August 29, 2019
Greeting to you all,
Monday, September 2nd is the 125th anniversary of Labor Day being celebrated as a national holiday. While most will celebrate by attending one last barbeque or taking a camping trip, we should take a moment to thank the workers who make our nation so great. The women and men who work hard every day in our factories, our hospitals, our restaurants, our cities, our schools, and everywhere else that a service or product is produced or sold.
It’s also important to remember the benefits secured by the labor movement that we all enjoy today. That includes better wages, the 40 hour work week, weekends, safe working conditions, health care, and compensation for workers injured on the job. While we’ve made progress improving the lives of workers over the years, we should also recognize the challenges our workforce faces today. Too many hard working Iowans make such a low wage that they can’t support their family. Despite recent attacks on worker’s rights, the labor movement works everyday to improve the lives of hard working Iowans.
Iowa farmers are pushing back against President Trump this week after he personally intervened to support big oil companies instead of biofuels made in Iowa. Trump forced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant 31 new waivers, called small refinery exemptions (SRE), and ignore the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) blending requirements already in law. The new waivers will reduce demand for corn and farmers will have $363 million less in their pockets. Trump’s move has also forced ethanol producers to scale back production and some Iowans will lose their jobs.
While President Trump claimed to support farmers and ethanol in a trip to Iowa earlier this summer, he’s now granted three times the SRE’s than were approved under the Obama Administration, dropping demand for corn by 1.4 billion bushels. With ongoing trade wars already reducing demand for crops, the latest move by the Trump Administration has Iowans deeply concerned about the future of rural Iowa.
I visited the Tall Grass Prairie Center (TGPC) at UNI today. The mission of the TGPC is restoring native vegetation for the benefit of society and the environment, with research, education and technology. The primary programs of the Center are Research and Restoration, Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM), Plant Materials, and Prairie on Farms. It’s a beautiful place to see the Iowa native prairie and the wildlife that depends on the prairie. The numbers of monarch butterflies was amazing. Beautiful place!
As always, the Iowa Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.iowa.gov, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can now listen to or watch our debates live, when we are in session. I currently serve on five committees for this session: Commerce, Local Government, Public Safety, Environmental Protection, and the Economic Development Budget Sub Committee.
Please check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts and forums, you can also reach me by email anytime or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I appreciate hearing from you and I thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Statehouse News. Please keep in touch and enjoy the weather!
Upcoming Community Events
30 Friday’Loo – Wicked Liz & the Bellyswirls — Classic Car Night RiverLoop Expo Plaza, 5:30pm, 291-2038
31 Football Game Watch Party: UNI vs. Iowa State Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500
9/2 Labor Day Encore Concert Overman Park, 7pm, 266-1253
9/4 Cedar Valley Hospitality Partners Meeting Barn Happy, 8:30am, 268-4266
9/4 3 Heath Brothers Riverview Conference Center, 7pm, 268-0787
9/5 Bodies Of… Strayer-Wood Theatre, UNI Campus, 7:30pm, 273-6381
9/6 Friday’Loo – Tim & The Truetones — City Employee Appreciation Night RiverLoop Expo Plaza, 5:30pm, 291-2038
9/6 UNI Volleyball vs Creighton McLeod Center, 7:30pm, 273-4849
9/7 Scott Sterrett Memorial Half Marathon Overman Park, 7:30am, 231-2441
9/7 ARTapalooza Cedar Falls Downtown District, 9am, 277-0213
9/7 UNI Volleyball vs University of Southern California McLeod Center, 10:30am, 273-4849
9/7 UNI Football vs Southern Utah UNI-Dome, 4pm, 273-4849
9/7 UNI Volleyball vs University of Kentucky McLeod Center, 7:30pm, 273-4849
9/8 Stone Soul Picnic Gateway Park, 12:30pm, 277-0213
9/12 Bill Engvall *GBPAC, 7pm, 273-7469
9/12 Jazz, Folk & the Blues: History of Music – Folk Music Grows Up Hearst Center, 7pm, 273-864
|News from the Statehouse|
Students Paying Higher Tuition this Fall
After another year of low funding from the Iowa Legislature, students and families will be paying more this fall to attend one of Iowa’s state universities or community colleges.
The Regents requested a $7 million increase for Iowa State University (ISU) and the University of Iowa (U of I), and the University of North Iowa (UNI) requested $4 million ($18 million total). Due to budget cuts by GOP leaders over the previous years, even at that amount the Regents indicated that tuition for UI and ISU would go up 3% and UNI’s tuition would remain flat.
After the Legislature approved the budget, all institutions received a mere $4 million increase. This has resulted in an increase to undergraduate in-state tuition by 3.7% and 1.1% for out-of-state students at the U of I. ISU will have a 3.7% increase for in-state undergraduates and a 4.8% increase for out-of-state students. And UNI will have no tuition increase.
UNI has indicated that their tuition freeze will keep them competitive with their peer institutions, but will result in a cut of course sections, increased class sizes, faculty reductions, and a decrease in student financial aid by $1.2 million. UNI is planning on a five-year tuition freeze.
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Iowa State University (ISU) are also facing a decrease in student enrollment this fall. The University of Iowa (U of I) predicts an increase in the number of students and even being over capacity for housing by about 100 students. Last year, there was an overall drop of 2.8% to 77,860 students combined at the three universities.
Community Colleges Increase Tuition
Meanwhile, community college students in Iowa will also see their tuition go up for the upcoming school year. Since low state funding has not kept up with inflation and rising costs, the average tuition at Iowa’s community colleges will increase by 3.4% for in-state students. The highest increase will be Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge at 8.2%.
An increase in tuition could lead to more Iowa students looking at out-of-state schools in bordering states that offer lower tuition for Iowa students. Last year, enrollment at Iowa’s 15 community colleges was 131,144.
Rising Costs, Reductions in Reproductive Health Care
A new federal rule means thousands of Iowa women and families will be facing higher costs for their reproductive health care, including cancer screenings.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced a new “gag” rule that prohibits any entity receiving Title X federal funding from discussing abortion. Currently, Title X funding goes towards access to birth control, cervical cancer screenings, and treatment for STDs.
In Iowa, Planned Parenthood received around $1 million from these funds every year to offset costs of providing routine reproductive health care to over 13,800 patients. Because of this rule, Planned Parenthood, one of Iowa’s largest reproductive health providers, will no longer receive this federal funding.
The federal change will have severe consequences for Iowa, where there was a 73% decline in family planning services from 2017 to 2018. That drop came after Republicans in the Iowa Legislature decided to decline $3 million in federal funding to create their own state family program, which today is leaving women with far less access to healthcare services.
Last session, Republican lawmakers changed Iowa law to prohibit certain providers, like Planned Parenthood, from providing age-appropriate, medically accurate information on human growth and development to young people. Studies show the key to preventing teen pregnancy and reducing the rates of STDs is the access to reproductive health services, as well as age-appropriate and medically accurate information.
This comes at a time when access to OB-GYN healthcare in Iowa is drastically low, and there has been an increase in maternal mortality rates. In 2018 alone, eight labor and delivery units have closed across the state and in the past three years, maternal mortality has more than doubled.
Iowa is also facing sharp increases in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. The rates of gonorrhea have increased in Iowa by 145% from four years ago.
|Read More News from the Statehouse|
125th Anniversary of Labor Day
Trump Renewable Fuel Waivers Hitting Farmers and Ag Economy Hard
State Retirement Plans Provide Economic Benefits to Iowa
Emerald Ash Borer Continues to Spread in Iowa