Update given on legislative session from state senator Dawn Driscoll
By Jim Magdefrau
VAN HORNE – Benton County area residents heard an update from State Senator Dawn Driscoll on what’s going on with the Iowa Legislature in a meeting Saturday, March 20, at the community center in Van Horne.
Driscoll, R-Williamsburg, is in the first year of her four-year term as state senator, representing Benton, Iowa and Poweshiek Counties.
The update was hosted by the Benton County Farm Bureau.
There were many topics in what Driscoll described as a busy session. They worked on 24 bills last Wednesday. A big one, according to Driscoll, deals with a judiciary bill that states a person has to disclose when a person has died, stemming from a drowning last summer in which a boy was missing for two weeks. It would be a crime in failing to assist, Driscoll said of the bill.
Another bill passed regarding online learning for snow days. Schools can get up to five days of credit instead of taking snow days.
She said an interesting bill that passed dealt with assisted reproduction fraud. This deals with fertility doctors who are fathering more children than they should.
She also touched on a bill that states an EMS worker or volunteer firefighter can’t be pulled over for speeding when answering a call. She said this gives the volunteers more protection when responding to an emergency situation.
She also gave background on the friction between the barber school board and cosmetology board, as she tried to help Grinnell residents who are trying to become barbers. She introduced a bill to deal with this, and she was surprised how many people opposed it.
She also covered a bill regarding federal assistance for housing. There was quite a lot of debate on this. The bill came from property owners who wanted the choice in deciding whom they allow to rent. The bill is coming to the senate.
Public input on a lot of things
Those at the meeting had a variety of topics they addressed.
Driscoll said there is new language to come on gun regulations. This will be on the state ballot for Iowans to decide, Driscoll said. She said she is very pro gun. She tells those who oppose this, “If you don’t like it, then you need to move.” She added, “Iowans are very passionate about this. We know it will pass with huge numbers.”
She also touched on the Hart vs. Miller-Meeks congressional race challenge. “This is a Nancy Pelosi thing and it’s not looking good,” Driscoll observed. It has been recounted three times and then there was an audit, plus certified by the state. “It shows absolutely that every vote counts,” she said. She added, “When you win, you win. It’s so hypocritical what is happening.”
One resident asked what steps or processes are available when people of the state are no longer represented by the federal government. She said she didn’t know the answer to that. She said it would be a better question for Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, and she would reach out to her on this.
A Farm Bureau member was concerned about the election bill in the federal government, in that it might override what state governments have done with election laws.
School curriculum is another topic sent to the senate, and how the 1619 Project affects school curriculum. She said she is for the bill, saying, “I am not for changing history.” This led to talking about the senate bill on free speech, as well as going after tax incentives for Big Tech companies who might censor people on social network sites. She said Big Tech can’t limit what people are saying.
Free speech is also being addressed at universities, and it happens even at the high school level, Driscoll pointed out, affecting her own children in school.
Another resident suggested giving a $3,000 tax credit for home schooling. “That would save everybody,” the resident said. “Parents can teach the kids what they want to teach them, instead of having what you’d call socialist people teaching them.”
She also covered taking mental health funding off of property taxes, meat processing through small-town lockers, Covid-19 shots, taxes on forestry preserves, junk tires, bottle and can deposits, redemption centers, plastic bottles and funding sources for ambulance services.
Al Schafbuch for the Farm Bureau told Driscoll at the end of the meeting, “You’re doing a great job, it being your first year.”
Farm Bureau Legislative Update, Van Horne, Iowa, March 20, 2021