Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, March 29, 2021

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

Thomas Gerhold

The weeks are flying by, but April’s spring weather and flowers will be more than welcome after the bone chilling February we had!

This last week, we passed 19 bills unanimously, 11 bills with bipartisanship (several of these nearly unanimous), and one that was by party lines.

House File 724 passed unanimously and requires employers which offer parental leave for newborn parents to also offer this to parents adopting children up to six years old. Also passed was HF 583, which creates a framework for offering private flood insurance in Iowa. I hope this helps those required to purchase flood insurance in Benton and Iowa counties.

HF 819 was unanimously passed and unfortunately needed. This bill addresses the fundamental rights of parents relating to the raising of their children by declaring the right to direct the care and custody of a parent’s child is a parent’s fundamental right.

We passed HF 694 which makes several significant changes to the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program. Among the changes are it lifts the cap on the number of times an agreement to transfer agricultural assets can be renewed from once to unlimited and lifts the cumulative lengths of renewed agreements may be from no more than 10-years to 15-years. It also allows a taxpayer to receive tax credit certificate for up to 15-years and with multiple agreements with different parties.

We also passed HF 775, which creates the crime of unauthorized sampling such as bodily fluids or any product from an agricultural animal. This also applies to soil, air, surface water, or ground water from land or structures used for animal or crop production. It also creates a crime if a person places a camera on a property without permission.

We also passed HF 813, which gives parents in Iowa more options for the education of their children by possibly starting a PUBLIC charter school. These charter schools can be established by either a school board or a founding group and will have specific rules and guidelines and have standards of transparency, quality, oversight and admittance. The founders must show a community need and support for these charters, be required to admit all who apply and be required to provide special education services.

There are currently two charter schools in Iowa – Maynard and Storm Lake. According to the Center For Education Reform (CER) website, there are more than 7,300 charter schools in the U.S. and in 46 states as of 2020. CER also said U.S. News reported in a 2020 article “that 11% of the top 25% of public high schools are charters; they also found that charters and magnet schools also claim 8 of the top 10 spots in the overall national rankings.” President Clinton in 1997 called for creating more of these in his 1997 State of the Union address. Remember, this is another tool to help students succeed in school and in life!

A special thanks to Governor Kim Reynolds for visiting Central Lutheran School students in Newhall on Friday afternoon for promoting the Covid-19 vaccination program with nurses from Virginia Gay Hospital and Benton County Health Dept.

Gov. Kim Reynolds at Central Lutheran, Newhall.

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