November 10th, 2021

Last year in the Iowa State Senate, I introduced two bipartisan bills that garnered unanimous support from  Senate colleagues, but were stopped in their tracks and never allowed to pass in the State House. Senate File 321, would have generated a massive increase in funds for Iowa veterans through safe investment directed by the Treasurer. Interest earned from the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund is used to fund many basic needs of Iowa veterans. Had this bill passed, the money invested would have yielded potentially millions of dollars more for Iowa veterans.

The second bill, Senate File 305, would have created a task force, replicating Nebraska’s successful model, to address the relevant and crucial issue of human trafficking. Currently the state of Iowa is woefully understaffed and unprepared to deal with the magnitude of this very real problem. Both bills were non-controversial, bipartisan supported bills that prioritized urgent needs in the state of Iowa. Despite this legislation having unanimous support in the Senate, both bills never made it to a full committee in the House of Representatives.   

When such bipartisan bills meet that kind of opposition, it begs a few questions that Iowans deserve answers to. What politics are at play in the Iowa State Legislature, and are special interests interfering with representing the needs of Iowans? Is Pat Grassley abusing his position as Speaker of the House by blocking legislation simply because it was authored by someone running against his grandfather, Chuck Grassley? Why was a bill that garnered unanimous support in the Senate blocked and kept from becoming law in the Iowa State House? 

If the content of these bills were not controversial, what was? Does the Speaker of the Iowa State House wield his position as a political weapon to benefit his family’s special interests? Tactics like this may succeed in punishing fellow lawmakers who don’t play along with his games, but at the end of the day, the interests of veterans and the victims of human trafficking are the one’s left to suffer. 


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