STATEHOUSE HUB

2018 LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

Water Quality

"Over 50% of Iowa’s waterways that have been tested have been found to be impaired, that's more than 750 impaired waterways. Iowa is the second-leading contributor to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Communities across this state struggle to provide safe drinking water to our citizens."  (R. Hogg) Yet Governor Reynolds wants to fast-track a water bill that does not require agricultural operations responsible for nitrates and phosphorus flowing into Iowa waterways to do anything. The bill does not set bench marks, solid goals, funding requirements or adequate oversight for achieving water quality objectives.

MORE INFORMATION:

Iowans deserve a watershed approach to water quality
~The Gazette, 1/15/18

Group’s poll shows support for sales tax increase to fund water quality projects
~Radio Iowa, , 1/11/18

2018 Iowa Legislative policy priorities
~Center for Rural Affairs, 1/9/18

Iowa: Now is the time to act on water quality
~Center for Rural Affairs,1/8/18

Iowa needs real action for water solutions
~Rob Hogg, guest columnist, The Gazette

TAKE ACTION:

Contact your state Representative or Senator and tell them you are OPPOSED to Senate File 512 because it  sets no goals. It establishes no watershed management governance  and does not target high-priority watersheds. After cutting millions from many water programs, Senate File 512 will spend up to $27 million a year for unspecified water projects beginning in 2021, with the funding coming from sources currently used for schools, local governments, and building infrastructure.  This is a bad and dishonest bill. Tell your legislator we want a water bill that is an honest, comprehensive and properly funded.

 

Attack on Separation of Church and State in Iowa

Republicans introduce Bill to allow Teaching of Elective Bible Courses in Public School

"Yesterday, a dozen Iowa legislators filed HF 2031, which, similar to the WV bill, would allow public schools to teach classes on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament in order for students to learn (among other things) of their influence on 'law, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values, and culture.'"

Information:

12 Iowa Republicans File Bill to Teach Elective Bible Courses in Public School
~Friendly Athiest, 1/18/18

Attack on Women's Health

"The personhood bill — which was two votes short of winning Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee approval last session —  would effectively ban abortions in Iowa."  ~The Des Moines Register

More Information:

Personhood bill on the agenda as abortion rights debate looms in Iowa Legislature
~The Des Moines Register, 1/4/18

 

Education Funding

The budget promises to be tight again in 2018, considering the legislature has to pay back the $135 million it borrowed from the surplus to make ends meet this year. Republicans will follow the law and set education funding in the first thirty days, but watch out for an increase that is even less than the 1.1% allocated this year. ~Karen Nichols, Iowans for Public Education

Vouchers

In Republican-speak, these are referred to as “education savings accounts.” This came up in 2017, but a tight budget prevented serious consideration. This is high on the Republican list and, if the budget allows, will be considered quickly in 2018. ~Karen Nichols, Iowans for Public Education

Attack on IPERS

Governor Branstad promised to form a committee to study the long-term viability of the plan, but that never materialized. However, Lt. Governor Reynolds has already been quoted as being in favor of a study and has discussed replacing the plan with some type of hybrid plan. ~Karen Nichols, Iowans for Public Education

More Information:

Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security
~Iowa Labor News, 1/17/18

Concerns around IPERS are justified
~Des Moines Register, 1/17/18

Attack on Collective Bargaining, Part II

​At this time no one can predict how the courts will rule on the lawsuits filed by AFSCME and ISEA. Of the two, the ISEA lawsuit appears to have the greater likelihood of success. If either, or both, succeed, will Republican lawmakers come back with a plan that goes after all public employee bargaining rights? ~Karen Nichols, Iowans for Public Education

Other Bad Bills to Watch

SF 270  An act relating to voluntary diversity plans under the state’s open enrollment law.

SF 2017 An act relating to education by modifying the duties and authority of certain state and local government entities.

SSB 3006 An act relating to the definition of dangerous weapons to include simulated firearms.

HJR 2001 A Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa relating to the abolishment of retention elections for supreme court justices.

HJR 2002 A Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa relating to the terms of supreme court justices.

HF 2036 An act relating to the salary of supreme court justices.

