Rep. Linda Upmeyer announced Monday she will not run for re-election, leaving the position of speaker for Iowa’s House of Representatives open in 2020.
Since Republicans hold a majority in the House, the Republican caucus will choose the next speaker, who controls the flow of legislation. As House Republicans begin considering who should run and who to vote for, there are a few things the Iowa State Daily Editorial Board asks them to keep at the front of their minds:
The students of Iowa State need the Legislature to fund higher education.
Both the Board of Regents and Gov. Kim Reynolds asked the Iowa Legislature for higher post-secondary education funding levels than were passed. While the House’s funding bill was $3.9 million higher than the Senate’s final $12 million version, it still failed to meet the $18 million request from Iowa’s top Republican.
The Iowa Legislature needs to remember that students are the future, and failing students means failing Iowa. A new leader in the House who holds education in as high regard as they do could impact the lives of thousands of young people across the state and enable them to make our state and our world a better place.
If the Legislature doesn’t value students, students don’t have much reason to value their place in the state, either.
Education funding needs to become a priority in the next Legislative session for whoever is speaker. It isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a human issue. It affects all young Iowans in some form or another, and its impacts on the future of our state are immeasurable.
Beyond education, the safety of young people needs to be a priority.
Leaders from all of Iowa’s public institutions have called for a medical amnesty bill in Iowa — one of only 11 states not to have one. A medical amnesty bill would allow someone under the influence of an illegal substance — or a substance they are too young to consume — to seek medical help without fear of punishment.
Such bills have gone through the Legislature before, but this is an area where Iowa has fallen behind the nation, and it needs to be valued.
Safety, like education, is not a partisan issue. These topics need to be addressed in the upcoming legislative session, and whoever takes the role of speaker needs to keep them in mind.