Letter to the editor: The governor must veto these bills

Gov. Kim Reynolds signs legislation increasing penalties for fentanyl-related crimes on May 16, 2023. — via @IAGovernor on Twitter

Dear Governor Reynolds,

I remember your 2018 campaign ad with you pictured as the loving grandmother surrounded by your 10 grandchildren. You stated, “My family means everything to me. Being a grandmother of 10 helps you multitask, be a good listener, and most importantly serves as a reminder about why I want Iowa to be the best place in America to live. I care about this state so much and that’s why for every Iowan, for every grandma and all of their grandchildren, I am running to ‘Keep Iowa Moving.’”

Fast forward to the 90th Legislative Session, which thankfully has ended, leaving in its wake numerous mean-spirited bills which undermine your promise of caring so must for every Iowan. The opportunity still exists to veto some of this legislation which will hurt so many.

Please veto SF 496, a bill that targets gay and trans Iowans by excluding discussions about gay and trans issues in schools. I did not realize Iowa had become so anti-gay and trans which now includes bans on numerous targeted books. Is this to keep Iowa’s students in the dark about the diversity of Iowans and the rest of the world? This bill forces outing trans youth and bans discussions about HPV and HIV in schools, discussions which are important to help protect the health and well-being of Iowa’s youth.

Please veto SF 542, which loosens child labor laws. The argument of helping youth decide on career fields is a smoke screen at best, especially since waivers can be provided to allow children to work in extremely dangerous jobs, not to mention working longer and later hours during the school year. However, since legislation has been introduced to dumb down graduation requirements, perhaps this isn’t really important. None of this may matter because a letter from U.S. Department of Labor staff indicates Iowa’s relaxed child labor law does not comply with federal law.

Finally, do not forget the budget eliminating $500,000 from the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, which awards grants for research focused on reducing nutrient loss and water pollution. The bill also ends a current requirement for the research center based at Iowa State University to collaborate with Iowa’s other two public universities. It seems spending $500,000 to monitor Iowa’s many polluted waters is a drop in the bucket, which is very well spent. Voluntary efforts to clean up Iowa’s waters are not working. Unfortunately, defunding this project is just another win for Big Ag donors. Yes, “Keep Iowa Moving.” Come enjoy our polluted rivers and lakes.

I am not certain how any of the provisions in these bills will make Iowa the best place in America to live, a promise you made in 2018 which you have clearly broken this year. Your vetoes could help you keep the promises you made in 2018, especially since I am writing to you as a grandmother who actually cares about Iowa and Iowans and really wants to make our state a better place to live.

Diane M. Duncan-Goldsmith