Oskaloosa.com

Local News

March 22, 2014

Bullying, fireworks discussed at Eggs & Issues

OSKALOOSA —

Bullying and fireworks were some of the issues that lawmakers addressed during the final Eggs & Issues legislative forum Saturday.

Republican state Sen. Ken Rozenboom and Republican state Reps. Guy Vander Linden and Larry Sheets were on hand to field questions from the audience.

A question was raised about a bill dealing with bullying that is under consideration — will cyber bullying be dealt with.

Rozenboom said there is language that will deal with technology and bullying. Rozenboom thought that there are nebulous provisions in the bullying bill. He did not like the requirement for school officials to investigate after-hours, off-campus incidents. Rozenboom said minimizing parents' role in bullying investigations is a mistake.

“Parents need to be part of the process early on,” Rozenboom said.

“We recognize there are a lot of problems” with the bill, Sheets said. There are several 1st Amendment issues to be handled, he added.

Sheets also said there have been 17 amendments to the bullying bill filed.

“Even the ACLU has problems with the bill,” he said.

The legalization of fireworks was another issue that sparked some debate.

“It's kind of a tough one,” Rozenboom said.

The prohibition of the sale of fireworks in Iowa stems from fires during the 1930s that were caused by fireworks. Rozenboom said those fires were caused by sparklers — which are currently legal in the state.

“I'd vote for it” when a fireworks legalization bill comes up, Rozenboom said. “It's OK to look at it again.”

Vander Linden said the current bill would prohibit almost nothing. Also, there would be no new taxes on fireworks except for sales taxes.

“I really look to hear from people about this,” Vander Linden said. “I'm concerned about the safety aspect.”

Sheets said he would have problems with fireworks such as cherry bombs. If the bill dealt with only firecrackers, he'd be OK with it.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com

 

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