training, and job assignments of an individual based on their medical condition, it is illegal to discriminate. With respect to equal access to enjoyments like visiting grounds, enjoying facilities both recreational and commerce, enacting transactions, socializing etc. based on a medical condition is illegal.
This is especially concerning to me when the CDC data shows the survival rate of those infected with COVID-19 is over 99.97% for people under age 50 and 99.89% for those ages 50-70. Even those over age 70 have less than a 2% chance of dying. And this includes only reported COVID-19 cases. My experience tells me there are as many unreported/undetected cases as there are reported. Meaning most of us have only one chance in 20,000 of not surviving COVID-19. Why would we even consider mandating an experimental vaccine with unknown long term consequences under such circumstances, especially when there are very effective and safe protocols for prevention and early treatment?
I am opposed to vaccine mandates or passports and am seeking ways to stop such unconstitutional foolishness.
“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
― Ronald Reagan
My last town hall meeting for this session will be April 10, 1:00 P.M. at the Iowa Lakes Electric Coop headquarters in Estherville. Representative Stone and Congressman Feenstra will also be attending.