Bob Kressig Newsletter June 28, 2024

Greetings to you all,

Hopefully, everyone is staying cool during the heat wave. Sturgis Falls will be having several events this weekend in Cedar Falls.  Hopefully, we can get through it with a dry weekend. Enjoy your time with family and friends!

Going forward, I will be listening to and working closely with local leaders and community members, to help ensure that 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!

Reproductive Freedom at Risk in Iowa

This week marks the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade – leaving the fate of reproductive freedom in the hands of individual states.

Since that ruling, Governor Reynolds and Iowa Republicans have worked relentlessly to cut access to reproductive healthcare.

All eyes are now on the Iowa Supreme Court as we wait for their ruling on the Governor and GOP lawmakers’ 6-week abortion ban- before many even know they are pregnant.

Today, abortion is still legal in Iowa and most Iowans agree the GOP abortion ban goes too far. A poll taken in 2023 showed that 60% of Iowans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Iowans know that personal decisions should be respected and valued.

Democrats believe everyone deserves the right to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion.

The implications of an extreme abortion ban will limit access to healthcare for many Iowans who can get pregnant. Each person’s circumstance is different, and every pregnancy is unique. That’s why when it comes to individuals’ medical decisions, one-size-fits-all laws don’t work.

Instead of listening to the majority of Iowans, Republicans listened to special interest groups at the State Capitol and voted to ban abortion, halt fertility treatments like IVF, and ban some forms of birth control.

House Democrats continued to fight to protect our reproductive freedom. Instead of more bans on health care, here’s what Democratic Legislators have proposed the Iowa Legislature do to protect the reproductive freedom of Iowans:

  • Make birth control pills accessible through a pharmacist without a prescription
  • Guarantee reproductive freedom by adding it to Iowa’s Constitution
  • Extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months
  • Expand access to reproductive health care by restoring family planning programs cut by the Governor and GOP

As we wait for the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision expected to be announced on Friday, July 28th, we know many are feeling sad, anxious, and angry that this could become a reality in Iowa. We are hopeful, but no matter what happens: we’ve got to continue fighting for our reproductive freedom.

Get live updates about this landmark decision from the Iowa Supreme Court by texting “Freedom” to 515-297-6414.

Lowering the Cost of Tuition for Students and Families

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.

This month, the Iowa Board of Regents approved raising tuition again at Iowa’s three state universities. For in-state residents, the University of Iowa’s and Iowa State University’s tuition will increase by 3% (or $270), and the University of Northern Iowa’s will increase by 2% (or $168).

This session, House Democrats 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 Iowa 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 ensure 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.

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.

There are several bills House Democrats 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

CHILD LABOR VIOLATIONS: Despite the U.S. Department of Labor’s continuous warnings that Iowa’s new child labor law conflicts with federal regulations, the Governor and special interests are downplaying the risks on Iowa businesses to decide whether to follow state or federal law.

FLOODING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Many parts of the state are experiencing extreme weather because of flooding. Iowans may be eligible for disaster food assistance and storm assistance.

PRESCHOOL BENEFITS LONG-TERM EARNINGS: Early childhood education helps build learning, decision-making, and social skills. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that expanding early childhood education is a well-worth investment and provides better-paying jobs down the line with about 5% higher earnings.

COMPANIES REDUCE POLLUTION AND SAVE MONEY WITH DNR INTERN PROGRAM: The Iowa Pollution Prevention Intern matches upper-level engineering students with applications from Iowa businesses looking to reduce pollution. Since 2001, companies have saved over $116 million that have conserved water, reduced hazardous materials, diverted waste, and reduced emissions.

FOOD ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE AT FARMERS MARKETS: SNAP recipients can use their benefits at many of Iowa’s farmer’s markets including low-income seniors and WIC recipients who qualify for the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

AVIAN INFLUENZA FOUND IN UNPASTERUIZED MILK: Iowans should only consume milk and dairy products pasteurized due to avian influenza spreading to dairy cows.

988 HOTLINE TO HELP IOWANS WITH MENTAL HEALTH: It’s now been two years since a new hotline was created nationwide to combat mental health crises known as 988. Any person experiencing mental health issues, including stress, isolation, and uncertainty can dial 988.