Our kids’ education is tremendously important, and that’s why you need to know about Common Core. In fact, it’s so important that we have created a special session before our Celebrate the Family dinner to hear David Barton reveal what Common Core is, what impact it will have on our kids, and what we can do to stop it.
You need to hurry! Seating is limited to 200, and you must have a ticket to the Celebrate the Family dinner to register for the early Common Core session from 4:00-5:00 p.m. Tickets are moving quickly, and we project to sell out in the next few days. The “Celebrate the Family” dinner is Saturday, November 23rd at the West Des Moines Sheraton Hotel from 5:30 -7:30 PM.
The 2013 Legislative Session is officially over and The FAMiLY LEADER gives it mixed reviews. This year’s session was perhaps the greatest in history for school choice with huge victories for both private and home school families, gambling expansion was stopped, and the largest tax cut in state history was passed.
But not a single pro-life bill passed the House or Senate, little changes were made to taxpayer funded abortions and abortion providers, and the Iowa Marriage Amendment failed to pass in both the House and Senate.
This year’s team included Chuck Hurley, Danny Carroll, Greg Baker and Tamara Scott.
Here is a brief overview of some of the issues we focused on at TFL:
Iowa Marriage Amendment
The Republican controlled House decided against advancing the marriage amendment out of committee. Several cosponsors from last year were reluctant to sign the bill in 2013 and others were late in doing so. We extend our appreciation to the following cosponsors of HJR 6, Iowa Marriage Amendment, which includes 35 of the 53 Republicans and 0 of the 47 Democrats:
The marriage amendment is eligible for consideration during the 2014 session and will be a priority of The FAMiLY LEADER as we look forward to next year.
Education reform was a priority this past session. The FAMiLY LEADER along with other interest groups worked to include benefits for home school and private school families. We are very pleased to report that several important provisions related to school choice were included in the final legislation. These included instruction options and reporting relief for home school families. Private schools gained freedom in accreditation and will see an increase in the statewide cap on tuition assistance tax credits. Parent taught drivers education was also legalized for home school parents.
We extend our appreciation to House Republicans who made home school and private school issues a priority. We also extend special gratitude to Representative Salmon and Gassman who led the effort on the House Education Committee.
We also want to thank Eric Goranson with Iowa Association of Christian Schools, Tom Chapman with the Iowa Catholic Conference, and Bill Gustoff with NICHE. It was their hard work that made success a reality.
The FAMiLY LEADER fought hard to prevent tax dollars from going to abortion providers (like Planned Parenthood). Each year millions of dollars find their way into the bank accounts of abortion providers. Our primary focus this year was on the Health and Human Services budget bill. We asked pro-life legislators to refuse to vote for the budget bill if it did NOT prohibit tax funds from going to abortion providers. While the bill passed the House with bipartisan support on the last day of the session, eleven House Republicans held firm and voted NO. They included:
These heroes deserve our gratitude for standing against the status quo and voting their conscience regardless of the cost. Well done!
Personhood legislation, which protects life at conception, was introduced again this year in the Iowa House by Representative Shaw and several other Republicans. However, it once again failed to get support in the Judiciary Committee and was not given the opportunity to come to a vote.
Senator Dennis Guth, from Klemme, introduced the Human Life Amendment which would amend the Iowa Constitution to say that the inalienable right to life of every person at any stage of development shall be recognized and protected. The FAMiLY LEADER will be working on this amendment every legislative session until it is ratified in Iowa. Senator Guth is a champion in the fight to protect life.
We look forward to working with Dan Becker and Personhood USA in the fight to protect life from conception to natural death in future legislative sessions.
Life, Marriage, and Family Rally
TFL hosted their annual Life, Marriage, and Family Rally this year in the Iowa Capitol on April 23rd. This year Dan Becker with Personhood USA joined us for our rally. The day started with a legislative breakfast. Over 25 representatives and senators came to listen and ask questions of Dan Becker on the Personhood initiative.
[wowslider id=”4″] Over 100 people attended the rally that took place on the first floor rotunda of the Iowa Capitol. This year’s rally’s key focus was on defunding of abortion providers. The rally also focused on marriage, gambling, and other pro-life legislation. Dan Becker along with Bob Vander Plaats, Danny Carroll, Chuck Hurley, Tamara Scott, and Greg Baker addressed the crowd. Following the rally everyone lobbied the Iowa Legislature for two hours on the issue of funding for abortions and abortion providers. Many spent the time to visit with their legislators on this important issue as well as thank them for their service and pray for them and their families.
