Sen. Jason Schultz

 

Sen. Jason Schultz

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

8/4/2020

All right western Iowa, I’m done.  I’m done with the Covid-19 crisis, pandemic, scamdemic, whatever you want to call it.  The virus is real and it’s serious. But the government’s response at ALL levels is not.

When your legislature paused the session on March 17, the unknown was our greatest fear.  We literally feared losing the lives of our oldest members of our families, communities and the legislature.  “Experts” warned us the hospitals would overflow and others with life-threatening conditions would go without beds and care.  Monitoring stations with Iowans in protective equipment were even taking our temperatures and screening us before entering the Capitol.  Given the vast unknowns of Covid-19, along with the conservative sentiment that Iowans do not need a legislature to govern their daily lives, we decided to suspend session and monitor the situation.  The next morning Iowa was locked down for nonessential services.

The next months can only be described as a bad end-of-civilization movie.  Hospitals sat empty without elective surgeries and critical care beds reserved for Covid cases went unfilled.  Mom & pop retailers were shut down as major retailers and grocery stores went on about their business – without mask requirements.  I received calls from directors of the Chambers of Commerce and business owners pleading for me to find a way to declare certain businesses “essential.”  Other businesses called to ask me to decree their industry be closed so they could “be safe” without losing customers to competitors who decided to stay open.  I couldn’t believe this could happen in America – in Iowa!

As days turned into weeks, information changed constantly.  One month masks were considered unnecessary, the next month masks are the only thing keeping us all from certain death.  Some information stated the virus is carried by water droplets. Other claims said it was airborne. If you caught the virus you may well end up on a ventilator, of which the country is short.  But the worst miscalculation of the whole mess was: It will only take a two-week shutdown to prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed.  We had to surrender our freedom in order to “flatten the curve” as everyone would repeatedly say.

Given the unknowns, I do not blame any governor or legislature for the drastic measures taken in March.  We just didn’t know, and the population mostly complied for the same reason.  But we do know now.  Government failed.  Not in the beginning, but for not listening to the people they serve and getting out of the way once the true lack of severity was known.  Covid-19 is dangerous, but mostly only to certain people. We now know that the vast majority of deaths are among our oldest citizens, usually with one or more weakening conditions.  Among the working population, as often as not, the individual has minor or no debilitating effects.

To make matters worse, government has interfered with our health care system in ways that will actually cause harm to the very people it is trying to keep safe.  New Medicare regulations require additional and unnecessary twice-a-week testing in non-infected care facilities but make no allowance for the time this takes staff from caring for residents.  Additional requirements are driving caregivers away from the industry due to mandatory double shifts and even more unreasonable record-keeping, which makes meeting state and federal requirements even harder.  All in non-infected care facilities.  Government is making things harder, not safer.

All of this is made more frustrating due to the obvious political implications of the COVID issue.  Social distancing doesn’t seem to matter while allegedly peaceful protestors are flipping a car on its side.  According to the national media logic, violent protests do not spread the virus, but church services must be banned for months.

The amount of government overreach we have become accustomed to has become the most dangerous part of the Covid-19 scare.  Private sector entities have the right to overreact as they see fit.  But government is bound by the U.S. Constitution and the Iowa Constitution to respect citizens and allow them to live their lives freely if they do not harm others.  Catching a bug, no matter how contagious, does not meet this standard.  I have lived these events with you and trusted our elected officials to handle this in your best interest. I do not believe it was ­­dangerous enough to restrict your rights as an American for more than the first two weeks.

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

7/28/2020

A recent meeting with county supervisors in the district centered around the most recent attempt to protect the rights of Iowans to keep and bear arms.  The principle of preemption, simply put, is that state law preempts, or comes before, local regulations.  This means cities or counties cannot be more strict than Iowa law in the area of firearms.  This seems widely misunderstood, or intentionally ignored.  The first argument heard is usually one of local control.  While I usually support government closest to the people, your Second Amendment rights are enshrined in the Constitution.  They are not subject to local control.  Or state control.  Or even Congressional control, if some of those fools would read the document.  Additionally, it is my belief that one of the first purposes of government is to protect the natural rights of the citizen.  Firearm preemption is the right policy and we are fortunate to have a long history of state government doing its job in this area.

