From the ground up

Dan Zumbach
Iowa State Senator, 48th Dist.

     Week nine in the Iowa Senate included some of the first major debate of the year. This week over 30 bills were passed out of the Senate chamber.

     Iowa plays a significant role in feeding the world. It is vital our farming operations have protections in place to prevent future outbreaks that threaten the world’s food supply as well as the state economy. One of the protections in disease prevention is strict biosecurity procedures. A bill which passed in the Iowa Senate and House would enforce criminal penalties for a person who deceptively obtains access to, or employment at, an agricultural production facility which is not open to the public with the intent to cause physical or economic harm to the facility.

     This valuable piece of legislation is essential for ag producers in our state. It provides protections for producers against tampering with their livestock and farming operations and the potentially devastating spread of disease.

     Iowa is one of only 6 states in the country to lack constitutional protections for the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. The language in this legislation is nearly identical to the Second Amendment in the US Constitution. Adding this language to the Iowa Constitution provides a layer of constitutional protections at the state level for the law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. In order for it to be added to the Iowa Constitution, it must be passed in the same manner in the next General Assembly and then passed by a majority of Iowans in a statewide vote. With this policy Iowans have a direct voice.

     The Iowa Senate passed a bill to bring balance to the Iowa judicial system. This simply changes how the judicial nominating commissions are put together in order to give Iowans more of a voice. The bill proposes the state nomination commission contain eight individuals who will continue to be appointed by the governor, while the remaining eight are appointed by legislative leaders: two by the Senate Majority Leader, two by the Senate Minority Leader, two by the Speaker of the House, and two by the House Minority Leader. The bill does not include Senate confirmation, as often these appointees fall victim to the other party’s politics on Senate floor. This way the minority in the legislature always has a say in the process.

     The Senate passed a bill which took out a restriction in the Iowa code limiting the operation of tele-pharmacies in rural Iowa. Current law set a ten-mile radius restriction for granting a special or limited-use pharmacy license to a proposed tele-pharmacy site. This bill provides more options for rural healthcare services, increases access to pharmacies in our rural communities, and ensures rural Iowans have access to medications and prescriptions they need.


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