The Rozenboom Report – March 24th, 2023

by Senator Ken Rozenboom
The eleventh week of the legislative session focused on floor debate before another major legislative deadline next week. One bill debated this week was Senate File 547, known as the “hands free” bill. This bill is designed to keep Iowa roads safer from the dangers of cell phone usage while driving. Current Iowa law prohibits sending and viewing of text messages while driving. SF 547 would update the law, making it illegal to use electronic devices while driving unless it is used in a voice-activated/hands free mode. The bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday with bipartisan support. Hands-free legislation is supported by law enforcement and has been shown to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in states with similar legislation.

For the last five years the issue of rooting out error, fraud, and abuse in Iowa’s welfare system has been a priority in the Iowa Senate. On Wednesday, we took a strong step forward with the passage of Senate File 494. It establishes updated and effective income and identity verification parameters for public assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, FIP, and CHIP by using private sector technology to identify possible errors and fraud. Eligibility will be examined through employment information, income records, incarceration, and other information from federal and state sources. The purpose of welfare programs is to help those in need, and to properly do it, a system needs to be in place to prevent erroneous payments taking resources away from those in need.

Preventing welfare errors and fraud was a bipartisan issue for many years. However, it appears some senators are no longer interested in common sense solutions to protect the integrity of Iowa’s public assistance programs. In fact, not only did they propose spending more money on the program, but incredibly, they also tried to amend the bill to make it easier to commit fraud and violate federal policies in the programs.

This bill also refines asset limits to ensure wealthy people without typical income are not abusing the welfare system by collecting benefits, while also enjoying a lavish lifestyle. Iowans have routinely shown their support for common-sense safeguards on public assistance programs. SF 494 puts those policies into effect by implementing electronic verification used in the private sector every day and saving the taxpayers millions of dollars per year. We look forward to seeing this policy continue through the legislative process.

For over two months I have been working with the Governor’s office and the House on the Parents’ Rights and School Transparency bill. As the chairman of the Senate Education committee and floor manager of this bill, it was rewarding for me to successfully debate and pass Senate File 496. I wrote about this extensively in my March 2 newsletter.

Parents continue to send examples of explicit materials available to their young students, some of which is unbelievably graphic and deviant in nature. Parents are naturally are unnerved by that content and believe the delicate topics of gender and sexuality are best taught in the home. Sexual development and sexually explicit content are properly determined to be issues explained in the context of the moral and religious beliefs of Iowa families.

This bill, which the Senate passed on Wednesday, has no book bans, no implementation of speech codes, and the wildly exaggerated claims of censorship also do not exist in this bill. SF 496 simply implements common sense. It is completely reasonable for sexually explicit content to be unavailable to elementary students in their taxpayer-funded school. It is completely reasonable to ensure parents are informed of their children’s activities in school, especially on an issue as sensitive as gender identity. It is also completely reasonable to prohibit discussions of gender identity and sexual activity to kindergartners and elementary students.

A Democrat on the floor of the Senate actually said this, “There are some things parents shouldn’t have access to.” Instead of hiding information from parents, in SF 496 Senate Republicans have enshrined the concept of parental rights into Iowa law. This principle has appeared in state judicial rulings for nearly a century, and it is now one step closer to being in Iowa law. Parents bear the ultimate and fundamental responsibility for the upbringing of their child and parents must have the ability to guide their education, moral and religious upbringing, and the preparation for their future.

My last forum of this session will be at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa this Saturday at 8:30 AM. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Posted by on Mar 25 2023. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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