Other than constitutional considerations, it makes sense to have one set of laws on firearms in Iowa.  Imagine trying to cross the state while trying to comply with each city or county’s version of firearm regulation.  Some urban areas with a strong Democrat political machine may go so far as to ban firearms altogether like was tried in Virginia.  Some areas may forbid having a round in the chamber while carrying or limit magazine size.  Other areas would have no regulation beyond state or federal law.  This could cause residents to believe their actions were legal in some areas in Iowa, as they should be, only to be arrested and convicted with serious penalties in other areas.

Iowa first passed what is known as firearms preemption language in 1990.  This language addressed the growing number of cities and counties that violated the U.S. Constitution and restricted law-abiding citizens ability to keep and bear arms.  To put these law into perspective, the current wave of concealed carry freedom hadn’t yet swept the country or Iowa.  Permits to carry a concealed weapon were hard to get and the county sheriff had full discretion.  Even with so few citizens carrying, local governments were still restricting the rights of the citizen.  The Iowa Legislature stepped in and made Iowa Code the only voice on the issue.

Over time, some entities began to encroach on this law, and even openly contradict it.  So in 2010, twenty years later, the Legislature had to restate preemption and expand the language in Iowa Code.  When the bill to move Iowa from “May issue” to “Shall issue” a permit was passed, language was included that made it clear: “All permits so issued shall be for a period of five years and shall be valid throughout the state except where the possession or carrying of a firearm is prohibited by state or federal law.”  It is clear that Iowa law intends that the permit is valid everywhere except where prohibited by the state.

Fast forward to 2017.  Local councils and boards were at it again and were working around established law.  It was again necessary to re-state the obvious preemption policy of the state.  This time, we added the ability for the citizen to sue the local government if the citizen suffered damages while their rights were restricted.  In addition, the Legislature responded to a history of the Iowa Attorney General giving legal opinions that some local restrictions weren’t actually “ordinances.”  Instead of banning “ordinances” alone, language was expanded to include some of the local governments’ methods to bypass state law.  Iowa Code Chapter 724.28 was expanded to state:  “… ordinance, measure, enactment, rule, resolution, motion, or policy…”  But this status did not last.

Local governments continued their assault on your Second Amendment rights.  Notably, Des Moines tried to ban ammunition magazines over ten rounds.  Another community tried to regulate ammunition storage.  In the 2020 session, we passed House File 2502.  Authored by Rep. Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley, and floor managed by Rep. Holt of Denison in the House and myself in the Senate, this bill adds ammunition storage, attachments, and modifications to the list of subjects to be controlled at the state level.  A notable piece of policy included was a provision that a local government entity could restrict weapons in a specific place if a metal detector or armed security were present.  The intent is that if the citizen is disarmed, the government is to take responsibility for their safety.  That citizen can sue for damages due to being disarmed.  The Iowa Firearms Coalition was instrumental in the last three bills going back to 2010.

After four pieces of legislation, all signed by the governor at the time of passage, you would think mayors, council members, supervisors, and department heads would quit disarming the honest man or woman and worry about the criminal.  But that doesn’t seem to be the pattern of the last thirty years.  We don’t seem to have too much of a problem in western Iowa, but it never hurts to remind local officeholders you value your gun rights and you now know they are protected at the state level.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fight for your rights as a citizen.  If you have any questions, email [email protected].

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

3/16/2020

The COVID-19 virus has disrupted the lives of Iowans and all of America in a way we haven’t seen in decades. As we find ourselves in a new world, it is important not to assume the worst. I have seen little of the drama that has taken place around the country, and that speaks well of Iowans. It is our job as thoughtful adults to consider the news as it comes, make plans to care for our friends and loved ones, and guide our children through these difficult, unknown situations.

The most obvious change is the closure of gathering places including churches, schools, and restaurants. It is important to understand what is happening here. The effort is all aimed at slowing down the spread of the Wuhan virus among the general population. I have looked at the mathematical models of viral spread, and unlimited contact with infected individuals will lead to the health disasters of China and Italy. Their problems arose when actions such as ending large group gatherings were not taken early. South Korea and Russia immediately stopped such activity, along with closing their borders immediately. Their outcomes are becoming models for how to react to news of the coronavirus. The unknown variable is how well the population will cooperate.

