Monday marks the third week of the 2024 Legislative Session! I’m excited to update you all on the steps we have been taking here in the House!
As the session continues, there are certain bills which are coming out of the woodwork that both Iowans and I disagree with. One of which includes HSB 542, which intends to limit the impact of Area Education Agencies (AEAs) on public schools. AEAs work as educational partners to schools providing support to students, specifically within the Special Education Department. I have received hundreds of emails from constituents who are against HSB 542, and I wholeheartedly agree with each and every one of you. Recently, Governor Reynolds has pulled the bill to have it revised thanks to the outpour of emails from all of you who disagree with this bill. It’s thanks to you that important changes are being made to this bill! Thank you all for the work you have done!
Wednesday, the 17th was Veterans Day on the Hill, and we had a great turnout of veterans. They have a few bills that they would like to see passed into law. The requests are Military Homeowner Assistance Program, Veterans Treatment Courts, funding for Veterans Services and increasing the County Commission Veterans Affairs Fund. Hopefully the legislature will approve the requests. Thank you for your service to our nation.
Des Moines Veterans stand together on the Capitol Steps.
I was able to make it to the UNI Pack the Dome event on Monday, the 15th. We had about 1200 people packing bags of food to help feed the hungry children. Thank you to the Cedar Valley Food Bank for helping organize the event. It was great to see so many people come together to help those in need! Thank you to all who attended this important event, and I hope to attend more in the future!
The UNI community came together to pack bags of food for children in need under the UNI-Dome.
In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:
· Iowa Kids Deserve Better
· Capitol & Community Updates
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 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!
Upcoming Community Events:
Jan 27 Northern Festival of Bands Gallagher Bluedorn Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 2pm music.uni.edu
Jan 28 Charlie Berens Good Old Fashioned Tour Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 7pm gbpac.com
Jan 30 Red Herring Theatre Presents POTUS: or Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep HimAlive Hearst Center for the Arts, 6:30pm thehearst.org
Jan 27-28 UNAA Qualifier Competition Ninja U, ninjau.com
Iowa’s Kids Deserve Better
Governor’s AEA Bill Would Eliminate Services to Kids
For generations, Iowans have counted on great public schools to educate our kids. But Iowa has since lost some ground and public school kids are losing out.
Instead of listening to parents, educators, and Iowans, Governor Kim Reynolds hired an out-of-state, private company to write a bill that makes cuts to mental health, disability, behavioral, and reading recovery services provided through Area Education Agencies (AEAs).
Since 1974, AEA programs and services have been strategically adjusted to ensure relevant support for Iowa families, students, and educators. Below is a list of services that would no longer be provided under the bill proposed by Reynolds as of this week.
This is bad for kids and public schools, especially in rural areas. The Governor is playing politics again, which serves as a glaring reminder as to why Iowans are so frustrated with politicians these days.
Lawmakers should be working together this session to renew our commitment to great public schools:
Fully fund public schools to keep up with rising costs and guarantee every kid in every zip code gets a great education
Raise pay for all educators and give them a seat at the table
Make sure every child has access to special education services
Stop shifting public money to private schools with no oversight
In response to massive opposition to the AEA bill and countless stories about how the AEAs have helped so many of Iowa’s students, Reynolds and legislative leaders backtracked last week and have slowed the bill down. It’s unclear when lawmakers may see changes or consider the bill.
Iowa’s kids deserve better. Sign the petition now and tell Governor Reynolds: No cuts to public education. No cuts to special needs services. No cuts to mental health.
Capitol & Community Updates
TIRED OF CHANGING THE CLOCKS BACK? In what appears to be an annual tradition, legislation that would put Iowa on permanent daylight-saving time cleared its first legislative hurdle by passing a sub-committee meeting this week.
REPUBLICAN PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK BAN INTRODUCED: Despite a federal court stopping book banning in Iowa, GOP lawmakers are now considering banning books at public libraries. Sign your name and tell Republican lawmakers that book bans are censorship.
ROE V. WADE ANNIVERSARY: Fifty-one years ago this week, the Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion—free from the interference of politicians. Then, a year and a half ago, the Court made the extreme decision to overturn Roe. In Iowa, we continue to fight for women’s reproductive freedom and against Republican officials’ dangerous, extreme, and out-of-touch agenda.
FIND THE BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS: Colder weather means outdoorsmen and women can hit the ice. Find the best ice fishing spots in Iowa and check out DNR’s weekly fishing report to find current ice conditions across the state.
PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE CAUCUS CARD: Iowa Democrats have until February 19th to request their presidential preference card by mail.
CONDITION OF THE JUDICIARY: Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen delivered the 2024 State of the Judiciary to the Legislature. The Chief Justice focused on building connections and stressed the need to work with the Legislature on judicial compensation and retention, indigent defense, remote proceedings, and new developments in court reporting.
GRANTS FOR ARTS & CULTURE: The Iowa Arts Council has opened several grant opportunities for Iowa artists.
IOWA UTILITIES BOARD RESCHEDULES MIDAMERICAN PUBLIC HEARING: MidAmerican’s natural gas rate increase public hearing will be held on January 23rd at 10 am. Iowans may continue to submit written comments online.