Divorce/ Gambling/ and Pay Day Loans
The FAMiLY LEADER also worked on a wide range of other issues at the Capitol. Our lobbyists worked to stop the gambling industry expanding to online poker. Online poker failed to pass in both the Iowa House and Senate. Also on the issue of gambling, The FAMiLY LEADER prevented the passage of a bill that would have ended a critical study done by the state that shines light on the socio-economic effects gambling has on a community. Without this study little would be done about gambling’s negative consequences on the family and community.
TFL also worked with multiple organizations to pass more regulations on Payday loan lenders. Payday loans take advantage of some of the neediest in our society by charging them on average 297% by the time they pay off their loan. These new regulations would have required Payday lenders to follow the same rules our banking industry currently follows. Unfortunately, this bill failed to pass in both the House and Senate.
Another bill TFL worked on was a divorce reform bill that was introduced by freshman representative Ted Gassman. This bill would have restored fault based divorce in cases where minor children are involved. The bill did pass in committee, but was not brought up to a vote on the House floor.
We extend our thanks to all those who visited the capitol this past session and joined us in our lobbying efforts. We especially want to mention Pastor Brad Cranston from Burlington and dozens of his fellow pastors who made the trip to Des Moines several times during the session.
Possible agenda items for the 2014 session
Iowa Marriage Amendment – passage in both chambers
Human Life Amendment – passage in both chambers
De-fund abortionists – passage in both chambers and signed by the Governor
Passage of Education Savings Accounts for private and home school families
As the Iowa Legislature moves toward adjournment, we are still working for a provision in the Health and Human Services budget to prevent your tax dollars from going to abortionists. The House amendment, H-1378, that we are supporting has a chance of passage this Session. Events on the national and Iowa scene undergird why we need to stop this in Iowa. Consider the following reports:
The Heritage Foundation questions “tax money for abortionists” in light of Gosnell
Sarah Torre at the Heritage Foundation wrote an article linking the Gosnell case to continued government payments to abortionists like him. She concluded her piece with the following statement:
“In light of the brutality that became commonplace at [Gosnell’s abortuary] and has appeared elsewhere, policymakers should rethink continued financial support for an industry that creates and supports the likes of Gosnell.”
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller recently received a letter from U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman. Rep. Goodlatte apparently is asking all fifty state Attorneys General to provide information on their states’ laws, regulations, inspections and litigation of Gosnell-type abortion centers. As of this report, it is unclear if Attorney General Miller plans to respond to Rep. Goodlatte’s request for information. A copy of the letter sent to Virginia’s Attorney General is here. We understand Iowa’s letter is similar.
Thank you, and may God bless our efforts together to save the least of these, the tiniest members of our human family!
Governor Branstad’s education reform initiative remains alive. Representative Jorgensen, Republican from Sioux City and the House leader on education, said his fellow Republicans will stand firm in support of home-school families and private school relief. A few Senate Democrats are reportedly holding out in resistance to any relief for parental choice in education. Please contact and encourage your state Senator to support home school and private school parents.
House Lawmakers Holding the Line for Life, saying, “No tax dollars to abortionists”
“…funds appropriated under this section shall not be distributed to any person, as defined in section 4.1, who participates in the willful termination of human life.”
The Iowa House of Representatives, on May 1, 2013, included those words in amendment H-1378 to Senate File 446 and returned the bill to the Democrat controlled Senate. We again extend our compliments and gratitude to Representative Matt Windschitl and Floor Manager Dave Heaton for their clear pro-life leadership in drafting and passing this measure.
The bill (SF 446) is now in a conference committee comprised of 5 Senators and 5 Representatives. We expect the conference committee to pursue a compromise sometime next week.
The question remains; will the Republican controlled House be able to keep this pro-life provision in the final conference committee report? Senate File 446 is a huge Health and Human Services budget bill and only one of ten such bills yet to be passed before the Legislature adjourns.
We are encouraged that many Pro-life Republicans have made it clear that retaining this protection for unborn babies is essential if they are to vote for any compromise.
Let’s make sure we hold them up in prayer and offer them our words of encouragement in these final days of the session.
Education Delays Adjournment
Education reform, a priority of Governor Branstad’s, continues to delay legislative adjournment. Most of the public discussion deals with teacher pay, evaluations and student testing. Relief for home school families and private schools is still included in the legislation. Families that value home school and private school education need to be vigilant as a final compromise is considered. At The FAMiLY Leader we believe that if massive spending increases for public schools is approved it is only fair that additional freedom from government be proved to parents that choose private instruction.
Encourage your legislator to support private and home school freedom in ANY final compromise on education reform.