IOWA HOUSE: Thomas Gerhold

Thomas Gerhold

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

This last Monday (January 25) ended with a flurry, as in snowstorm! The Des Moines area got 12-14 inches, which was plenty…

On Tuesday, I chaired a subcommittee for House Study Bill 82 (HSB 82) through my Transportation committee. These subcommittees basically are the start of the journey for a bill to potentially become a law. A subcommittee consists of three members from a chamber – two from the majority party and one from the minority party. One from the majority party will be the chairperson and lead a meeting to determine if a bill will advance to the committee from where it came from.

HSB 82 is a bill that will amend current Code 2021, Section 321.178. Current law requires four hours of class instruction concerning substance abuse. HSB 82 proposes that student drivers in an approved driver education course to include instruction on distracted driving in this four hour instruction. Currently there are no requirements for teaching about preventing distracted driving. Our subcommittee passed it unanimously, and hopefully it will become a law in Iowa.

Distracted driving is a growing problem nationwide, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 2,841 people were killed in 2018 alone. Distracted driving includes using your phone, eating and drinking, talking with others in your vehicle, etc. NHTSA said in 2019 distracted driving was a factor in 8.5% of fatalities with motor vehicles nationwide.

Thursday the Iowa Firefighters Association had their annual “Firefighter Day on the Hill,” and I had a good visit with member Marv Trimble of Garrison about issues the IFA would like to see accomplished in the State House.

The legislature also passed Senate File 160 which was signed by Governor Reynolds on Friday. This new law requires schools to provide the option to parents or guardians the opportunity of having their students attend school full-time. This option is needed by many families who missed work due to their children’s schools not meeting in person. Too many students have fallen behind their grade level from no in-person instruction and SF 160 will help.

Hope you all keep warm, safe, and healthy!

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