In order to assist with the governor’s order to end group gatherings, the Iowa Legislature suspended our session on March 16. We are taking a thirty-day pause in order to not help the spread of the virus. Each week, 150 officeholders go back home and see countless people from multiple counties. We then go back to Des Moines and work with people from around the state. That is a recipe for disaster, so the Legislature tied up a few loose ends in order to keep the state running.

The main bill we debated was SF 2408. The first division of the bill dealt with supplemental appropriations necessary even before the outbreak of the virus. Medicaid, HAWK-I, and the Glenwood Resource Center all received funding to deal with immediate needs. Also approved was funding to the State Hygienic Lab for testing of the coronavirus.

Division II authorizes status quo funding for education items other than the annual State Supplemental Aid, which was passed earlier this year.

Division III sets up the structure to authorize two additional months of funding for state agencies at the beginning of the fiscal year, which starts July 1. We do not believe the current isolation policy will last the whole summer, but it would be irresponsible to not have a contingency plan.

Division IV sets aside the current limitations on the governor’s fiscal transfer authority. This language permits the governor to make move money around in the current fiscal year.

Division V waived the instructional time requirements for students in schools for thirty days. It also allows the governor to continue the waiver until July 1.

Division VI pre-authorizes 10 percent of the Economic Emergency Fund ($19.6 million) to be used by the governor in order to handle current emergencies. The Legislative Council again has the authority to allow additional transfers if needed.

I will be sending newsletters out more frequently for the duration of the legislative pause with information concerning the state’s reaction to the COVID-19 emergency.

I am the chair of the Labor & Business Relations Committee, as well as serve on the Judiciary, State Government, and Ways & Means committees.

Mailing Address:

Jason Schultz

1007 E Grand Ave

Des Moines, IA 50319-1001

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

3/13/2020

The 2020 session of the Iowa Legislature is over the halfway point. The second funnel is coming up on March 20, and we will be moving into the appropriations season soon.

This year’s big bill to protect your right to keep and bear arms is House File 2502. This bill is being referred to simply as the ‘Preemption Bill’. This bill strengthens and clarifies current Iowa law. In 1990 the Iowa Legislature put into place the first legislation to make clear that firearms law in Iowa will be made at the state level. Cities and counties were not allowed at that time to pass ordinances or resolutions that were more restrictive than the State of Iowa. This was done in order to prevent a patchwork of different gun laws throughout the state.

The next time we addressed preemption was in 2017. Over the years some of our more populated areas had placed restrictions that should not have been allowed under state law. It seems to be a never-ending misunderstanding among some city and county officials that if they ban possession of firearms in a defined area, that the bad guy will obey and leave his gun in the car. In reality, gun free zones only persuade the law-abiding that they must obey the posted sign, and the area is made more dangerous, not safer. So, in 2017 the Legislature strengthened the current language by including language that gave citizens a cause of action to sue local governments if a gun restriction caused the individual harm. It also disallowed public universities from declaring the whole campus as a so-called gun free zone. We also closed loopholes provided by the Attorney General’s office that allowed cities to use “resolutions” instead of “ordinances”.

This year we have to go a bit farther. HF 2502 once again makes clear that state law is the only allowable restriction on any firearm related matter. It protects gun ranges by not allowing them to be treated any more restrictively than any other public amenity. It makes clear that governments cannot ban guns, but does include a different provision. In specific venues such as concerts or large sporting events, if a public area decides they must restrict guns, they must provide adequate screening and also armed security. This is to make the strong statement that by disarming citizens in any place, the burden to protect that citizen moves from the citizen to the local jurisdiction. Large venues typically already use metal detectors and security, so this will not impact them.

The bill expands preemption to keep local governments from regulating modifications or attachments to firearms. HF 2502 also prohibits local regulations concerning ammunition or firearms storage. This is in response to the improper harassment of gun owners in examples found nationwide. Some jurisdictions have tried to ban standard capacity magazines and limit them to eight or ten rounds. Others have created rules that would limit how much ammunition a citizen can possess. We will not let this get started in Iowa.

We do not want our state to develop a patchwork of differing gun laws. It should not require a lawyer to advise you as you drive across Iowa in regards to gun, attachment, or ammunition ordinances. To be consistent, as we limit local governments we are also working to make Iowa no more restrictive than federal law. We can all work together to make federal law as close to the spirit of the 2nd Amendment as possible to ensure gun rights “shall not be infringed.”

