IOWA HOUSE: Gerhold gives update

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

Greetings! This second week in session has been a get down to the business at-hand with many subcommittees being formed. This is the first step in the path of an idea becoming law. The week was shortened at the Capitol (Monday, January 17th) for the national holiday and 27th anniversary of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

The rest of the week was filled with committee meetings and on Wednesday evening, the Dept. of Public Safety (https://dps.iowa.gov/) gave legislators a tour in their state headquarters in Des Moines located in the Oran Pape State Office Building of how technology is being used to help fight crime and keep us safe.

They had on hand two different drones, a smaller one used for example to help photograph road accidents. This smaller drone recorded a video in only 35 minutes of the vehicle positions involved in a massive 50 vehicle accident in December of 2019 on I-80 not far from Adventureland. This enabled a shortened time I-80 was closed and allowed wreckers to clean up the site. The other larger drone is equipped with a heat-seeking camera used in finding missing persons, and there’s only one of these in the state.

We also learned Iowa is making progress on fighting human trafficking. Last year, the legislature passed and the governor signed into law requirements of lodging providers statewide to have their employees get training (https://stophtiowa.org/) on identifying potential trafficking crime victims. Here is information for anyone: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/end-human-trafficking/202111/one-small-gesture-one-giant-act-against-human-trafficking that could save a life, and https://cbs2iowa.com is doing a special report on a human trafficking survivor at 9pm & 10pm on Monday, January 24, 2022!

Friday, Benton Community School District Superintendent Dr. Pamela Ewell arranged for State Senator Dawn Driscoll, several others, and me to tour the Pella High School Career Academy that Governor Kim Reynolds talked about in her Condition of the State Address on Jan. 11th. Included in the tour was Vinton-Shellsburg Superintendent Kyle Koeppen, Williamsburg Superintendent Chad Garber, and several others including Kirkwood College.

Pella’s apprenticeship programs offer for students the opportunity to become a certified nursing assistant before they finish high school! Also offered is welding, engineering assistant, early childhood education, culinary/hospitality, and information technology. This is a wonderful academy that offers students the chance to learn while in high school and prepares them for a career faster, saving a lot of money and time!

I hope you all are well despite the latest round of COVID. Please be careful of the cold & snow and be safe!

Explaining how students study aerodynamics with model cars the students make from a block of wood is Industrial Technology Instructor Brent Ewell (second from left).  Also in photo from left is Vinton-Shellsburg Superintendent Kyle Koeppen, Mr. Ewell, Rep. Tom Gerhold, and Senator Dawn Driscoll

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