Bob Kressig Newsletter February 9, 2023

Bob Kressig Newsletter
Greetings to you all,

It was an extremely busy day on Monday, with a variety of important issues being discussed. The biggest one of the night was that of the Government Oversight Committee. The issue at hand was book banning in our Iowa Public Schools. Many came to express their concerns with certain books being allowed in public school libraries. The choice of what a child should or shouldn’t read is left up to the parent, otherwise it becomes a form of censorship.

An important issue I would like to note is the lack of adequate funding for K-12 schools. We had hoped to receive at least a 5% increase to school funding , but instead only received 3%. This increase is not adequate for schools to provide a quality education to Iowa’s students. This leaves schools underfunded, by not allowing for smaller for class sizes,  adequate mental health support, and increasing pay for teachers. I am disappointed with this result and I hope to see better funding in the future.

On Tuesday, I was able to meet with members of the ISPA (Iowa State Police Association) to discuss the important issues that face Iowa police officers. One of the biggest issues being mental health issues and the lack of support  that the officers receive for it. Public Safety and Law Enforcement are two critical aspects of our state and they should be supported. I can’t wait to see more positive results with this and what they will be able to accomplish in the future!

Police officers apart of the ISPA standing alongside Rep. Kressig and Rep. Srinivas at the Iowa State Capitol.

Wednesday, young students came to display the incredible work they have been doing in the STEM field. I was able to speak directly to the talented students about the STEM programs available that have helped them move closer to their dream jobs. It will be exciting to see the advancements yet to come within the STEM field along with its programs!

Students from the Waterloo Career Center demonstrating their STEM BEST cybersecurity program from the Iowa STEM Council alongside Rep. Kressig.

In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:

  • Iowans to Lawmakers: Put People Over Politics
  • Every Iowa Kid Deserves a Great Education
  • Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Cap Passes House
  • National Job Market Booms while Iowa Remains Stagnant

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 14 Valentine’s Day Dinner
George’s Local, 4pm, 319-260-2280

Feb 14 Seven Course Dinner Date
Cappella Magna, Waterloo 5:30pm, 319-833-7226

Feb 14 Valentine’s Day Wine Dinner
Table 1912 at Jorgensen Plaza, 7pm, 319-859-9342

Feb 14 Valentines Day Concert With Cedar Valley Chamber Music
Hearst Center for the Arts, 7:30pm, 319-273-8641

Feb 15 UNI Men’s Basketball vs Drake
McLeod Center, 8pm, 319-273-4849

Feb 16 UNI Women’s Basketball vs Illinois State
McLeod Center, 6pm, 319-273-4849

Feb 17-18 Seven Course Dinner Date
Cappella Magna, Waterloo 5:30pm, 319-833-7226

Feb 17-19 Prelude to a Kiss
Hope Martin Theatre, Fri -Sat 7pm & Sun 2pm, 319-291-4494

Feb 18 UNI Women’s Basketball vs Bradley
McLeod Center, 2pm, 319-273-4849

Feb 18 USS Iowa Premiere Screenings: Waterloo
Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, 2pm, 319-234-6357

Feb 18 Storm Large
Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 7pm, 319-273-4849

Feb 19 Beer Mine Beer Dinner
SingleSpeed Waterloo, 6pm, 319-883-3604

Iowans to Lawmakers: Put People Over Politics

At the start of the legislative session, Democratic lawmakers acknowledged that Iowans are tired of politics as usual and vowed to listen to Iowans. In an effort to stay focused on the issues important to them, a survey was sent out by lawmakers seeking input.

Of the Iowans who responded, there was overwhelming support for the plan lawmakers are working on this session to put people over politics. There are four key pieces of the plan, including: lowering costs for Iowans, investing in public schools, protecting reproductive freedom, and legalizing marijuana.

Of the Iowans who participated in the survey, 89 percent disagreed with the Governor’s private school vouchers scheme. Despite that strong opposition, House and Senate Republicans rushed to pass vouchers during the second week of the 2023 legislative session. This rush was met with a tremendous amount of criticism, yet the bill was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds.

A majority of Iowans also indicated a considerable 86 percent of Iowans want their reproductive rights protected. This includes protecting Iowans’ legal right to contraception, abortions, fertility treatment, and overall reproductive health. With the changes on the national level, Iowa House Democrats are committed to protecting reproductive freedom for all Iowans.

Lastly, according to those who completed the survey, a majority of Iowans would like to see the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use in Iowa.


While lawmakers recognize Iowans don’t agree on everything, the survey gave legislators a better understanding of what’s important to the citizens they serve in the Iowa House.

Every Iowa Kid Deserves a Great Education

After a decade of underfunding, Iowa’s public schools will once again receive less funding than needed to keep up with rising costs next year.

Even with bipartisan opposition, the Governor signed a bill providing a small investment for some public schools while 58 school districts will get less money than the year before.

