Newsletter | March 18, 2021

To the People of House District 54

Week 10 of the 2021 Legislative Session was a big week of debate! To give you an idea of how long our debates were, this week we passed six bills and last week we passed 67. Floor debate was spirited on bills such as Divisive Concepts (Critical Race Theory) and Second Amendment rights. Bills that passed through the House were messaged to the Senate for the senators’ consideration.

Also this week, bills that passed through the Senate were messaged to the House. Now these bills will work their way through the committee process in the House. One such bill that I have been assigned to chair in subcommittee is Senate File 356. This bill limits civil liability for people involved with agricultural tourism.

This week action was taken on another bill of interest to North Iowans. House File (HF) 787 is the Butchery Innovation bill introduced by my good friend and colleague Rep. Chad Ingels. This bill was passed March 16 by a subcommittee assigned through the Economic Development Budget Subcommittee. I hope to see it pass through the full budget sub soon.

House File 787 creates a fund to provide financial assistance – grants, low-interest loans and forgivable loans – to expand or refurbish a small-scale meat processing business, licensed custom locker, or mobile slaughter unit. This bill also creates a task force to explore the feasibility of establishing an artisanal butchery program at a community college or a Regents institution.

Now onto some of the issues that made headlines this week

Free Speech

Protecting free speech on Iowa’s campuses and in our K-12 schools has been a top priority for House Republicans across many different committees this session. A school’s role is to educate, not indoctrinate students into a certain political ideology. That’s why this week the House passed HF 744 to prohibit faculty and staff from intentionally violating the free speech of students and allowing disciplinary measures if violations occur. It also requires free speech training at all Regent universities for students and faculty.

Divisive Concepts (Critical Race Theory)

Divisive concepts further divide our nation by teaching people to hate our nation and stifling the speech of anyone who disagrees. Critical Race Theory teaches to label, stereotype, and demonize people based on their race, gender, or sexual identity, rather than to judge people on the content of their character. That’s why this week the Iowa House passed HF 802.


Firearms Manufacturer Immunity

Firearms are neither good nor evil. Guns can be used for good or evil, but it is the responsibility of the person holding the gun. House File 621 reestablishes that the responsibility for heinous acts relies solely on the perpetrator of the act, not on the manufacturer of the firearm or ammunition. However, manufacturers would still be able to be held accountable for defective firearms or ammunition.


Constitutional Carry

The right to keep and bear arms is a right, not a privilege, granted through the Second Amendment. House File 756, called the 2nd Amendment Omnibus Bill, passed the House after 11 P.M. last night. This bill does not eliminate background checks as many are being misled to believe. This bill may actually increase the amount and frequency of background checks on gun purchases.

Here’s how the process works right now if I purchase a gun from a licensed dealer:

  • I get a permit, which requires a background check, and that permit is good for five years.
  • Anytime I purchase a gun in those five years, I show my permit.
  • If I commit a crime that would make me unable to pass a background check one year after getting my permit, I can purchase guns for four more years. Because I have a permit, no background check is required on my purchase.

Here’s how the process would work under the bill:

  • I could still get a permit if I choose. If I don’t, I go through a background check every single time I purchase a gun.

Here’s how the process works now when purchasing a gun through a private sale:

  • The seller asks to see my permit.
  • I flash the seller my permit. The seller doesn’t know if that permit is still valid. Doesn’t know if I’ve done anything to render me incapable of passing a background check since being issued the permit.
  • If the seller sells the firearm without asking to see my permit, it is an aggravated misdemeanor for both the seller and me. It is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine between $625 to $6,250.
  • If it is determined that the seller knew or reasonably should’ve known that I am prohibited from buying a firearm, he/she is issued a class D felony.

Here’s how the process would work under this bill:

  • The seller MUST KNOW that I am not prohibited from purchasing a firearm. If the seller does not know me well enough to be sure, he/she can visit a licensed dealer to run a background check on me.
  • If I am caught with a firearm that I should not have, it will be traced back to the seller. The seller will be subject to a Class D Felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison plus a fine of at least $750 but not more than $7,500. The seller also will lose his/her right to carry or purchase a firearm.

CONCLUSION: Sellers will not want to take this huge risk, so more background checks will occur on private sales under this bill.


Stay in Touch


It was a pleasure this week to welcome Larry Sailer of Iowa Falls. Larry spoke with me and Speaker Grassley about mental health, property tax relief, and property easements.

Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns about bills and issues. You’re welcome to send an email to or message me on my political Facebook page (@ShannonLathamIA). 

“Front Row News” is distributed to local newspapers and interested constituents at the end of each week throughout the legislative session. “Looking Ahead with Latham” is a video update posted each Monday on my political Facebook page.



Rep. Shannon Latham 
Iowa House District 54

You’re always welcome to contact me about issues that are of interest to you. Feel free to send me a message via my political Facebook page or my legislative email, which is

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