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Rep. Shannon Latham touts new law allowing teachers to use guns with deadly force inside Iowa schools

The following is a legislative update from Republican State Rep. Shannon Latham, representing portions of Franklin, Hamilton, Story and Wright counties in Iowa House District 55:

The following is a legislative update from Republican State Rep. Shannon Latham, representing portions of Franklin, Hamilton, Story and Wright counties in Iowa House District 55:

Shannon Latham (R)

During the second legislative funnel, bills that originated in the Iowa Senate had to pass through a subcommittee and committee in the Iowa House to remain “alive” for the session. Bills that originated in the House had to pass through a subcommittee and committee in the Senate to continue working their way through the bill-making process.

The Iowa House of Representatives has passed approximately 175 bills this legislative session, so the Iowa Senate had many bills to consider before the second legislative funnel. The Iowa Senate has only passed about 60 bills this session, so many House committees didn’t have much work to do during Week 10. Rather than meeting twice in a week like we did during the first legislative funnel, some House Committees didn’t even meet once this week.

The only bill available for consideration this week by the House Natural Resources Committee was SJR 2002, which would name the American Cream Draft Horse the official horse of Iowa. I served as chair of this subcommittee, and this resolution passed through committee on March 14 with bipartisan support. Next step in the bill-making process: This resolution must receive 51 votes on the House floor or else it dies.

One reason I support making the American Cream Draft Horse our state horse is because it was developed during the early 1900s in Hardin County near Radcliffe. In fact, the American Cream is the only breed of draft horse native to the United States. The American Cream Horse Association of America was granted a charter by the State of Iowa in 1944, so recognizing the American Cream as Iowa’s official horse seems like an appropriate way to celebrate the 80th anniversary of this breed’s state charter.

Floor debate concluded for Week 10 on Wednesday, March 13. Below is a recap of some bills that were passed this week by the Iowa House:

  • HF 2401 protects local pharmacies that are facing unfair practices from Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or the middlemen known as PBMs. A few years ago, we passed a bill that allowed the Iowa Insurance Division (IID) to regulate PBMs. Since that time, IID has received more than 70,000 complaints about PBMs from Iowa pharmacies. HF 2401 will help Iowa pharmacies get reimbursed at a fair price for services they perform and drugs they administer.

  • HF 2637 increases the adoption tax credit from $5,000 to $20,000. The heartbreaking reality is the exceptionally high cost of adoption can prevent children from a loving family that wants to give them a home, so hopefully this bill helps encourage more adoptions.

  • HF 2605 imposes a limit of four milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per serving in a consumable product and no more than 10mg per container. Much like alcoholic products, consumable THC (hemp) products would be required to have a warning label.

School Safety Infrastructure

As horrific as the event at Perry (Publisher’s note: This was a deadly school shooting) was earlier this year, it spurred conversations about a multi-pronged legislative approach to make Iowa schools safer.

This week the Iowa House passed House File 2652, which:

  • Requires schools to conduct a safety review and share it with law enforcement.

  • Establishes a task force to develop a gold standard of school safety building codes.

  • Requires districts to focus on improvements to school safety before building or renovating athletic facilities.

  • Creates a pilot program for gun detection software that works with existing school cameras.

  • Uses federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to ensure every school building has an emergency radio.

Last week the Iowa House passed HF 2586, which focuses on having personnel able and ready to protect students in the event of an emergency. This bill allocates money for schools to provide stipends or cover the costs for staff members who go through the extensive training and receive the new permit to carry in schools if they choose. Law enforcement responded exactly how they were supposed to, but it took seven minutes for them to arrive in Perry. So much can happen in seven minutes, so this permit program could lower that response time to seconds.

These two House bills will give schools more tools to keep their students and staff safe. My hope is the Senate will act on these two school safety bills, and send them to the Governor to be signed into law.

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