GERHOLD: Special session

Thomas Gerhold

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

On Thursday, October 28th, we held our second special session to cast our votes on the second set of maps for the U.S. congressional districts in Iowa and the Iowa House and Senate districts. The maps passed in the Iowa Senate with only one “no” vote, and in the House with only two “no” votes (I voted to pass these maps).

Most of Benton County will now become House District 84 and will take effect with the 2022 elections. Unfortunately, it excludes the northwest corner of Benton County – Bruce, Monroe, and Cedar Townships including Mount Auburn. However, HD84 will add the northwest and southwest corners of Linn County – Grant, Spring Grove, Clinton, and Fairfax Townships including the cities of Fairfax, Walker, and the Linn County portion of Walford.

In my opinion, the second set of maps are better FOR BENTON COUNTY than the first set of maps. The first set of maps split the county and combined the top three rows of townships in Benton County with all of Tama County. For District 75, the first map added another township in Iowa County and basically a majority of Poweshiek County, including Grinnell which would’ve become the largest city for District 75. The Iowa Senate voted these maps down, which precipitated the second set of maps by the Legislative Services Agency.

The legislature also passed House File 902 and was signed into law on Friday by Governor Kim Reynolds, the Covid-19 Vaccine Exemptions and Unemployment Protections bill. I have received a lot of emails and verbal comments overwhelmingly against the mandates by the Biden Administration which either mandates the shots or lose your job if you work for a company over 100 employees.

HF902 requires businesses to grant medical and religious exemptions for any Covid-19 vaccine mandates and helps protect the individual rights of Iowans without forcing businesses into a position where they must choose between breaking federal law or Iowa law. This law also:

–makes it easier for Iowans to have their exemptions approved by eliminating the need for a doctor’s note or pastor’s signature

–ensures anyone who is fired for refusing the vaccine does qualify for unemployment insurance.

–protects Iowans’ right to privacy by limiting the information employees must disclose to their employer when requesting an exemption.

–ensures employees are no longer required to answer invasive questions from their employer about medical history or religious beliefs.

This law is a good start, but the legislature is not done in protecting Iowans from the overreach of the federal government. I’m very confident we will have more legislation addressing these problems early next session.

I hope you all are having a good fall and will be able to enjoy the holiday season which will be here before you know it. Thanks, and please be safe and take care!

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