By State Rep. Lance Horbach
A couple of people have contacted me asking why legislators are worried about saving family-owned Maid-Rites, like the one in Marshalltown or Toledo, while the State of Iowa is broke and 110,000 people are out of work?You deserve an answer!
Several years ago, the government prohibited the typical Maid-Rite cooking process, citing cross-contamination safety issues. From the onset of this new regulation, Iowa's Department of Inspection & Appeals (DIA) Director granted a waiver to these loose meat cooking methods, which allowed these Maid-Rite facilities to maintain current operations.
A little more than a year ago, someone influenced the NEW DIA Director to reverse the grandfather clause for these Maid-Rites. The Maid-Rite in Marshalltown is appealing this decision. While lobbying with the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce, Taylor's Maid-Rite served maid-rites at the capitol. In their sack lunch was a letter explaining their situation.
Immediately after this issue was brought to the attention of legislators, the Department of Inspections & Appeals issued a letter to Taylor's attorney. This letter stated that Taylor's Maid-Rite needed to retract the letter and "decline to comment further publicly until the decision in this matter is final".
Did you read that clearly? This is a letter from a "regulatory" government agency telling an Iowa citizen not to tell people about this government action. Not only that, this letter was drafted because these citizens talked to legislators. One could infer that the DIA now thinks they can tell citizens who and when they can talk to their elected officials!
So why am I working on this during my free time, instead of devoting every minute to the budget or jobs bills? Because I drop everything, I mean everything, when I see any government agency abusing their power to go after ANY individual citizen! The DIA is charged with the responsibility for regulating food safety, which needs to be recognized and respected. HOWEVER, they do not have the right to eliminate citizens' right to free speech, and they don't have the authority to determine if citizens can talk publicly or privately about pending government decisions.
Sometimes I push the red "NO" button to get the point across. Sometimes I push the green "YES" button, but this abuse of power has both hands off the voting machine and grabbing for the reins on an out of control government agency.
That's why I'm involved.