Bob Kressig Newsletter February 21, 2024

Greetings to you all!

These past couple of weeks have been busy as things start to ramp up! Week 7 marks the beginning of debate as we move forward with many bills on the calendar!

It’s been a busy week with so many amazing organizations coming to visit. Blank Children’s Hospital was one of them with many important issues to bring attention to. Representative Timi Brown-Powers and Senator Eric Giddens joined me to discuss the work they do to help support children and their families following physical and sexual abuse. I personally met with Katy Strub who works as the Director of the Allen Child Protection Center in Waterloo, which I am on the board of. They do some very important work around Iowa! These services are vital to so many children and their families, and I hope to see them continue to grow!

I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Experience Waterloo to talk about the changing policy regarding school start dates. It is hurting the community as summer workers go back to school leading to important landmarks such as pool and parks to close down early. I appreciate their comments and hope to see some better change in the future!

I also had the chance to meet with some inspiring young individuals from March For Our Lives Iowa. They spoke to me about the importance of gun safety, especially in our schools. Right now, Extreme Risk Protection Orders provide some opportunities to mitigate gun violence. These orders help to remove guns from highly stressful situations in order to prevent tragedies such as school shootings. Some other important topics include closing domestic abuse and misdemeanor loopholes and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. I’m so glad to have met these incredible young people and will keep these important topics in mind!

Going forward, I will be listening and working closely with local leaders and community members, to make sure the state is partnering with those in our community who need help and assistance. I’m available by email, phone, and social media, to answer questions and listen to your concerns. You can always reach me by email or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including FacebookTwitter, 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


Upcoming Community Events:

Feb 23 Imani Winds
Gallagher Bluedorn, 7pm  gbpac.com

Feb 23-24 New Music Festival
Gallagher Bluedorn, music.uni.edu

Feb 23-25 TheatreUNI: Heathers: The Musical
Strayer-Wood Theatre, Fri & Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm theatreuni.edu

Focused on Putting People Over Politics 

As the Legislature hit its first bill deadline of the year known as the “funnel”, House Democrats remain focused on improving the lives of Iowans.

Since the session began, we’ve heard from a record number of Iowans frustrated with the divisive bills brought up by the Governor and Republican lawmakers. Some of these include cutting mental health and disability services through Area Education Agencies (AEAs), legalizing discrimination, and even arming teachers. The common theme is that Iowans are exhausted and fed up with all the politics at the State Capitol.

Democratic lawmakers remain committed to listening to Iowans, instead of focusing on culture wars. That means putting aside politics, leading with Iowa values, and listening through our disagreements to do what’s best for our state.

To see a full list of what made it through the first legislative deadline, go to iowahouse.org/f/2024-first-funnel-information.


Tuition is too Dang High: Lowering the Cost of Tuition for Students

For far too many Iowa students, the rising cost of college has forced them to take on record amounts of debt before starting their careers. Over 400,000 Iowans working today still have student loan debt. The financial burden too often makes it impossible to meet their financial needs, like buying a home or paying for childcare.

That’s why we introduced a proposal to lower tuition costs and offer families more certainty when budgeting for college. House File 2352 would guarantee that every first-year undergraduate from Iowa attending ISU, UNI, or UI would have the same tuition and fees for all four years. To ensure quality and budget stability for the universities’ costs, the Legislature would be required to appropriate funds to make sure the cost isn’t pushed on to the next freshmen class. The bill would save an Iowa student about $2,500 in tuition and fees as they complete a four-year college degree.

There are several bills we’ve already introduced as part of our lowering costs package that would additionally ease the financial burden for students, including an expanded sales tax-free holiday to get school supplies or clothes, raising wages, and making housing more affordable.


Capitol and Community Updates

SPEAK OUT AGAINST CUTS TO AEAS: A public hearing on the cuts to Iowa’s AEAs has been set for Wednesday, February 21st at 5 PM at the State Capitol. Speak up now by leaving your comments online and registering “CON” at: https://bit.ly/3T7JO1G.

EDUCATION PROPOSAL UNDERFUNDS SCHOOLS AGAIN: For the 14th year in a row, Republican lawmakers are underfunding public schools, setting the percentage of growth at 3%.

GOVERNOR DOUBLES DOWN ON NOT FEEDING KIDS IN SUMMER: Despite the Republican Nebraska Governor changing course on accepting Federal dollars to help feed kids in the summer, Governor Kim Reynolds holds fast in her refusal to help feed Iowa’s kids.

IMPROVED ACCESS TO BIRTH CONTROL: Birth control pills could be dispensed by pharmacists without a prescription under a new bipartisan bill.

BANNING TRAFFIC CAMERAS MOVES FORWARDBanning traffic cameras and expanding what drivers cannot do on their phones while driving has moved forward out of committee.

BILL TO ERASE LGBTQ+ IOWANS ADVANCES: Despite hundreds of concerns from Iowans, Republicans advanced a bill that would erase some LGBTQ+ Iowans from the Iowa code and redefine the word ‘equal’ to only allow discrimination.

ARMING TEACHERS PROGRESSES TO HOUSE FLOOR: Allowing public and private educational staff to apply for a professional weapons permit and carry firearms anywhere on school property advanced in the Iowa House.

HEALTHCARE PROTECTIONS FOR FIREFIGHTERS: More than 100 firefighters were in attendance as a bill sponsored by Democratic lawmakers was passed to expand healthcare and cancer coverage for firefighters.

BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR TEACHER SALARY BILL: Teachers and education support personnel will soon see higher salaries thanks to a bipartisan bill to raise teacher pay moved forward.

ANOTHER VOTER SUPPRESSION BILL; LIMITS BALLOT CHALLENGES AGAINST TRUMPLegislation that will limit the number of days a person can early vote, as well as ban drop boxes could lead to disenfranchising thousands of Iowans cleared committee by Republican lawmakers.

UPDATED TAX CREDIT USER’S MANUAL AVAILABLE: An updated Tax Credits Users’ Manual that has been updated for changes made to tax credits over the last year.