Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, Feb. 27, 2023

Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!

Greetings and hope the ice storm did not cause too many inconveniences or problems!

It was a busy week at the Capitol, as I had three subcommittees along with regular committee work and talking with several constituents. On Monday, I was the subcommittee chair of House File 214, which makes it a simple misdemeanor violation with a $135 fine for drivers of vehicles not yielding to bicyclists in any crosswalk at an intersection. Penalties increase with injuries or death to the bicyclist. Surprisingly, the Iowa Code does not include yielding to bicyclists in crosswalks.

On Wednesday, I was in the subcommittee for House Study Bill 147, which intends to establish a major economic growth attraction program. The bill gives tax incentives to businesses that will invest over $1 Billion on sites greater than 250 acres. To be eligible, the business will have strict requirements, some of which are high wages, low turnover, comprehensive benefits, and employees exposed to minimal occupational hazards. The bill now goes to the full committee for consideration.

On Thursday, I was on the subcommittee for HF 230. This bill requires the state transportation commission to prioritize the expansion of Highway 30 from two lanes to four lanes from Lisbon to DeWitt and from Carroll to Ogden. Both sections are about 40 miles each.

The Government Oversight Committee has been conducting meetings about books found in school libraries all across Iowa that are definitely not age appropriate. Examples are “Let’s Talk About It”, which contains sexually explicit illustrations on how to perform various sex acts, “Gender Queer” which contains graphic illustrations of oral sex, and “Push” which contains detailed and disturbing instances of incest and sexual molestation. These books have no context for any class and should not be in schools. If someone deems these books necessary, they can be purchased or found in public libraries.

A very hot topic across Iowa is the carbon dioxide pipelines and HF368 is one bill that addresses this. It has passed its subcommittee and its main points are 1. Requires voluntary easements for 90% of the land on the route before the pipeline company can use eminent domain, 2. Allows landowners the right to sue companies for damages caused by pipelines to drainage tile, soil compaction, and irrigation systems, and 3. Requires CO2 pipeline companies to get all necessary permits in other states before attempting to use eminent domain in Iowa. Many ideas for this bill were brought to the legislature by the Iowa Farm Bureau.

On February 21st, Pastor Joshua, Ethan, and Elissa Graber with Isaac Gilchrist of Walker visited the Capitol. On Feb. 22nd, Carl Gerhold IV visited to advocate for HF151 which incentivizes mental health practitioners in Iowa, and on Feb. 23rd, Al Schafbuch, Dysart, and Robert Ritscher of Keystone visited on behalf of Farm Bureau to discuss the carbon pipelines.

I hope this finds you healthy, safe, and please be careful! Have a great week!

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