Iowa legislative forums answer community member questions

KANAWHA, Iowa – State Representative Henry Rayhons and Senator Dennis Guth of Hancock county took a day to travel the area and listen to any concerns or comments from the community after funnel week came to a close – which is when the legislature narrows down the bills they’re considering.

At this forum, one main topic is abortion. The legislature is considering a ban on “telemed abortion” pills. Doctors are dispersing abortion telemedications via Skype and other video conferencing avenues.

Under this legislation, that is not allowed and expectant mothers would have to sit face to face with a doctor.

“So far, the bill has passed in the House, this is something that the medical profession actually tried to ban last year and decided that they weren’t going to let them do that and so this is coming back legislation to make it stick but it’s got to get through the Senate before it’s actually going to work,” says Sen. Guth.

The ban will largely affect Planned Parenthood of the Heartland which uses this type of prescribing method regularly.

Community members also brought up the state’s emerald ash borer problem, wondering if there is any way to kill the destructive bug which is known to destroy ash trees. According to Rep. Rayhons, it would be very expensive to treat all of the affected trees, “In the meetings the questions were asked, well can’t you kill those bugs? And yes, we can do it but it’s very expensive and they have to treat the trees every two years.”

In February, the bug was found in two more Iowa counties. Anyone who sees a suspicious tree should report it to officials.

Another topic discussed at the forum was a bill requiring increased penalties for kidnapping cases. This is inspired by the mother of kidnapping and murder victim, Kathlynn Shepard. The bill would increase criminal penalties for those who are convicted of kidnapping.

The legislation passed in the Senate will now go to the House and vice versa.

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