|Outside of floor debate, I was able to spend some time conversing with a few groups. One of these groups was the Jefferson County Cattleman’s Association, who attended Cattlemen at the Capitol Day. A delicious breakfast of brisket breakfast burritos was served, and afterward we were able to discuss agricultural related issues. These varied from preservation of land for livestock, the Phase II of the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Iowa State, and property rights. It was great to have the chance to speak with some of these cattlemen, and thank them for all of the hard work they do and the food they provide to Iowans. In addition to cattlemen, mental health advocates were at the Capitol this week. It was quite interesting having the opportunity to speak with them on current issues we are facing in regards to mental health, and the next steps they propose we take to move forward. I appreciated the chance to speak to everyone this week and hear their thoughts and concerns.
With hours of debate held this week, there was a large amount of legislation passed in the Senate chamber. One of these bills was SF 514, which was the Governor’s Reorganization Bill. The point of this bill is to streamline the state government to create higher efficiency and effectiveness. This bill presents the first large-scale review of government and how the executive branch manages its departments in almost 40 years. This bill also advocates for smaller government, reducing the number of cabinets from 37 to 16, which in turn improves operations and communication between departments. All of the Midwest states have fewer cabinets than Iowa, and spend less per capita. SF 514 will save Iowan’s A LOT of money, increase the efficiency of the executive branch, and create a smaller, yet more efficient, state government.
Another GREAT piece of legislation that was passed by both the House and Senate, was SF 538. This bill makes it illegal to perform transgender surgeries, or sex changes, on children in the State of Iowa. The issues of gender identity and reassignment are complex, and are accompanied with intense emotions. The correct approach is to let children develop naturally and provide sympathetic health care, NOT to fill them with puberty-blockers and hormones. Children make rash, instantaneous decisions – it is a part of growing up and learning, but we cannot allow them to make decisions that can permanently scar them. These massive amounts of hormones and surgeries have permanent consequences on children. More and more frequently, it is not uncommon to hear stories of adults and children who received these treatments and are now physically and mentally damaged for life. In one of the subcommittee meetings that was held on the issue, a doctor who testified was asked if these procedures are FDA approved. She stated they were not, because the FDA does not perform clinical trials on children! If the FDA does not perform clinical trials of children, why should any hospital in Iowa be doing them? This instance alone should speak to the immense risk and danger that these surgeries and drugs have on Iowa’s children.
The media and supporters of these risky procedures now label them as “affirming care.” That is a classic example of when you can’t win the argument, you change the narrative. “Sex changes performed on children” loses in every debate. “Affirming care” sounds much softer and less controversial, however, it is the same thing. This wording disguises what is happening during the process. Once again, these procedures are irreversible, experimental, and overall dangerous. For years Iowans have accepted that a child in Iowa cannot get a tattoo because it is permanent and they are not prepared to understand the risks linked to these acts until they are 18. Isn’t a sex change even more permanent than a tattoo and doesn’t it hold the potential of having much greater scars, both physical, emotional, and psychological? Shouldn’t that same common-sense restrictions that we have in place concerning tattoos should also apply to a sex change?
The last piece of legislation I want to highlight is SF 482. This is truly a common-sense bill that states God-made boys will use the boy’s restroom, and God-made girls will use the girl’s restroom. It is that simple. Some schools have struggled with dealing with policies regarding children who identify as the opposite gender, and what facilities they can use. School board members have even reached out, asking for the state to provide clarity on this subject. SF 482 does just that. It states that children in Iowa will use the locker room, bathroom, or changing room of their God created biological sex.
There were stories that were shared of girls feeling uncomfortable changing in front of students of the opposite sex, not using the bathroom all day, or even showering in bathing suits at school. This bill protects children and sets in place a common-sense solution to this controversial topic.
This week was not as hectic as the previous, but was still full of action. I am proud of the GREAT bills passed out of the Senate, and of the hard work of Senate Republicans that made it possible. I can only expect that next week will contain more floor debate, as well as a few subcommittee meetings. As always, thank you for the continuous support. If you find yourself at the Capitol feel free to send a note into the Senate chamber and I would be more than happy to speak with you if scheduling allows.