 

3/6/2020

Welfare reform has been my leading project for the last two years. Last year Iowa Senate Republicans passed a collection of bills to address various issues from work requirements to electronic benefit card fraud. Taking lessons learned from last year’s debates, I developed the ideas and brought them back for discussion.

SF 2366 recognizes federal work requirements are attached to the SNAP food assistance program. Nobody seems to complain about them, so the bill applies those requirements to the Medicaid expansion group. The bill also forbids the Iowa Department of Human Services from seeking a waiver from the USDA to not enforce the current work requirements. The bill requires twenty hours a week of work, training, or volunteering in order to stay in the program. I included a list of exemptions that mirror the federal exemptions used in the SNAP program. This bill is directed at able-bodied individuals who simply should be working or participating in the community somehow.

Work is a fundamental part of who we are as people and a state. It gives us purpose, the means to support ourselves and families, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. This bill is not punishment for using the system when times are tough, it is a nudge to get back in the race while continuing to be part of the Medicaid or SNAP programs. It’s been my experience that those who show up for work every day see their lives get better and opportunities present themselves. Iowa’s unemployment has been less than 3 percent for over two years and employers are begging for people to come work. There has never been a more appropriate time to get people off the programs and into self-reliance and a better life.

SF 2366 also includes language developed by the House to address the child care assistance cliff. One of the reasons some find it hard to go to work is the expense of child care during the day. This portion of the bill creates a sliding scale to help those who are working to move up the wage scale without losing the assistance benefit completely.  As they make more, the program reduces assistance until hopefully the parent moves up in wages to the point that they move out of the program completely, which should be the goal of every program and recipient. The welfare cliff problem exists nationwide. It isn’t easy to fix, but the Iowa Legislature is trying to find a solution.

Twenty states are working to include work requirements with the support of President Trump. Unfortunately, those who do not want change or accountability in America’s welfare programs keep filing lawsuits to stop the progress of welfare reform. With the President’s re-election later this year, I’m confident we will make progress. Senate Republicans are proud to work alongside this administration.

I’m hopeful the Republican majority in the House of Representatives will give a serious look at either the work requirement bill or last week’s eligibility verification bill.  If you would like to send a message, please email [email protected]

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

2/28/2020

The pace of legislation has slowed as we passed the funnel deadline last week. The focus is now to pass Senate files and send them to the House for their committee system to consider. The next deadline is March 20. By that day a Senate file must be out of the House committee or House file out of a Senate committee or the bill is no longer considered. This week the goal is to give the other chamber as much time as possible to take up our bills.

One of my highest priorities this year is SF 2272. It is a bill to modernize the way the Department of Human Services conducts its eligibility and verification checks for public assistance programs. Currently, hundreds of income maintenance workers are manually calling to check and verify the accuracy of the applicant’s information or to look for changes for those continuing their participation. The bill would have the department develop real-time verification using private-sector vendors who offer lightning-fast and accurate analysis of participants by running their identity through public and secure private data bases that can confirm eligibility or flag the identity for further human examination to make sure recipients are not wrongly denied benefits.

I’ve been working on this issue for three years and it is especially important this year. On July 30, 2019, Iowa was fined $1.8 million for having a high of error rate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. An audit found the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) overpaid $40 million tax dollars to SNAP recipients in 2018. This fine came after DHS was warned the previous summer that Iowa had an error rate nearly as high in 2017. The reasons cited were the department not verifying required data, and recipients not reporting information. The solution to this problem was to pass and implement the bill I developed before the audit was released. During this time, I was assured the bill was not needed. The department believed they had verification under control. I knew we could do better.

This year I added to the idea. It stands to reason that if the error rate for SNAP is unacceptably high due to DHS not getting all the checks done, there is a good chance this problem exists in all our other welfare programs. The second division of my bill adds these expanded checks to other public programs such as Medicaid, FIP, and CHIP. This should not worry those who truly need this assistance and meet the clear requirements to enroll. This bill is only seeking to identify those who are defrauding the system, those who moved into or out of the state and want to illegally enroll in two states, and those whose life has changed for the better and no longer qualify for assistance.

It is important to point out that those who are truly eligible for public assistance will still be eligible. I would also point out that the private sector vendor only filters the information. Recipients who have a discrepancy found would then be referred to DHS. The department then will manually confirm the eligibility of the participant.

