May 2, 2013

The Update Desk 5/2/13

One local, one bigger picture.  Let's do the local one first.

I had mentioned a couple of times (here and here) that there was a chance I could have an umbrella factory around the corner from our home.  Minutes were finally posted from the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting (one of Syracuse's moves in the right government transparency direction), and my neighbor's request was approved.  I'm hoping that his venture is successful and that he has the chance to expand further, as he intends.

Now, on to that bigger picture thing.  Sunday, I did a post on an Iowa legislator who was supportive of a move to reduce the salary of several Iowa Supreme Court justices by over 80% because he was unhappy that the Court had determined that the state's 'marriage-is-between-one-man-and-one-woman' law was unconstitutional and violated the equal protection laws.  

Tom Shaw
To me, this is a very scary road to be on, not only because the legislator, Republican Tom Shaw, pretends that this will help restore the balance of powers between the three branches of government, but because it does exactly the opposite of that. To pretend that penalizing judges that put forth decisions you don't like is 'balancing' is nothing short of bizarre.

Now, to his credit, Mr Shaw favors a constitutional amendment for Iowa declaring that a marriage is only between one man and one woman; as I pointed out in the earlier post, that's a reasonable response to the Court's decision. 

I looked at some of the other pieces of legislation Mr. Shaw supports.  In another government transparency step, Iowa lets me look at what's going on out there.  Here are a few of the bills that are on the agenda for Shaw. 

These first few are straight out of the GOP's national platform:
A bill for an act to prohibit the state and all political subdivisions from supporting or participating in any action relating to the United Nations Agenda 21 proposal to impose sustainable development principles and practices and state and local governments.
A bill for an act declaring the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act invalid, null and void, and of no effect in this state, providing penalties, and including effective date provisions.
Here's one sure to get support from veterans and their families:
A bill for an act prohibiting cities from enforcing certain parking-related ordinances against the owner of a vehicle bearing purple heart plates.  
And of course, as a good first-term Republican, he's got to get the NRA score up:
A bill for an act relating to the carrying of weapons on school grounds (in favor).
A bill for an act relating to firearms, including the ownership and manufacture of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition, providing for a penalty, and including effective date and applicability provisions. (This one includes a misdemeanor charge against anyone trying to enforce a federal gun law against a good Iowan, whether person or business)
He also offered this:
A resolution opposing the decision of the International Olympic Committee to end wrestling as an Olympic event. (This is Iowa, after all.)  
But my favorite one of all is this:
A bill for an act relating to the state individual income tax by modifying the personal exemption credit for dependents to include certain unborn children, increasing the amount of the credit and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions. 
Yes, you read that right.

Mr. Shaw is proposing that certain unborn Iowans should count as dependents for tax purposes, provided that the unborn dependent is of at least 12-weeks' gestation at the end of the tax year and has been under a physician's care since reaching the 12-week threshold. 

Can't you just picture this reality show? The Unborn Dependents, airing right after the Real Housewives of Cedar Rapids?  It'll be must-see TV for sure! 

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