District 53 Newsletter: March 9, 2023

State Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour)

This week we entered into the Debate phase of the session, sending bills to the Senate, and a few to the governor’s desk.

This week, Iowa House Republicans passed Senate File 75 to establish licensure in Iowa for Rural Emergency Hospitals. This bill was a priority bill for the Republican caucus. A rural emergency hospital is a health-care facility that maintains a 24-hour emergency room, but does not include acute inpatient care. Establishing licensure in Iowa for this kind of health care facility allows them to be more successful by receiving reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid at a higher rate.

This week, the Iowa House passed House File 623 to prohibit transgender surgeries and harmful hormonal therapy from being used on Iowa children. Two hospital systems in Iowa perform these therapies or surgeries on children. Unity Point provides hormone therapy and puberty blockers, and UIHC provides hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and “top surgery” to children. There is very limited data available on the long-term effects of this type of treatment. The few studies that have tracked long-term effects do not support the idea that this treatment lowers the rate of suicide in transgender individuals. Children are simply too young to make these permanent decisions. In many ways, we limit children and their parents from making choices they are too young to make. A child can’t smoke cigarettes or gamble, even with parental consent, so why should a decision to have life altering surgery be acceptable? Under current practice, these children are being allowed, or even encouraged, to make these permanent decisions, with life altering consequences such as sterilization, before they have been given the opportunity to grow up and learn more about themselves. This law will help give Iowa children the time to mature and grow into themselves before making such a life-altering decision.

The House also passed House File 348 to prohibit classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-6th grade. There have been incidents in the recent past where such instruction was given to grade school children in Iowa. We send our kids to school to learn reading, writing, math and science. This bill will allow teachers to use their time on those topics and leave discussions on social issues to the parents. Teachers should teach and parents should parent. This bill was amended to make clear that this is not about limiting all discussion around LGBTQ Iowans. It is to prohibit instruction, curriculum or promotion of the topics in school. Students with same-sex parents or teachers in a same-sex marriage would not be limited from talking about those relationships.

The House also passed House File 597 to remove sexually explicit material from Iowa school libraries. This bill requires that all books in school libraries must be age appropriate and expands the definition of age appropriate in code to include what is NOT age appropriate. Age appropriate does not include any material with descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act. The bill includes explicit detail of what is not age appropriate, but I will not provide those graphic details in this newsletter. I still cannot believe that this is a bill we need to pass. But unfortunately, books that contain sex act images or passages have been found in Iowa schools, and Democrats have been making long winded excuses for having these books available to our children. If you find yourself skeptical that this material could possibly be in Iowa schools, please take the time to find these books and look up the passages yourself. Let’s Talk About It contains sexually explicit illustrations with instructions, tips and suggestions on how to perform various sex acts along with masturbation. The book also suggests safe ways for children to consume porn. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Gender Queer contains graphic illustrations of oral sex. Push contains detailed and disturbing instances of incest and sexual molestation. I have a list of 30 such books in various school libraries, many in this district.

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