The View From Here

State Sen. Dennis Guth

Week two of the Iowa legislative session started with legislators at home for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That worked out well so we could participate in the Presidential Caucus on Monday night. We had great turnout with more than a hundred thousand Iowans participating in their precinct caucuses. Iowans made their voice heard in the first round of the presidential nominating process. I’m sure many of us will appreciate the end of robo calls, campaign mailers, and ads for candidates everywhere we turn.

For the last week, my inbox has been flooded with emails from Area Education Agency (AEA) employees and the public school teachers that work with them. In her Condition of the State speech on Jan. 8, the governor announced her plan to modify the scope of AEAs.

Governor Reynolds met this week with the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate and education committees from both chambers to discuss SSB 3073/HSB 542. The bill proposes reforming Iowa's Area Education Agencies (AEAs) to improve special education services and supports for students with disabilities. Input from hundreds of constituents got the attention of legislators who then advocated to the governor. I am sure there will be many changes to the bill before it is approved by the House and Senate.

We started work on new bills in subcommittee this week. My first subcommittee of the year was SF 2037 (Local Government). This bill prohibits cities and counties from restricting the scope of practice for licensed behavioral health, psychology, and social work providers, and freedom of speech for professors, students, government employees, clergy, and nonprofit personnel. This bill is in response to the City of Waterloo attempting to ban conversion therapy (though it was later rescinded due to threats of litigation).

In subcommittee it was claimed that it is never possible for a person to change their sexual orientation, so therapy attempting to do so should be banned. I pointed out that I know of persons that have had successful conversions, but that was dismissed by the Democrat on the committee as not valid. The bill was passed, two in favor and one opposed.

Preparing for the 2024 Elections

Iowa is ranked in the top 3 states in the nation for Election Administration. Iowa’s elections are some of the safest and most secure in the country, thanks to Iowa’s process that includes paper ballots, offline and secure systems, pre-testing of voting equipment, and post-election audits in all 99 counties. For more information on Iowa’s election, I encourage you to visit:
I try to hold town hall meetings around my district every session and hope I can meet many of you at one. My first town hall will be on Friday, March 1 at 2:00 PM at Waldorf College in Forest City.



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