I wish I could report the bill passed with unanimous approval, but only the Senate Republicans voted to modernize our welfare verification system. We moved the Eligibility and Verification Bill to the House where I’ll be working to garner support in that chamber.

Thank you for giving me the chance to work on welfare reform in Iowa.  I believe it is important to you and I know it matters to me.  If you need to contact me, call the switchboard at 515-281-3371 or email [email protected]

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

2/17/2020

Week five of the 2020 session is done. There is a quickening of activity as we near Friday’s deadline to get our bills out of committee in order to keep them alive for consideration. I appreciate the input from the district as you write and let me know which bills are important to you.

The headline this week is the abortion neutrality amendment.  I wrote about this issue a couple of weeks ago, so I’ll just report SJR 2001 was approved by the Senate on a party-line vote, with all Republicans supporting the measure. The House has moved their equivalent resolution out of Rep. Holt’s Judiciary Committee, and I hope they will vote to approve it soon.

I moved my own project out of the Labor Committee last week. Senate Study Bill 3068 is a bill to expand my effort of the last two years to inject technology and efficiency into the verification of both applicants and recipients of Iowa’s welfare benefit programs. The 2018 Farm Bill required states to join the National Accuracy Clearinghouse (NAC). This program had been run as a pilot program in five southern states to root out fraud by those seeking benefits in two states at one time. It worked so well the federal government decided every state who receives federal tax dollars for food assistance programs should use the NAC as well.

The first division of SSB 3068 requires the Iowa Dept. of Human Services to take the first step in joining NAC. They have since started this process but hadn’t when I filed the bill. The second division expands this use of database algorithms to all other public assistance programs and authorizes the private vendor to search out information in both federal and state public databases. While researching this subject, it was startling how much information was out there. I don’t like it, but everyday items such as marriage and birth records, vehicle registrations, property ownership and transactions, and more are publicly available information. We may as well use it to minimize fraud in our welfare programs.

Unfinished business this week is our annual school funding expenditure. Both chambers have voted to approve their proposal for next the next school year. Now we have to come to an agreed-to amount so school boards and administrators can set their budgets for next year. I hope to have news of an agreement soon.

If you have questions or comments please email [email protected].

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

2/7/2020

Week four of the Iowa Legislature is moving nicely. Subcommittees are meeting and vetting bills to filter what makes it to committee. Full committees have been considering bills, tabling some and passing others that provide a positive impact for Iowa. The Senate started floor action on Thursday, February 6.

The news of the week was clearly the president’s State of the Union address. Never before has a president made such a clear and definitive agenda of putting America – and Americans – first.  There were no subtle hints or quibbling lines. Every position was black and white. The reason I report on this national event is because it parallels the agenda of the Iowa Legislature, especially the Iowa Senate.

President Trump expressed strong support for the pro-life movement. The current Republican-controlled legislature and governor are the most pro-life government Iowa may have ever had. We will be working on passing the abortion neutrality amendment to work to correct an imaginative court ruling from 2018. This follows a few years of successful pro-life legislation being set aside by courts.

Our Second Amendment firearms rights were proclaimed from the US House podium Tuesday night and cheered by a pro-freedom Iowa Legislature. We have restored many of those rights that had eroded away over the past decades. My newsletter of a couple of weeks ago covered this subject.

The tax cuts lauded by the president for spurring the national economy were matched in Iowa in order to conform to the changes and also cut our own income tax. Iowa is experiencing an economic expansion due to these changes. If the president wants to go farther, we are ready to match him for the benefit of Iowans.

But the strongest message of the night was simply one of right and wrong. A sense that we have a president who cares about the people of America and not just its largest institutions. The themes of the speech were specifically aimed at those who walk our concrete sidewalks and gravel roads instead of those who walk the polished marble hallways of D.C, New York, or Los Angeles. He was talking to us. He spoke to the parents who are worried about their children’s education, the spouse of those service members deployed, and the law enforcement officer defending America’s border. We as Americans and Iowans face these issues every day, and I am guessing most of us have been waiting for someone to address these problems in the way President Trump is leading us.

