Iowa State Capitol December 2014House Joint Resolution 8 applying for an Article V Convention of States to propose amendments to the Constitution that would impose fiscal restraints, and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government passed the in the Iowa House recently. Numerous bills were debated and passed, while others that would have grown government were stopped. We highlight the important action happening on your behalf in this week’s Freedom Watch.

I have spoken before about the need for a Convention of States, with a narrowly defined mandate to stop out-of control federal spending and excessive government intrusion. The national debt stands at $18.15 trillion, $154,000 per taxpayer in the United States, placing our republic on an unsustainable path that will lead to fiscal disaster in the years ahead. As Washington continues to borrow from the next generation, federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency announce their intent to further regulate the lives of Americans, diminishing private property rights, liberty and economic opportunity.  The extent of the danger to liberty can clearly be seen in recent EPA pronouncements that they are considering regulating backyard grills out of concern for the particulate matter released into the air by Americans cooking hamburgers and steaks in the backyard.

The current irresponsible use of power by the federal government is why our Founding Fathers wisely placed methods in our Constitution by which states could place restraint on federal power.  One such method is a Convention of States. A little over a week ago, the Iowa House passed a resolution that calls for a Convention of States to propose an amendment “to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit the federal government’s power and jurisdiction.” A number of states are considering such action, and if such a convention is convened, numerous safeguards would be in place to ensure the convention stays within the narrow scope of its mandate. Ultimately, any action to amend the Constitution and reign in the federal government would require ratification by ¾ of the states, ensuring that the American people make the final decision. I have pledged to do all I can to push back against out-of-control government that poses a threat to our freedom and economic vitality. The Convention of States is a good first step in that direction. I am proud that House Republicans spoke boldly to Washington D.C., expressing our intent with House Joint Resolution 8 to reclaim State Sovereignty, confront the federal debt and regulatory crisis, and stop the federal takeover of decision making. For more information, or to get involved in this important effort, go to selfgovern.com.

In other action, the State House passed the Synthetic Drug bill, a bipartisan effort to stop these dangerous drugs that are a growing threat to public safety. This bill increases penalties, centralizes synthetic drugs into one area of the code for easier enforcement, adds several chemical compounds to the list of controlled substances, creates greater flexibility in keeping these deadly chemicals on the controlled substance list and allows for prosecution through the use of consumer protection laws. This bill received strong support from both Democrats and Republicans and will help make our communities safer.

House File 577 creates an apprentice hunter designation to allow citizens to try hunting a few times with licensed hunter supervision, without first having to get a license. This bill also passed with strong bipartisan support.

Senate File 227 relates to school start date. A compromise was reached between the Governor, the legislature and interested parties to change the start date to no earlier than August 23rd. This compromise was found to be acceptable by most parties involved in the discussion, and will likely be passed in the Senate and signed by the Governor.

Success in the legislature can often be measured by what is prevented. Republicans in the House stopped a bill on March 24th that would have greatly expanded the size of a panel overseeing a large government agency. When a satisfactory answer could not be provided as to why this expansion was necessary, I joined with several other Republicans in successfully stopping this unneeded growth in government.  A victory for Smaller, Smarter Government in this week’s Freedom Watch.

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