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Jun 28

Freedom Versus Liberty

Life in the Legislature
Representative Kristi Hager
House District 56

FREEDOM Versus LIBERTY

July 4th, 1776, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and 241 years later we still celebrate this historic day. I recall the closing comments on SF 489, our Fireworks Bill, given by Rep. Windschitl who spoke of the 4th of July as Freedom, Family Fun and Fireworks. He said the three just go together!

However, to our Founding Fathers, they placed greater value upon Liberty than on Freedom. Thomas Jefferson described liberty in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote that “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Liberty, second only to life, is a right endowed by the Creator. It is a part of you, just as are your mind, will, emotions, and spirit. It cannot be revoked. Liberty provided for the protection of an individual’s rights. Freedom is something a government grants and by majority rule can vote someone else’s freedom out of existence; liberty is something we own that a government cannot take away. This is why the American Founders established a constitutional republic and not a democracy. Our constitutional republic is a representative form of government where the authority is not to rest with the elected representatives, but rather the Constitution to which they are subject. Or in the words found in the Jaycee Creed, “Government should be of laws rather than of men.”

Maybe Liberty, Laughter/Lunch, and a Light Show could more aptly describe this upcoming 4th of July celebration

The Fireworks Bill was signed into law in May legalizing the sale and use of consumer fireworks/novelties. As with any legislation of this sort, personal responsibility is a must! Important things related to this new legislation: Sales would be allowed from June 1 or June 13 (depending on the structure) through July 8th and December 10 through January 3rd each year. The time allowed for usage of fireworks is restricted between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. except on July 4th and the Saturday and Sunday hours extended to 11:00 p.m.

The board of supervisors or city council may prohibit or limit the used of consumer fireworks if they determine that the use constitutes a threat to public safety, private property, or if it would be a nuisance to neighboring landowners. Fireworks may only be sold or purchased by a person eighteen years and older.

A listing of some bills going into effect July 1:

HF565: School District Flexibility Fund, allows for transfer of unused funds from various sources into a “flex” fund to be used to enhance local programs and educational opportunities

SF 234: Texting and Driving, becomes a primary offense allowing an officer to stop or detain solely for texting with the exception of ability to use phone for GPS. Fine is $30.

SF444: 24/7 Sobriety and Distracted Driving, makes our roads safer by addressing impaired driving.

HF296: Synthetic Drugs, makes it easier to prosecute those who create and sell synthetic drugs

HF410: Palmer Amaranth, places this plan on the noxious weed list and prohibits the import, sale or distribution in Iowa. This plant crowds out soybeans, corn, and cotton.

And of course, HF464, Crossing of State Highways by ATV/UTV’s.

A more detailed list of laws can be found at www.iowahouserepublicans.com

Please feel free to contact me at kristi.hager@legis.iowa.gov or call 563-568-1084.

Have a safe and fun 4th,

Kristi

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