Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, February 20, 2023

Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!

Week six of the Iowa Legislature wasn’t quite as busy under the golden dome as it was cut short by a day due to the winter storm we had on Thursday. Let’s hope we don’t get an ice storm for the upcoming week!

On Wednesday, we voted on 14 bills and two resolutions. Nine of these votes were unanimous and the remaining five passed by at least 75% voting. Contrary to what many people perceive, the legislature passes in my estimation close to 90% of all bills with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The House Education Committee met this last week and passed House File 8, which prohibits any classroom discussion on gender identity and sexual orientation from Kindergarteners through 6th grade. These are subjects that are the responsibility of the parents, and they are the ones who should decide when their children be informed of these subjects. This bill, if enacted, will free up more time for teachers to teach reading, writing, math, and science.

To prevent any misconceptions, this bill does not ban, change, or affect the sex education guidelines that are in the Iowa code. This bill does not stop any instruction or information to warn students about sexual abuse. It does not ban books that contain LGBTQ characters. It does not prevent a teacher from talking about or displaying photos of their spouse. This bill does not allow bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bottom line is teachers should teach and parents should be parents.

Another bill passed was Senate File 181, which corrects an error of previous property tax bills that resulted in a property tax increase unintentionally. The bill gives local governments an additional month to set their budgets. Without this bill, it will be a $120 million residential property tax increase.

On February 14th, Belle Plaine resident and Masters of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) student Chance Barburek and his fellow classmates at the University of Iowa visited the Capitol to speak against House Study Bill 89, which deals with concussion training with coaches. Chance and his classmates are a great group of people with a very bright future! Also, Vinton-Shellsburg school superintendent Kyle Koeppen and school board member Kim Schirm visited the Capitol for the Iowa Association of School Boards Advocacy Day.

On February 15th, Urbana resident and constituent Tayler Granberg visited the Capitol, along with Kristi Carpenter from Dexter-Madison and Form-A-Feed, Inc. Tayler works for Merck Animal Health and is with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Leadership Program. Tayler and Kristi were supporting Iowa beef and it’s fantastic to have these young and energetic people involved with and promoting Iowa agriculture!

I hope this finds you healthy, warm, and please be careful out there on the roads if or when inclement weather arrives! Have a great week!

Vinton-Shellsburg Superintendent Kyle Koeppen and School Board member Kim Schism visit the Capitol for Iowa Association of School Boards.

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