The View from Here

State Senator Dennis Guth

Week 13 was spent mostly on floor debate. We passed over 30 bills and confirmed around 140 of the Governor’s appointees to various boards and commissions. Next week we will concentrate on appropriations bills.

One of the bills we passed was HF 2465, which will allow two of the five units of instruction required for high school science to be in agriculture. It also allows two units of required math to be related to applied science, technology, engineering or manufacturing, and transportation, architecture and construction.

Senate File 2401 is one of the bills we debated this week to help support farmers and the agriculture industry in our state. In 1986, the Grain Indemnity Fund was created during the farm crisis and acts like an insurance policy for grain farmers that store grain at an elevator. 

Currently, all grain dealers and warehouse operators are required to participate in the Grain Indemnity Fund and pay fees on purchased or stored grain. If at the end of a fiscal year the fund exceeds $8 million, the fees are waived, but if the balance of the fund falls below $3 million, the Grain Indemnity Fund Board reinstates these fees. Senate File 2401 adjusts those amounts to $12 million and $5 million and extends coverage to credit sale contracts. Last year, the Grain Indemnity Fund ran out of money due to several circumstances and the fee had to be reinstated. This bill will better reflect today’s economy and hopefully prevent additional fees on farmers in the future.

We also passed SF 2412 which simply states manufacturers cannot be sued for the required EPA label they put on their agricultural products. It is a common-sense proposal, but during debate in the Senate, many wild claims were made about not allowing farmers to sue if they get sick. Despite the false rhetoric, nothing in this bill prevents them from suing if a product is found to actually cause cancer. It just states a manufacturer cannot be sued if they label their product as required under federal law and regulated by the EPA.

On Tuesday night, Governor Reynolds signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This was a great moment for me since I have worked on this bill for seven and a half years. This bill will help us to enjoy the full protection of religious freedom as intended in our state and federal constitutions. The bill says that the court must use its highest standard of protection before the government can infringe on a person’s free exercise of religion. If there is a compelling government interest (such as safety), then the government must use the least restrictive method to fulfill that interest. Over half of the states already have this protection in their constitutions.

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. --Ronald Reagan



The Leader

The Leader 
365 State Street, Garner, IA 50438
Phone: 1-641-923-2684
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

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