Week 2 begins the detailed legislative work, as legislators file more bills, and legislative committees start vetting them.

This week, legislators introduced important bills that would protect children from obscenity in public places, schools, and libraries, as well as a bad bill that would expand gambling in Iowa.

First, the bad bill: Gambling expansion

On Wednesday, HSB 578 was introduced to expand gambling by allowing betting on professional video game tournaments (known as e-sports). The FAMiLY Leader opposes this bill and is working to defeat it. Allowing gambling on video games directly targets younger Iowans and will lead to more addiction at a younger age.

The bill would also legalize “cashless wagering” at casinos, using a smart phone app like Google Pay. Generally, these apps work by linking directly with a person’s bank account. “Cashless wagering” would be significantly worse than putting ATMs on the floors of casinos (which is currently illegal in Iowa law). Under the proposed legislation, gamblers could completely empty a bank account without ever getting up from the blackjack table.

A good bill: Fighting porn in schools and libraries

Also on Wednesday, a large group of parents with Protect My Innocence drove to the Capitol to talk with legislators about the need for legislation to protect Iowa children from pornographic material in their schools and public libraries, including graphic depictions of oral sex in the book “Gender Queer.” We are very thankful for these parents and grandparents who travelled from Pella and Cedar Rapids to advocate on this vital issue after incidents in their own local schools and libraries. You can watch their press conference at the Capitol here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=930852067561965

We are also thankful to the legislators working on this issue! Rep. Sandy Salmon filed a bill Thursday that would address situations like the Pella pool incident, where a teenage girl was allowed to go topless because she identified as a male. Senate President Jake Chapman also plans to introduce a bill to address obscenity in schools and libraries soon, and we’ll keep you updated.

Parental choice in education

Our top issue this session remains expanding parental choice in education. As of this email no bills have been filed, though we expect one within two weeks. If you have not already, please take this opportunity to let your Iowa senator and representative know what parental choice in education means to you!