Larry Hodgden of Tipton is among a group of writer’s who provide an alternative voice to Rep. Kaufmann’s column is the small town papers around Iowa City. He has graciously consented to allow me to republish these letters. Thank you Larry.
Crunch time in the Legislature
A number of bills have survived what’s called the funnel at the Iowa Legislature in Des Moines, only a few of which deserve debate. First a comment on one that didn’t survive and that was the attempt to prohibit public/private college boards from restricting weapons on campus. Now let us get this straight. First the law for County Sheriffs to issue gun carrying permits was changed from “may issue to shall issue” over their objection. Then the legislature voted to end the levy for mental health needs in each county in favor of a “regional plan”, however that might work. Regardless mental health care is underfunded and that is undisputed. And now a bill has been introduced in the legislature to force colleges to allow guns to be carried on campus. Someone needs to stop and think about the insanity of this deadly combination.
Campus shootings grab big headlines mostly because they are so rare. The numbers show .07 murders per 100,000 on campus while nationally it is 14.1 murders per 100,000 of young people aged 17-29. Misguided legislation like this will not make campuses safer and is bound to end badly. This legislation will likely be re-introduced next year so ask your legislative candidates how they stand.
The move to reduce commercial property tax is still alive and morphing as we write this. Now ask anyone if they like tax reductions and you’re sure to get an affirmative answer. A recent poll taken of 800 voters when asked about tax cuts resulted in 32% wanting income tax cuts, 23% wanted residential property taxes cut, 13% wanted corporate income tax cut and only 12% wanted commercial property taxes cut. Once again Iowans seem to be way out ahead of the legislators. And for good reason as they know when the Republicans start talking tax cuts, especially for their wealthy friends, they, the average Iowan, end up paying the difference. Do you really want to cut property taxes for Wal Mart and end up paying more in property tax, sales and income taxes to make up the difference? Watch your legislative candidates to see where they stand on this issue.
Why is it that men think they have the right to limit the choices women have when it comes to their bodies. And usually the excuse given is defending religious freedom. No one is denying anyone’s right to practice any religion they want, even when that religion would deny women access to medical and contraceptive care. That is what freedom of religion is all about. So I can choose a religion which supports women’s freedom of choice when it comes to their health, their bodies and their partners. And you can choose a religion which wants to prohibit those choices.
We can also choose a government which wants to protect the right of women to have access to health care and reproductive choices. One that recognizes and respects women as equals in the workplace and the military and does not make women into second class citizens when it comes to choosing a life partner. Or you can choose, or let others choose, a government which demeans women and threatens every right we have fought for and won. The choice is yours.
Women appear to have made a choice as 98% of Catholic women and 99% of all women use or have used contraceptives, often as a medical necessity. And most men support this choice and indeed even benefit from it. It’s a well known fact that contraceptives have prevented more abortions resulting from unwanted pregnancies than all the religious attacks on women’s choice ever could hope to.