Your Iowa Senate is dealing with these same issues in education, veterans’ issues, and illegal alien sanctuary cities. In 2016 Iowans chose both President Trump and Senate Republicans to fight for them. We gained the majority and President Trump took the Oath of Office in January 2017. Since then, we have matched the President in boldness and action. We have made Iowa a leading state in fiscal responsibility, firearms rights, life, taxpayer protection and business climate. Iowa still has challenges to face, just as does our country. But I like who we have working for us at the White House and in the State Capitol of Iowa. During the State of the Union, I was a proud American, and I hope you were as well.

If you would like to comment on this or any issue, please call the switchboard at 515-281-3371 or email [email protected].

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

1/31/2020

The state of pro-life legislation is precarious. Despite years of efforts to protect the unborn, the Heartbeat Bill, our highest achievement, has been set aside by a State District Court. The ruling was based on a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision overturning legislation that required a 72-hour pause for women seeking an abortion. In that written opinion, the Chief Justice wrote that our Constitution contains an unspoken, fundamental right to abortion. He couldn’t refer to the language of the Constitution, he instead referred to “ordered liberty,” which seems to mean that judges can read between the lines and infer what the writers of the document would have meant, had they thought to write it. The ruling created a stronger right to abortion in Iowa than the US Constitution. There is a fear it may even require taxpayer-funded abortions if the issue were pressed.

Iowans across the state were stunned. Our State Constitution doesn’t refer to abortion in the least. In fact, it is just the opposite. The Constitution opens in Article I, that Iowans have “certain inalienable rights – among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty.” When pro-life supporters plead Constitutional protection of life, the counter-argument is that our founders didn’t know about abortion and couldn’t have been aware of the philosophical issues over 150 years later.

One of the heroes of the Life battle, Senator Jake Chapman, of Adel, dropped the hammer on that argument while managing SJR 21, the Abortion Neutrality Amendment, through committee. SJR 21 simply states that the Constitution of Iowa does not take a position on abortion. This would place the decision back in the hands of the Legislature, as was intended.

Senator Chapman did his homework. After reviewing Supreme Court Justice Manfield’s dissenting opinion, he went to the Capitol Law Library and searched the archives for any reference to the Life issue. He came to the committee meeting with the original volume of Iowa Acts that provided proof. In 1858 the General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature banned abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life was at risk. This occurred just six months after the adoption of the Constitution of the State of Iowa in March 1857! These were the legislators who may have participated in the writing of our Constitution. They certainly at least knew many who worked on the document. To say abortion was unknown to those who lived before 1900 or Roe v. Wade in 1972 is simply wrong.

The amendment process in Iowa is difficult. The Senate and the House must pass the same language. Then we must wait until after the next election and both pass it again. SJR 21 then can go to a vote of the people of Iowa.  It’s important to remember. Passing the amendment doesn’t ban abortion.  It only takes the issue from the Iowa Supreme Court of 2018 and put it back in the hands of the people, through their Legislators.

It should be noted that since 2018, so many Supreme Court justices have been replaced that the current Supreme Court bench cannot be held entirely responsible for the imaginative opinion of a few years back.

If you would like to contact me, contact the switchboard at 515-281-3371, or email [email protected]

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

1/23/2020

The recent pro-gun rally in Virginia brought an important issue to the forefront of national news. The 2018 elections in Virginia swept Democrats into control of the Legislature and governor’s office. Newly elected Governor Northam immediately sent the message to the Legislature that he would sign any gun control bill sent to his desk. That signaled a race that would lead to some of the most extreme restrictions ever seen. There is even a $4 million appropriation proposed to hire new employees to forcibly confiscate Virginians’ banned firearms. This led to a massive rally on January 20 that saw 6000 people enter the grounds to hear speeches, while a far larger crowd remained outside the fence exercising their right to keep and bear arms in the face of tyranny. This huge number of law-abiding firearms owners assembled without a single incident. This must annoy the leftist liberal media who predicted chaos, only to stop covering the news after a successful rally.

Compare this to the Republican House, Senate, and governor here in Iowa who value the Second Amendment. We have passed provisions to protect Iowans who stand their ground and defend themselves when under attack, to make it more difficult to create gun-free zones in public places, and made the names of concealed permit holders confidential. We legalized gun suppressors, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, both which require federal background checks and tax stamps.

Republicans changed the law to allow those under 14 years old and under close supervision to handle and learn to shoot pistols and revolvers. We prohibited the state from confiscating firearms during emergencies and allowed permit holders to carry their weapon into the Capitol.

