A highlight of the opening week of the Iowa legislature was Chief Justice Mark Cady’s State of the Judiciary speech. Justice Cady requested legislative support for state wide family treatment courts which attempt to keep families together while putting an end to abuse and neglect. They have been very successful! Unfortunately, federal funding for these courts is ending and will need state funding to continue.
Justice Cady also asked the legislature to work with the court system to address gross racial disparity in Iowa’s prison population. Iowa has one of the highest rates of incarcerating African Americans and it is time to address this issue. I look forward to working with the courts. Iowans should feel proud of the work the courts do in providing full-time access to fair and impartial justice. I may not always agree with decisions of the court, but I feel there is thoughtful leadership.
The Governor outlined his priorities and released his budget recommendations. I am encouraged to hear the governor support a second year tuition freeze at Regents Universities, a proposal to stop bullying in our K-12 education system, and to expand broadband to all Iowa.
I was disappointed that the governor made no mention of sustainability, soil conservation, or water quality. Our economy is farm based and we are losing top soil at an alarming rate. It is time to take action to address the issues surrounding out natural resources.
Attend your off-year caucus on Tuesday
The caucus is an opportunity to meet with your neighbors and talk about what’s important to you, your family, and your community. The 2014 Iowa Caucuses will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday, January 21 in a location near you. To find your Democratic Caucus log on to www.thecaucuses.org. To find a Republican caucus, go to www.iowagop.org.
Subcommittee work begins
I have been assigned to a subcommittee for a bill that would allow Iowans to own suppressors (commonly known as silencers) for their firearms. My initial research shows that Federal regulations require training and certification to own a suppressor. No group is registered in favor or opposition to the bill. One thought I have heard in my initial research is that the best tool for gun safety is to allow sheriff’s discretion in issuing concealed weapons. Although I opposed the bill, the legislature took away that discretion in 2010. Is allowing suppressors in Iowa a slippery slope to fewer and fewer gun regulations? If you are a gun owner, tell me why you would need a suppressor? As your state representative, I would like your input.
Quote of the week
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. Aldo Leopold