Reflection on the 2020 legislative session

Eric Giddens is a Democrat representing Iowa Senate District 30. -promoted by Laura Belin

At the end of my first full session as state senator representing Cedar Falls, Hudson, and southwest Waterloo, here’s my report on selected highlights of this year’s session: three good decisions, three bad decisions, and three decisions put off until next year.

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Iowa OSHA visits two more meatpackers; other plants cleared with no inspection

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) staff conducted on-site inspections of two more Iowa meatpacking plants this week, the Iowa Division of Labor confirmed to Bleeding Heartland on June 2.

Documents provided the following day show regulators closed at least four coronavirus-related complaints against Iowa pork processors with no inspection.

Inspectors toured the Tyson Foods turkey plant in Storm Lake and the Perdue Premium pork facility in Sioux Center on June 1. Both site visits stemmed from “media referrals” rather than complaints, meaning officials acted on unspecified news reports or information relayed to OSHA by a journalistic source.

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Lies, lies, and damned lies

Marty Ryan is skeptical that meatpacking companies are doing everything possible to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, based on two decades of experience in that business. -promoted by Laura Belin

Anyone believing that spokespersons for Iowa packing plants are doing what they say they are should talk to the employees. However, if you get two different stories, and if you want to decide who is telling the truth, place about 80 percent of the truth on the side of the worker.

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Return of the gladiators

Former sports editor Ira Lacher argues that the “game” of professional football “is becoming more of a troubling spectacle.” -promoted by Laura Belin

It starts again soon. This week, the smack of rock-hard plastic on far softer bone and tissue signals the onset of yet another professional football season. For tens of millions of Americans, it is the culmination of a seven-month foreplay of offseason news, tryout camps, the college draft, the preseason and, finally, at 7:20 P.M. Eastern time, Packers vs. Bears, the start of a five-month orgiastic swoon.

Professional football perfectly defines what most of us believe America is: a society constrained by the norms of civilization and polity but with a savage undertow, which flows for 21 weeks a year, from September through February.

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On fan safety, baseball strikes out

After another foul ball causes a serious injury, Ira Lacher reflects on Major League Baseball’s failure to insist on more protective netting at ballparks. -promoted by Laura Belin

“The holder of this ticket assumes all risks and danger incidental to the game of baseball…”

This disclaimer, or a variation of it, is known as the Baseball Rule. It is printed on every ticket to all major-league and most minor-league baseball contests. It is intended primarily as legal protection for the ballclubs, an agreement that if a fan is injured by a thrown bat or thrown or batted ball, they can’t sue the club for damages. It’s classic buyer beware, and it has governed attendance at baseball games for generations.

But that era may be entering the late innings.

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Iowa House approves bill to let kids hunt with handguns

Children supervised by a responsible adult would be able to hunt deer with a “pistol or revolver” under a bill the Iowa House approved on March 20, mostly along party lines.

House members rejected a Democratic effort to restore language that had gained bipartisan support in committee and would have required minors to complete a hunter education course before using such weapons for hunting.

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