The View from Here

Left: Sentor Guth with Allison Claybaugh and Emily McCarville from Crisis Intervention of Clarion. Right: Senator Guth with Kelly Leerar of Britt.
State Sen. Dennis Guth

Week nine of the 2023 legislative session saw emphasis shift to floor debate, with little committee work being done. Tuesday was a big day when we passed eleven bills, some unanimously and some on a partisan vote.

SF 514 combines many executive branch departments to make state government more streamlined and efficient. The bill is more than 1500 pages long and had a large team working on it for many months. The Senate held four separate subcommittees on it and had very little pushback. This is the first comprehensive review in 40 years of how the governor’s office manages state government. Iowa currently has 37 cabinet departments. These were reduced to 16 departments, eliminating 513 currently unfilled positions. All other Midwest states have fewer cabinet departments and spend less per capita on state government. I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road as this new plan is implemented, but Iowans will be better served at less cost.

SF 538 was passed in both the Senate and the House this week. It makes it illegal to perform transgender surgeries or use high amounts of cross-sex hormones on minors in Iowa. These transgender treatments have no FDA approval. While short term studies may show an improvement in the experience of children, the long term studies show medical treatment is required the rest of the patient’s life with significantly higher rates of substance abuse, depression, and a 19 times higher suicide rate. We already prohibit tobacco, alcohol, gambling and tattoos for minors. For the same reason, gender reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies should not be available to Iowa children.

We also passed SF 482 stating that children in Iowa schools will use bathrooms, locker rooms or changing rooms of their biological sex. We heard stories about girls showering in bathing suits, not using the bathrooms all day, and feeling uncomfortable changing in front of the opposite sex. This policy protects children and provides clear guidance for Iowa schools.

I have heard concerns from citizens about companies that use an ESG score to limit access to their services. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is used by financial institutions to boycott firearm manufacturers, production agriculture, and fossil fuels. SF 507 restricts public fund managers from entering into contracts with businesses that engage in these boycotts.  Our state funds should be focusing on the best return on investment.

On Wednesday the Iowa Cattlemen treated legislators to a beef brisket breakfast burrito. It was great to discuss property rights, preservation of land for livestock grazing and Phase II of the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Iowa State University.

I also visited with Allison Claybaugh and Emily McCarville from the Crisis Intervention Service of Clarion. Physical therapist students showed up to lobby for the ability to order scans for a patient without having to get permission from a medical doctor. They also advocated for the ability to approve a patient, with physical limitations, to receive a permit to use a crossbow during deer bow hunting season. It was great to meet Kelly Leerar, of Britt, who is taking classes in physical therapy at Briar Cliff. I enjoyed talking with them about lobbying. 
I will be in Forest City on March 17 for a 2:00 forum at Salveson Hall, Waldorf University.

A life of challenge is more satisfying than a life of regrets.


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