Dear friends,

This is a season of hurry up and wait. The House passes a large list of bills and then must wait on the Senate to do their work.

HF475 bill allows any peace officer in the state the power to request a warrant for a GPS bug. I stood up and spoke against it on the floor. Presently, if a GPS bug was to be placed on a person, it required the warrant request be done by a special state agent. Such a device can implicate or incriminate any person the subject comes in contact with. The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution forbids “unreasonable search and seizure” which I believe this bill allows. Basically it grants every police officer an avenue to pursue a fishing expedition and witch hunt. I believe this to be unconstitutional and persuaded some legislators to vote against it, but not enough. I swore an oath to protect and defend that Constitution. Consequently, I asked the governor to veto this bill early Saturday morning.

The bill to deal with pets in divorce situations did incorporate Rep. Alon’s amendment reaffirming the property status of pets and not granting them personhood. On the human side, Rep. Shaw attempted to bring a “personhood” bill out of the Judiciary Committee. This Right to Life bill was ruled out of order and not allowed to be debated.

The Home Base Iowa plan is designed to attract veterans who are trained and highly skilled and ensures them opportunities needed for success when they return back home to Iowa. The plan includes tax exemptions for military pensions and survivor benefits; a component that directs Iowa’s occupational licensing board to give credit for military training and experience; and allows private sector employers to grant preferences in hiring and promoting veterans. Fees charged for plates associated with military service are waived, and colleges and universities must report the amount of credits they are giving veterans for their service in the military.

Many bills were passed on April 1. No fooling! Among them were the appropriations to the Justice system bill (H.F.24500) which passed by a slim margin and the Economic Development Appropriations bill which passed the House by a 97 to 2 vote. Among other bills passed, a long overdue bill on rural water systems passed 97 to 0 and an appropriations bill for agriculture, natural resources and environmental protection passed by a 72 to 27 vote. Appropriation bills authorize the government to spend money for certain functions and programs.

Thank you for granting me the privilege of serving and representing you.

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