This week in Iowa politics | Hinson appointed bipartisan committee investigating China’s influence in the U.S.

Iowa lawmakers had a busy week at the capitol. Here’s our breakdown of a few of the highlights from this week.


Ayrton Breckenridge

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, speaks to supporters during a watch party for the 2022 Iowa midterm elections at Spare Time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Hinson is up for reelection for her seat in the house against state Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha. Because of redistricting, Hinson is now battling for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, previously she held the seat for the 1st Congressional District. Hinson announced her victory after Mathis conceded.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, was appointed to the Bipartisan Select Committee investigating competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party.

Hinson has raised concerns to Congress and the Department of Homeland Security about Chinese corporations owning U.S. farmland near military bases and other strategic interests.

“There is no larger threat to our economy, national and global security, and way of life than China,” Hinson said in a news release on Monday. “We must take on China — not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans — and I’m honored to serve on the bipartisan committee that will do so.”

Iowa AG Brenna Bird champions bill that would make dealing drugs that results in death a class B felony

Iowa’s newly elected Attorney General Brenna Bird, a Republican from rural Guthrie, introduced a bill that would make the illegal manufacturing or distribution of drugs that result in death a Class B felony.

Those convicted under the current proposal are charged with involuntary manslaughter as a Class D felony and are given up to 25 years in jail time.

Bird’s legislation has been recommended for passage by Iowa House and Senate panels studying the bill. The bill will move to consideration in front of the judiciary committee in each branch.

“We must stop overdose deaths and hold drug dealers accountable,” Bird said in a news release on Wednesday. “There is no safe illegal drug. This bill will toughen sentences, equip prosecutors for the war against dangerous drugs, and reduce drug-related deaths. I’m grateful the Governor and state legislature are committed to addressing this issue.”

Iowa House panel approves bill to require regent universities to report to the legislature on the terms taught in education programs

An Iowa House subcommittee recommended a bill requiring Iowa’s regent universities to report to the Iowa Legislature on terms used in teaching programs. The bill lists off terms that regent universities are required to report back to the legislature by Feb. 27 of this year.

The University of Iowa is required to report on the definition of terms and topics that range from “compulsory heterosexuality” to “cultural universals.”

During a subcommittee discussion on the bill, Rep. Thomas Moore, R-Griswold, said that Iowa’s fall in education ratings comes from overloading curriculums.

“I would attribute a lot of Iowa’s fall from number one to the amount of extra stuff that has been mandated by this legislature,” Moore said.

Rep. Monica Kurth, D-Davenport, said she doesn’t understand why the bill was proposed because the state already oversees teaching programs at the universities.

“I just have a concern that this bill is a witch hunt,” Kurth said.

The Iowa Department of Education and Board of Education evaluate teaching programs every seven years.