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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community

April 5, 2019
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

In the Legislature

Week eleven finished in the Iowa Senate this week, leaving just over a month left until the scheduled end of the legislative session. Floor debate on a number of bills has continued as we work on legislation to send to the House for their consideration.

The Iowa Senate passed a bill this week that has come to the floor a few times over the years. Senate File 343 completely bans traffic enforcement cameras in Iowa starting in July of this year. It passed the Senate 30-19 and now goes to the House.

Article Photos

State Senator Jeff Edler
R-State Center

Senate File 523 equalizes the penalties for crimes committed against an unborn child with a crime committed against a born person. Significant misinformation was reported on this topic. To be clear this bill had nothing to do with accidents, contraception, or abortion. Simply put, if someone murders a pregnant woman and the baby dies, that person would now be charged with two class A felonies, not one.

The massive flooding across the state and the Iowans affected by it remains on the minds of members of the Iowa Legislature. Our hearts go out to all the communities that have been turned upside down by this disaster.

In response to the flooding, Governor Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation for over 50 counties in Iowa. This proclamation means residents can apply for the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program and the Disaster Case Management Program to assist with recovery. Federal assistance has also been granted for many of these counties due to a declaration from the president. You can learn more about federal disaster assistance and if you are eligible at

This week Marshall County was one of a number of counties added to the emergency disaster declaration.

Welfare Reform Debate Continues in the Senate

Taxpayers fund public assistance programs to support those people truly in need. It is incumbent upon policy makers to be vigilant in defending public assistance programs against fraud and waste. Iowans work hard, pay taxes, and live frugally. They expect the public safety net is in place for fellow citizens who actually require assistance. Iowans do not tolerate individuals defrauding them by abusing those programs.

Those principles led the Iowa Senate to debate its fourth major welfare reform policy on Thursday. Senate File 334, which was deferred Thursday until next week, requires the Iowa Department of Human Services to implement, or contract with a third party to implement, a real time eligibility verification system for recipients of Medicaid, the Family Investment Program, and food assistance. The bill requires the monitoring of eleven different eligibility requirements, among those criteria are immigration status, residency status, enrollment in other assistance programs, and death records. Real time verification of eligibility ensures oversight over the public assistance programs and provides accountability of those programs to the people funding the programs, Iowa taxpayers.

Sveral states have implemented similar programs including Colorado and Washington. This initiative is a common sense solution to ensure Iowa's public assistance programs exist for US citizens, Iowa residents, and people legitimately in need. It is the policy taxpayers expect and the policy they deserve.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. It is an honor to serve as your senator for District 36.



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