District 53 Newsletter: Feb. 16, 2023

I filed a bill again this year, House File 153, that seeks to provide grants for the demolition of abandoned school buildings in small towns and rural areas. Many of these old school buildings have been sold off for a pittance and then left to rot by their owners. We have perhaps hundreds of these buildings across Iowa, I know of several in Tama county alone. These abandoned buildings are often beyond repair and are not only an eyesore but a danger to our children in these communities. This bill will provide for $2 million per year for three years from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (Casino money) to be allocated for demolition of these buildings in small communities under 2,500 population and in one of the 88 lowest-population counties in Iowa. A local government entity such as a school district, township, city, or county, will need to step forward and take over the property in order to exercise the grant. This bill passed the full committee on Wednesday and is now ready for floor debate.

This week I filed House File 290 which specifies that only the sex identified on a person’s birth certificate may be used on any government document, including a license, application, or any other form. This bill is necessary to ensure that people claiming to be “transgender” do not change official documents.

This week, the House Education committee passed House File 8. This bill prohibits any classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-6th grade. It also prohibits instruction on these topics at any age that is not age appropriate. We send our kids to school to learn subjects like reading, writing, math, and science, not to be indoctrinated in trendy Left Wing causes, particularly causes that will distort a child’s world view. This bill is often misconstrued and accused of having consequences that are not actually in the bill. To help ensure that you understand, here is an explanation of what the bill does and does not do.

The bill does prohibit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-6th grade and prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation in a manner that is not age appropriate in any grade. The bill thus allows teachers to stick to curriculum on school subjects like reading, writing, math, and science while leaving the responsibility to discuss social issues to the parents. The bill does not ban sex education. Guidelines on sexual education remain in code, and this bill does not change those guidelines. This bill does not stop any instruction providing information to students to prevent sexual abuse. This bill does not ban books that contain LGBTQ characters, nor does it prevent a teacher in a same-sex marriage from talking about or displaying photos of their spouse. This bill does not prevent students from discussing these topics themselves. This bill does not allow for bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity. All current bullying policies apply.

Rep. Fisher’s district covers all of Poweshiek County and most of Tama County excluding Traer, Dysart, and Buckingham.