Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!
It was a busy week as the Iowa House and Senate passed some very important bills. Senate File 75 passed both chambers nearly unanimous. This bill, in my opinion, will have a positive impact on health care in the rural areas of Iowa. It creates licensure for rural emergency hospitals, which will allow these facilities to be 24-hour emergency rooms but will not have acute inpatient care. These facilities should have higher rates of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
On Tuesday, the House passed HF135 with an overwhelmingly bipartisan 94 yeas. This bill requires the Board of Regents to publish reports on the costs of post-graduate degrees by major, institution, and class. The reports will also state the income of each of these majors so students can make more informed decisions and better plan their future.
The House also passed SF538, which prohibits transgender surgeries and harmful hormonal therapy on minors. Currently, Unity Point provides hormone therapy and puberty blockers, and the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics provides hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and top surgeries to children. A new study in the journal American College of Cardiology (https://www.acc.org/About-ACC/Press-Releases/2023/02/22/20/29/Hormone-Therapy-for-Gender-Dysphoria-May-Raise-Cardiovascular-Risks) shows transgender patients on hormones having the risk of strokes increased seven times and the risk of heart attacks increased six times. 80 to 90% of children initially diagnosed with gender dysphoria eventually outgrow this, so it’s safer to be cautious. The few studies that have tracked long-term effects do not support the idea that this treatment lowers the rate of suicide in transgender individuals. Children aren’t allowed to smoke, gamble, or drink alcohol for obvious reasons and making a life-changing decision should be included.
Additionally, the House passed HF348, which prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation from K-6th grade. The focus of subjects to teach students should be reading, writing, science, and math. It is better for parents to be having these discussions with their children at these young ages about gender and sex ed.
HF597, which takes sexually explicit materials out of school libraries also was passed this week. The bill also requires all books in school libraries must be age appropriate and will put into the Iowa Code what is not age appropriate. It’s very disappointing that this bill is even needed, but books like Let’s Talk About It, Gender Queer, and Push do not belong in school libraries.
The House also passed HF317, which allows people to be able to trap nuisance furbearing animals, such as raccoons, opossums, or skunks without prior permission of a DNR authority. This bill allows people to take these animals before they do damage to buildings or machinery. These animals can do thousands of dollars of damage in a combine for example.
On Wednesday, I had a nice visit with Pastor Darwin Covington from the Walker Bible Church in Walker. Also, Noah Kaiser of Garrison, and Keith & William Kroneman of Luzerne were at the Capitol.
I hope this finds you healthy, and please be careful and have a great week and St. Patrick’s Day!