February 14, 2020
Greetings to you all,
The fifth week of the legislative session has wrapped up. We are quickly approaching the second funnel. The deadline to pass non-budget legislation out of its committee assignment is the end of next week.
On Monday, I had the honor of welcoming Waterloo civil and human rights activist and the first female African American elected Waterloo City Council, Willie Mae Wright to the Iowa House of Representatives. Her dedication to serving the community is second to none. She has spent her time advocating for the equal treatment of East and West Waterloo and working with the Black Hawk-Bremer league of Women Voters. Her list of accomplishments and service is long and for more information about this outstanding citizen of the Cedar Valley, you can view my address here.
Reps. Kressig, Smith and Brown-Powers pose for picture with Willie Mae Wright and her family on Feb. 10 after her recognition before the House for her civil rights work.
On Tuesday, I met with Christine Kemp and Rob Marko-Franks about the People’s Community Health Clinic in Waterloo. Since it’s beginning in 1976, the People’s Community Health Clinic has been providing high quality, accessible health care to insured and uninsured citizens of the Cedar Valley.
L-R: Rob Marko-Franks, Christine Kemp and Rep. Kressig
I had the chance to meet with Sue Holm, Kristen Engelmann and Lon Kammeyer who were advocating for lower prescription costs with AARP. One of the best ways to increase the accessibility of healthcare is to make sure that everyone is able to afford the medication they are prescribed.
L-R: Rep. Kressig, Sue Holm, Lon Kammeyer and Kristen Engelmann
One of my highlights of the week was meeting with Nancy and her mother, Chris Espersen. They were here at the capitol to advocate for higher funding for our schools in Iowa. An increase in state supplemental funding would benefit all students especially English Language Learner students and students in poverty.
Representative Kressig meets with Nancy, a young student advocating for improved funding for Iowa schools with her mother.
As your Representative, I hope to reflect your interests and concerns in my work at the Capitol, so please reach out at any time. 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 listen to or watch our debates live.
Please check out other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts, forums, and Black Hawk County Representatives’ weekly video update, you can also reach me by email 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!
13-15 Northern Festival of Bands, *GPAC, 273-2024
14 Lunchtime Concert – UNI Percussion, Hearst Center for the Arts, noon, 273-8641
14 Northern Iowa Bach Cantata Series Performance, *GPAC, 12:15pm, 273-2024
14 UNI Wrestling vs West Virginia, UNI West Gym, 7pm, 273-4849
14 Black Hawks Hockey vs Cedar Rapids, Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291- 7680
14-16 Eastern Iowa Home & Landscaping Show, Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, Fri 3pm; Sat 10am; Sun 11am, 232- 0218
14-16 Glitter Girls, Oster Regent Theatre, Fri & Sat 7:30pm; Sun 2pm, 277-5283
15 Winter Warrior Duathlon, Eagle Lodge, 12pm, 277-2187
15 wcfsymphony concert: Sibling Revelry, Brown Derby Club, 4pm & 7pm, 273-3373
20 Exhibit Open House, Victorian Home & Carriage House Museum, 4pm, 266-5149
20 UNI Women’s Basketball vs Illinois State, McLeod Center, 6:30pm, 273-4849
School Funding Bill Delayed, Conflicts with Senate
House and Senate lawmakers have yet to resolve their differences on school funding for the upcoming school year. During debate on Tuesday, House Democrats offered a plan this week to invest $133 million in public schools next year, but majority party lawmakers want to provide less.
School leaders across the state have said low state funding over the last decade isn’t keeping up with rising costs and hampers their ability to train the next generation of Iowa workers. The proposals offered by majority party lawmakers does not keep pace with rising costs at schools and will lead to more school closings, higher class sizes, and fewer opportunities for students.
Iowans have always had great pride in our public schools. However, the state’s new investment in public schools has been the lowest in Iowa history over the last decade leading to the closure of 126 schools in Iowa. The low funding means public schools have been forced to increase class sizes and raise property taxes to make up for the shortfall in state funding.
House majority party lawmakers prefer a 2.5% increase in basic funding for schools while Senate majority party lawmakers want just 2.1%. The bill, Senate File 2142, is now back in the Iowa Senate as lawmakers try to resolve their differences.
By state law, the Legislature is required to enact school funding within 30 days to give school districts the time and ability to meet their required schedules for their budget decisions. The leaders of the current House and Senate will not be able to deliver school funding on-time this year as per the law.
Iowa National Guard Members to be Deployed Overseas
The Iowa Army National Guard Ironman Battalion will soon be deployed for Operation Spartan Shield, a United States Department of Defense operation in the Middle East. This Operation encompasses 27 countries including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Qatar. Around 550 soldiers from armories in Charles City, Davenport, Dubuque, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Oelwein, and Waterloo are included in the deployment. The primary mission for this group will be area security and force protection operations.
This is just the first wave of deployments, and by this time next year, Major General Corell indicates the Iowa National Guard will have more than 2,000 soldiers, nearly 30% of its force structure, deployed overseas serving in such locations as Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This is largest number of Iowa personnel deployed since 2011. These mobilizations are expected to begin in May, and will be completed by early next year.
As Major General Corell stated in his Condition of the Guard speech, the Iowa National Guard is strong and ready to rise to any challenge the nation or state faces in the future.
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