This year we are working to pass an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would require the Iowa Supreme Court to review gun laws with strict scrutiny, which would make further gun control difficult. In view of the Virginia Democrat proposed restrictions, this may be the most important thing we could do for Iowa’s future freedom.

Another important bill is to allow permit holders to go onto school grounds to drop off or pick up students or items as long as they stay on the street or parking area. Currently, it is a felony to be caught with a weapon on school grounds for any reason. I fear good Iowans are unknowingly breaking the law and risking severe penalties by simply dropping their child off at school on the way to work. I want to fix this as soon as possible. I’m also running a bill to require employees be allowed to keep their concealed carry weapon locked in their car while they are at work. This way an armed Iowan can leave their home with their legally carried weapon, drop the kids off and go to work. Then pick the kids up on the way home. These two bills complement each other and would better the lives of law-abiding Iowans.

An issue that has been made more difficult is constitutional carry. This would remove the need for a permit to carry by law-abiding citizens. Over a third of the states allow this now, and three states have passed this provision in the last year, with no problems at all. I want to see this passed in Iowa and will be working to move it this year.

The problem comes in the form of a phony “pro-gun” group who is out to raise money with explosive emails and mailings. They claim they are working to move constitutional carry forward, but each time I make progress in the Senate they firebomb a senator or representative with lies and insults. The targeted officeholders are almost always supporters of permit-less carry. It gives opponents of gun rights a reason to laugh at us, but the biggest problem is it makes those who could go either way on the bill not want to get involved. Given the vast successes, the Republican trifecta has had reinforcing our 2nd Amendment rights in the past few years, it is almost assured we could have passed this issue without deceptive profiteers taking advantage of patriotic Iowans.

If you need to contact me about this or any issue, please call 515-281-3371 or email [email protected].

The Schultz Perspective by Senator Jason Schultz

1/21/2020

The first week of the Iowa Legislature’s 2020 session is complete. Committees are formed, bills are being assigned to subcommittees, and the machine of government is beginning to roll. The Legislature received our annual speeches reporting on the Condition of the State, Judiciary, and National Guard.

The first big decision to be made in January is the amount of additional funding for K-12 education. Very rarely does K-12 go backward or stay at a status quo level of funding. It almost always goes up each year to cover raises, inflation, and additional costs in education. Not surprisingly, when this additional funding is set, those who receive it argue that the additional funds need to be higher. This usually leads to charges that Republican majorities are “underfunding education”. This is a false and simply partisan statement. Let’s look at history.

After being elected to the Legislature in 2008, I served in the House during a time when Democrat majorities held the Senate, House and Democrat Chet Culver was the governor. The budgets I voted against in the years of total Democrat control increased spending in all areas and didn’t prioritize or protect K-12. In fact, the tragic October 2009 across-the-board cut by Governor Culver to keep the budget solvent stripped $238 million from K-12 all by itself. I’ve included details in the table below. By the time Republicans won the majority in the House, our local schools had been promised over $390 million but had been truly underfunded by $459 million. K-12 went backward in funding.

Compare that to the recent Republican trifecta elected in 2016. The three budgets approved since that election have included additional funding for local schools in the amount of $263 million. And every penny was delivered. I’m proud Iowa now has a strong budgeting system that leaves more money in the bank than law requires. This gives stability to local school boards when they set their budget. This prevents local schools from having to lay off teachers mid-year as happened in the earlier years I described.

Add to this record of funding success the collective bargaining changes introduced in 2017 that put school boards back in charge of their budgets and let superintendents reward good teachers and offer bonuses to attract special skills needed locally. This also added stability going into the future, especially our small schools here in West Central Iowa.

“Fully funding education” is much more than scoring political points in January, only to hurt local schools in October. I define fully funding education as delivering every penny promised. Republicans have done this and kept the faith with our smaller, rural schools who are hurt the worst by bait and switch budgeting tactics. As we move into the school budgeting debate, I think history shows that the Republican trifecta is education’s best friend.

Thank you for giving me the chance to witness history first hand and report back to you. If you need to contact me, please call the switchboard to 515-281-3371 or email [email protected].

I am the chair of the Labor & Business Relations Committee, as well as serve on the Judiciary, State Government, and Ways & Means committees.

Jason Schultz

1007 E Grand Ave

Des Moines, IA 50319-1001

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