The ground debate is on the middle of stories, sports activities, jobs

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 The future of tax reform is unwritten news, sports, jobs

In the thirteenth week of the session, the focus was on the floor debate. We discussed a number of topics that are important to Iowans.

This week the Senate passed House Joint Resolution 5 amending the Iowa Constitution to add a new section on the protection of life. The section reads: “To defend the dignity of all human life and to protect mothers and unborn children from efforts to extend abortion through the day of birth, we, the people of Iowa, declare that this constitution should not be construed to recognize it , grant, or secure a right to abortion, or demand public funding for abortion. “ We believe this issue should be decided by the people of Iowa, not the courts.

The Senate also passed Act 744 on the Protection of Free Speech and First Adjustment Rights in Iowa Universities and K-12 Schools. It does a number of things, including prohibiting retaliation against a campus community member or school district member who files a complaint about violating their rights. It also requires a disciplinary hearing if a faculty member knowingly and intentionally restricts the protected language, and requires initial change training for members of the campus community, including students, faculties, and staff. HF 744 directs the board of directors of each school district to establish guidelines to protect students and staff from discrimination based on language, and triggers a hearing with the board of examiners if a school district employee is found to have violated a student’s initial adjustment rights. This bill addresses a number of concerns we have heard from students at schools and universities in Iowa and protects our valued first adjustment rights in educational institutions that encourage diverse opinions and thoughts. House file 744 goes to the governor to await her signature.

House File 228 allows all students open enrollment without interference from school authorities and administrators by overriding voluntary school district diversity plans and rejecting open enrollment denials based on those plans. The Iowa Open Enrollment Act should provide open enrollment for all students regardless of their district. This bill gives parents more choices when it comes to their children’s education. They should be able to send their children to public schools that meet their needs, help them succeed, and prepare them to be successful iowans after graduation.

The Senate passed SF 587 Tuesday to address two major issues for Iowans – property tax relief and mental health funding. It provides Iowans with over $ 100 million in real estate tax relief by eliminating property tax levies and removing the tax triggers foreseen in 2018 tax legislation. It also allocates $ 60 million to Iowa mental health in the first year and $ 125 million in the second year, and creates sustainable, predictable funding growth for the future.

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Jeff Edler is the Senator for District 36. Contact him at jeff.edler@legis.iowa.gov.

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