A fair, fiscally responsible alternative proposed by Democratic lawmakers ensured every kid is afforded a great education regardless of where they live. The $267 million new investment proposed for public schools next year would have:

  • Reduced class sizes
  • Provided more mental health support for students
  • Prevented budget cuts, layoffs and loss of academic programs and services
  • Raised pay for teachers and kept them in the classroom

The $267 million alternative is the same amount Governor Reynolds and Republican lawmakers have already given to the biggest corporations in Iowa and private schools through a new voucher program.

As a result of consistent low funding, 134 public schools in Iowa have closed over the last decade. According to the National Education Association, Iowa ranks 40th out of 50 for the increase in education funding from 2014 to 2019, which is well below the national average.

Democratic lawmakers continue to stay committed to making sure that every kid in every zip code in Iowa deserves a great education.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Cap Passes House

Iowa currently has no cap on damages for negligence that causes a permanent injury or death. That means when a medical malpractice case goes to trial, awards are at the discretion of local juries who are best positioned to assess the facts of a case and the appropriate award.

Despite bipartisan opposition, House File 161 places a $1 million cap, or a $2 million cap if it takes place in a hospital, on non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of chance, loss of consortium, and any other non-pecuniary (monetary) damages.

Proponents of the bill say it will lower the cost of malpractice insurance that medical providers need to practice in Iowa. Iowa already has the eighth-lowest malpractice insurance rates in the nation. Meanwhile, neighboring states with much stricter caps like Nebraska and Missouri have seen some of the highest rate spikes in the nation.

While there is broad agreement that lawmakers should do more to bring health care providers to Iowa and keep the cost of business low, there are no provisions in the bill that will keep malpractice insurance rates low for providers.

National Job Market Booms while Iowa Remains Stagnant

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created over 4.8 million jobs during 2022, 517,000 of those jobs in January alone. Since January 2021, the Biden Administration has created over 12 million jobs. Additionally, the national unemployment rate has decreased from 6.3 percent during 2021 to currently 3.4 percent. The last time the national jobless rate was this low was May 1969.

Instead of improving Iowa’s stagnant workforce numbers through improving Iowans skilled workforce options or making childcare more affordable for Iowans, the Majority Party has introduced legislation that would rewrite Iowa’s child labor law by allowing teens to work in previously prohibited jobs.
House Study Bill 134 allows the Iowa Workforce Development and Department of Education to make exceptions for any currently prohibited jobs relating to 14 through 17-year old employment. Businesses would also be able to hire 16 and 17-year olds, with written guardian permission, to serve customers alcohol.

Lastly, the bill exempts businesses from civil liability if a student is sickened, injured, or killed due to the company’s negligence; and provides immunity to businesses if a student is injured while commuting to from work. A company may be fined up to $10,000 for violations under the bill, but the state’s labor commissioner could reduce or waive the penalty.

More Iowa News

NEW LEGISLATION CREATES RED TAPE FOR PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES AND STUDENTS: Public universities could be seeing some additional red tap pending a host of new restrictions. House File 135 requires the Board of Regents to report on outcomes of degree programs with average income, which the institutions are already doing and the information is available on their websites. The bill also requires students to take career planning guidance prior to registering for their second-year classes. The magnitude of all students to meet that requirement will result in delays in registration for classes and delay their graduation if they can’t get into required courses. Another bill, House File 182, requires the Regents to report on terms that are used in courses, such as “compulsory heterosexuality and queer identities” or “current understandings of race, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status.” Opponents of the bills, including those in the business and education community, point out that if Iowa approves these pieces of legislation, they would be the only state in the country to do so, and it would hurt faculty recruitment, retention and research and development.

APPLY NOW FOR THE 2023 CENTURY AND HERITAGE FARM PROGRAM: Applications are being accepted for the 2023 Century and Heritage Farm program. Each year at the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation recognize families who have owned their farms for 100 or 150 years. Families will be honored on August 17 at the State Fair. Applications are available online, Applications must be submitted by June 1.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION WORKSHOPS SCHEDULED BY DNR: Outdoor education workshops will be available for K-12 educators offered by the Department of Natural Resources. Three award winning guides will be available to educators that complete the program. The self-guided modules will be available on Project WILD, Aquatic WILD, and Project Learning Tree. The modules are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core standards. The programs encourage STEM-based learning opportunities for students and the training will help educators include activities from the modules to do real field investigations with students. The opportunities will be available from February 19 – March 26. A field investigation workshop for teachers and other K-12 educators will be available June 8 and 9 at the Jester Park Nature Center in Polk County. Registration for the courses can be found at (enter “Project WILD” in the course search to find registration information on each course). Iowa educators can earn license renewal for the courses. Graduate credit is available for the Field Investigations course.

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