I know most Iowans aren’t able to watch our floor debate live-streamed during session. In case you missed them, here are recordings of the remarks I’ve made on the House Floor during the 88th General Assembly (2019-2020).
HF 594 – Life Support for Child
House Republicans filed a last-minute amendment to force a vote on a 24-hour waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion. No committee meetings. No public hearings or input. Even though the 72-hour waiting period passed a few years ago was found unconstitutional. Under the cover of darkness, the majority party continued their efforts to undermine women’s intensely personal and difficult health care decisions. They did it without empathy or understanding of the further hardships they have placed on their constituents.
HF 2615 – Rural Vet. Loan Repayment Program
The Legislature considered a loan repayment fund for rural veterinarians, specifically for caring for large animals. It’s a worthwhile program and I was pleased to support it. I offered an amendment to make the program consistent with Iowa’s other loan repayment programs administered by Iowa College Student Aid, requiring 5 years of service instead of 4. I’m disappointed the amendment wasn’t accepted, but I was pleased to share my thoughts on student loan debt.
SF 2348 – Discharge of Sentence
“If we tie the restoration of voting rights – quite possibly our most valuable constitutional right as citizens – to the ability to pay a debt, we are creating a poll tax.” My thoughts on why I voted NO on SF 2348, a bill that will make it harder for some Iowans to have their voting rights reinstated after they serve their time.
HF766 – Health and Human Services Appropriations
My remarks on the HHS budget bill amendment to defund Planned Parenthood of the Heartland for sex education. These efforts by the majority party do nothing to reduce unintended pregnancies and make it harder for our kids to make smart, healthy decisions that are in line with their own personal values.
SF 2142 Supplemental State Aid
I made the case for a $133 million investment in school funding (3% increase) by sharing the experiences of an Ankeny Community School District educator and the Saydel Community School District superintendent. Over the last decade, students have received an increase of just 32 cents a day. We owe it to our kids to do better.
HF 766 – Health and Human Services Appropriations
I co-sponsored an amendment to restore the Iowa Family Planning Network, which would not only allow trusted health care providers like Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to be a part of the program, but also give us the ability to draw down federal funds for family planning. I spoke at length about Iowa’s health care deserts, the rising maternal mortality rate (particularly for women for color), the rising rate of STI’s, and the closure of labor and delivery wards in rural hospitals.
SF 634 – Local Government Budget Growth
Shortly before 3 am, the majority party forced through a property tax bill that will do nothing to reduce property taxes, will hurt our communities, put IPERS and 411 retirement security in danger, and is an affront to local control. This controversial bill was done without transparency while most Iowans were sleeping, despite the concerns and opposition of city and county leaders across Iowa.
Point of Personal Privilege: UnitedHealthcare departs Medicaid
I shared a point of personal privilege regarding UnitedHealthcare’s sudden announcement to depart Iowa’s Medicaid program. The first part of my remarks didn’t make it into the recording, but my point was that when I heard about UHC’s decision on Friday at 4:45 pm, my first thought wasn’t surprise. When it comes to news of the abject failure of Medicaid privatization, it’s hard to be surprised anymore. It’s long past time to fix the Medicaid mess.
SJR 18 – Right to Keep/Bear Arms
This bill is not the 2nd Amendment because it includes “strict scrutiny”, which goes much further than the US Constitution. Strict scrutiny ties the hands of future General Assemblies as well as our independent judiciary regarding common-sense gun safety laws like background checks and permits, laws supported by the vast majority of Iowans. Instead, I voted for an amendment that would have used the language of the 2nd Amendment in the US Constitution.
My First Speech on the House Floor
My first speech on the House floor in support of voting rights and ensuring the integrity of free and fair elections. As a passionate advocate for civil rights and civic engagement, I was deeply disappointed that 29 voters in HD55 were disenfranchised despite having legally cast ballots.