2018 IOWA LEGISLATURE FORUMS

Forums for Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fairfield Legislative Forum
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Best Western Fairfield Inn
2200 West Burlington Ave.
Legislators: Sen. Chelgren, Rep. Phil Miller, Rep. Dave Heaton, and Sen. Rich Taylor

Washington Legislative Forum
10:00 a.m. – Noon
Washington County Courthouse
224 W. Main St.
Legislators: Sen. Kinney, Sen. Taylor, Rep. Klein, Rep. Heaton

Davenport Legislative Forum
10:00 a.m. – Noon
St. Ambrose University
518 W. Locust
Legislators: Sen. Rita Hart, Rep. Jim Lykam, and others

Spencer Eggs & Issues
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Spencer City Hall Council Chamber
418 2nd Ave W
Area Legislators and State Auditor Mary Mosiman

Elk Horn Legislative Forum
10:00 a.m.
Marne & Elk Horn Telephone
4242 Main St.
Legislators: Sen. Jason Schultz and Rep. Steve Holt

Cedar Rapids Legislative Forum
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Mercy Medical Center
701 10th St SE

Arlington Legislative Forum
9:00 a.m.
Arlington Community Center
853 Main St.
Legislator: Sen. Michael Breitbach

Waukon Legislative Forum
11:00 a.m.
Waukon Farm Bureau
14 1st Ave NE
Legislator: Sen. Breitbach

Red Oak Legislative Forum
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
County Historical Center
2700 N 4th St.
Legislator: Sen. Costello

Glenwood Legislative Forum
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Glenwood City Hall
5 N Vine
Legislator: Sen. Costello

Mason City Listening Post
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Mason City Public Library
225 2nd St SE
Legislators: Sen. Ragan and Rep. Steckman

UPDATES FROM MIKE WEINARD

JAN 10, 2018

I have some suggestions for “lobbying legislators” at the Statehouse in Des Moines. Some info may be helpful for first-time visitors or for those who’ll only be at the Capitol one time this session. Other info may be more helpful for those who will be going there for repeat visits this session.

In general, the earlier in the day you arrive, the better. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming from a distance and then running out of time to make connections with a legislator.

Right outside of the House foyer & Senate foyer will be a small table with a supply of the visitor slip you need to fill out to request to see a legislator. House slip is yellow, Senate pink (see photos). I’ve found it helpful to grab a few slips & take them to a quiet spot to fill out (or take some home & fill out before you go to the capitol the next time). You won’t be welcome to grab 20 slips at a time, but if you take 3 or 4 and maybe get more later you can have a nice little supply on hand (I do–at home). Please PRINT when filling out a slip, it’s more legible! You need to list the legislator’s seat number. There are seating chart maps & photos of legislators in the foyer outside of the chamber. You can also find that info in the “Official Directory of the Legislature” (see photo) available at the info office on the ground floor. Either at the Capitol down on the ground floor or at home before traveling, I try to fill out slips ahead of time. To prep at home ahead of time, Chris & I have made up little photos of us individually or as a couple (see photo). We can fit a couple photos printed on Avery gummed labels. Then we affix photo to an open area on the slip. We’ve found that at each chamber the doorperson, page, legislator, or legislator’s clerk really appreciate knowing who they are looking for when they come back out to respond to you.

If to you want to maximize your chances of seeing a legislator it’s helpful to have an idea of the schedules. For MOST weeks of the session the House & Senate don’t convene in general session on Monday morning or Thursday afternoon. Also, every legislator is on some committees. Committee assignments are listed in the Official Directory and also online at www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/schedules

Daily committee meeting schedules/cancellations can be found at the above website, on a printed schedule available early a.m. by the info office on the ground floor, & sometimes on an easel outside of the chamber. If you wish, you can even get online and print out a weekly schedule for the House or Senate before you even leave home! It’s VERY helpful to know when a legislator is away from the chamber at a committee meeting–nothing worse than trying 3 times in a day to see that person and not making connections!

Final note about the “Official Directory of the Legislature” (see photo)–it is published every year and has a different color cover, is free to get a single copy, at the info office on ground floor, but maybe not available til a few weeks after the session opens. It is a gold mine of info, and last year’s does have a lot of info that carries over to this year.

LEGISLATURE NEWS

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2017 RECAP

IN 2017 WE LOST ON THESE BILLS

  • Right-wing Voter Suppression thru Voter ID
  • Unfunded Mandate on Local Officials to Enforce Immigration Laws –Sanctuary City Ban
  • Eliminate Permits to Acquire Firearms, Other Firearm Changes
  • Lower Local Minimum Wages, Block Local Civil Rights Ordinances
  • Make Planned Parenthood Ineligible for Medicaid Reimbursement
  • Gut Workers Compensation System
  • Lower Local Minimum Wages, Block Local Civil Rights Ordinances
  • Eliminate Permits to Acquire Firearms, Other Firearm Changes

THESE BILLS WERE STOPPED!

  • End Licensing For Occupations
  • Trying to Enforce Creationism in Iowa Schools
  • Allowing Firearms on Campus
  • Political Test for University Faculty
  • Life Begins at Conception
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