ARTICLE

Round up of legislation before the House

Iowa Rep. Jeff Shipley meets with Mary Beth Tinker, namesake of the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The case defined the First Amendment rights of students in public schools. Tinker was suspended from school for violating the district’s policy against wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War.
Iowa Rep. Jeff Shipley meets with Mary Beth Tinker, namesake of the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The case defined the First Amendment rights of students in public schools. Tinker was suspended from school for violating the district’s policy against wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War.

Friends, I’m constantly reminded of what a privilege it is to serve in the Iowa House. There are frequent moments where you’re just awestruck. It’s not just the history and power of the institution, it’s the Iowans who have shaped the world and fill us with pride.

This past week, Rep. Andy McKean introduced John and Mary Beth Tinker to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tinker v. Des Moines decision, which is still used by courts today to govern free speech in schools. Now more than ever we need the free speech and anti-war movement.

Every day in February, the chamber has been celebrating Black History Month with legislators commemorating and inspiring racial harmony. I got to share the ‘Iowans Experiences Freedom Summer 1964’ IPTV program with my colleagues. Patti Miller, who is prominently featured in the film, lives in Fairfield.

These occasions are humbling and a reminder that our public service will echo through time.

Humbled to stand on the shoulders of the generations of free speech and anti-war activists that have shaped our world. Declaring Peace with Mary Beth Tinker

“It can hardly be argued that either teachers or students shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and free expression at the schoolhouse gate” - Tinker v. Des Moines

My Legislative Priorities

HF154: Smart Meter Opt-Out

As promised, our bill sailed through a productive subcommittee meeting that brought industry and advocates in the same room. Now our bill waits in the Local Government Committee for further examination.

But as the dust settles on the IUB hearing, things still look a little grim.

Alliant is moving forward with their smart meter project while the public awaits the details on the community wide opt-out. People who had smart meters installed against their wishes are out of luck. Alliant can apply for opt-out fees down the road.

Most depressing, Alliant just announced another rate increase.

Since Alliant will file their new tariffs before the IUB, maybe the million dollar question will finally get answered . Will Alliant finally reveal their cost-benefit analysis of the AMI infrastructure to the public?

HF 154 deserves a full discussion on that basis that no one should be denied utility service because of their refusal of a smart meter.

But in light of the Alliant rate increase, I am working on a strategy to address Alliant specifically. Because now every Alliant rate-payer is being harmed by this smart meter boondoggle.

Smart meter opponents may want to start talking to city hall. Depending on how this plays out, a municipal utility is always an interesting discussion. These are the challenges created by the government enforcing a monopoly for utility services.

As always, a huge thanks to the activists are who taking on this challenge. Kathy Matara and Jon Lipman are shining examples of citizens making a real impact on government. I was honored to introduce them to the chamber.

HF 332: Iowans Access to Alternative and Complementary Care Act

I’m thankful for the Fairfield Health Freedom team for putting forth great legislation that resonated statewide. And also thankful for Sen. Miller-Meeks and Rep. Fry for ensuring our bills got fair and productive hearings.

While we didn’t get voted out, we received great feedback from legislators that will help us come back next year poised for success.

HF 241: Campus Free Expression

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get a robust hearing in the full House Education Committee before funnel deadline. I’ve drafted some amendments and I’m really happy with the way this legislation is turning out. I haven’t spoken to anyone who’s opposed yet, so I feel optimistic.

HF248, HF249: Psychedelic Medicine

Too radical to get a hearing this year, but I’m proud to say that these proposals have been met with a lot of interest and encouragement both within and outside of the chamber. It’s quickly becoming a fun conversation starter.

For further reading on the topic, start here with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies: https://maps.org/

HF246, HF 297, HF448, HF449: Vaccine Choice

Immunization policy is an extremely hot button at the moment nationally and internationally. It deserves careful and delicate attention.

It’s really tough to talk about because key public policy features such as National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 are largely unknown to the public.

The Senate did have a subcommittee on SF238 and I gave brief remarks before I had to step out for another meeting.

I’m not saying I have all the answers to matters related to public health, but I know that it’s never worth sacrificing freedom.

Chairing the smart meter subcommittee on 2/20 was the first real test of my leadership. Thank you to everyone who supported me and contributed to our success.

Working with health freedom activists is a real joy. It’s an honor to follow the leadership of local hero Linda Hedquist and health freedom pioneer Diane Miller on this cause.

Other Bills of Public Interest

HSB185: Solar net-metering

Since I’m giving the utilities a super hard time over their atrocious smart meter policy, I’ll cut them some slack and explain their position on customer owned solar generation.

Utilities buy electricity at a wholesale rate, so why is electricity they ‘buy’ from solar customers worth more than that from their wholesale supplier?

Plus, since they’re accumulating kWh credits on a net-metering basis, the utility is incurring transmission and maintenance costs on their grid to accommodate their solar customers. They argue that those costs are being carried by their non-solar customers which creates an inequity.

Those are the arguments in favor of HSB185 as I see them, although no one at the Capitol has approached me on this and the only emails I’ve received have been opposed.

So I am a ‘No’ vote if it comes to the floor. I am impressed with our town’s solar companies and the economic growth they represent.

HF272: Homeschool tyranny

Bills like this really show what’s at stake in government. Some people believe in freedom, others don’t.

This legislation is an insult to homeschoolers and Iowa. As long as I’m on the education committee, I’ll make sure these ideas never get a hearing and will always lead to inform public opinion on the dangers of these types proposals.

This is why elections matter. Our victory this past election was a major blow to policy proposals such as these.

Final Thoughts

I’m also diligently working to find common ground on other contentious issues such as animal confinements and climate change. I’ve been meeting with activists posing important questions on environmental impact and the discussion has left me feeling optimistic.

It’s not very difficult to point out the problems in the status quo, finding solutions and building consensus on these topics is much more daunting.

I fully intend to address these topics directly in future weeks

Thank you for everyone who gives me feedback on our legislative activities. Citizen involvement is critical to the legislative process and it really helps when I hear from you.

Wishing you abundant Peace and Prosperity in the meantime,

- Jeffrey J. Shipley

“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

— Malcolm X