Bob Kressig Newsletter March 20, 2024

Greetings to you all!

These past couple of weeks have been hectic as bill after bill is passed through the House. We have seen all kinds of bills in debate, good and bad. I’m hoping that in the upcoming weeks, change can be made to help to encourage Iowa’s students to stay within the state instead of leaving after graduating.

Looking back at these last two weeks, there was one day that stood out: University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Day on the Hill! I was able to speak to so many young people and hear their thoughts about what is happening in the state! I was also able to learn all about the amazing programs that University of Northern Iowa has to offer ranging from computer science to education! I thoroughly enjoyed my time speaking to these amazing students! I can’t wait until next year for them to come back!

Along with that, I also had the amazing opportunity to attend the Hartman Reserve Maple Syrup Pancake Festival. The event helps raise money for the Black Hawk County Conservation to continue the work on outdoor recreation and education. This is very important for our parks and community. They continue to work hard to create and maintain spaces for Iowan youth to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about ways to help the environment. I had a great time having breakfast with the Black Hawk County community, and I will continue to support Black Hawk County Conservation and the incredible work they do!

I had the chance on Monday, the 19th,  to meet with the Civil Air Patrol and its cadets! The CAP is an all-volunteer organization that relies upon financial support for their programs. We spoke about the important work they have done in the past to help, especially the help they gave during the 2020 derecho. They lack funding from the state and presently only receive it partially federally for Air Force assigned emergency missions. They have grown so much and continue to do extremely important work across the state. I hope we can see them continue to grow and receive more funding!

Finally, I am running again for House District 75 alongside my fellow representative Timi Brown-Powers! I am so excited to serve Black Hawk County again and continue to work hard and help Iowans! As I continue to work in the Capitol, I hope to see more change and will do my best for the people of Iowa! Thank you to all who have supported me these past twenty years!

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:

Mar 15-17 USA Wrestling 16U & Junior Boys and Girls Folkstyle Nationals

Mar 21-23 FIRST Robotics Competition Iowa Regional
McLeod Center,

Mar 24 Iron Elite Wrestling Cedar Valley Nationals
Fit Courts,

Iowa’s Public Schools Should Be Our Top Priority

For generations, Iowans have counted on great public schools to educate our kids and act as the heart of our communities. Iowa Democrats are committed to ensuring every kid in Iowa gets a quality education.

In sharp contrast, Republican lawmakers at the State Capitol have failed to agree on public school funding for next year. For the 14th year in a row, GOP leaders in the House passed a bill to underfund public schools, setting the percentage of growth at 3%. The delay has been in the Senate who have yet to pass a school funding bill this year.

Last Friday, March 15th school districts were required to share their budget plans and tax rates with the public for the upcoming school year. This delay leaves school leaders in the dark about how much state aid they’ll receive next year – leading to unnecessary lay-offs, cuts, and potentially higher property taxes.

In public schools that serve over 90% of Iowa kids, educators are working overtime to make sure students get the world-class education they deserve. At the State Capitol, the Governor and GOP leaders can’t agree on a pay raise for teachers and are still fighting over plans to cut mental health and disability services for kids through AEAs, which could have a huge impact on school budgets next year.

Kids in every zip code in Iowa deserve a great education, and it is time to put politics aside and invest in our public schools.

Democrats Vote to Increase Teacher Salaries for K-12

It’s no secret that teacher salaries in Iowa have not kept up with other states, with the last raise in minimum teacher salary occurring in 2013. Raising teacher pay is one way to keep our best and brightest teachers in the classroom.

Recently the House passed a bill to increase teacher salaries in two phases. Increasing the minimum teacher starting salary to $47,500, up from the current $33,500, for the 2024-2025 school year, and $50,000 for the 2025-26 school year. A separate allocation of $14 million would go towards allowing each school district to raise wages for veteran teachers and paraeducators.

Instead of reducing teacher qualifications or training needed, Democrats have been calling for raising teacher pay for years to address Iowa’s teacher shortage.

Second Legislative Deadline Passes

Last week was the end of the second legislative deadline designed to help narrow down the number of bills lawmakers will consider before the session is scheduled to end on April 16th.

Although it’s mostly the controversial bills making headlines, here are a few other considered initiatives that could help Iowans:

  • More transparency to protect Iowans when they sell their homes (HF 2394)
  • Helping to employ individuals with disabilities (HF 2589)
  • Increases college savings plans (HF 2537/SF 2236)
  • Grows the amount of Workforce Housing Tax Credits (HF 2420)
  • Insurance coverage for diagnostic and supplemental breast exams (SF 2358/HF 2489)
  • Increases Iowans’ prescription drug pricing transparency and helps local pharmacies hold PBMs accountable (HF 2401/SF 2357)
  • Expand access to medical doctors (SF 477)
  • Physicians now can serve as EMTs (HF 2507/SF 2148)
  • Greater awareness of veterans’ benefits in the workplace (SF 2406)

Capitol and Community Updates

GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION BILL: Iowa GOP lawmakers passed a bill to make voting harder for Iowans. If it had been in law before the last election, the votes of 17,000 Iowans would not have been counted.

SCHOOL PUBLIC SAFETY BILL FALLS SHORT: Keeping our kids safe in school is a top priority for many Iowans. Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers think more guns will solve the problem and have proposed using taxpayer dollars to purchase guns and weapons for school employees.

EXPANDING ACCESS TO CHILD CARE: Originally proposed by House Democrats, a bill that extends a pilot program allowing childcare workers to receive childcare assistance benefits (CCA) for their children has advanced.

HEMP LEGISLATION ADVANCES TO SENATE: A deal was struck between Republican lawmakers that would continue to allow registered retailers to sell hemp-derived THC products in Iowa with additional consumer protections. House Democrats support the 21-year age requirement for hemp-derived THC products but believe it’s time to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use like other states.

LEGISLATION COULD LEAD TO IVF BAN: GOP lawmakers are working on a bill that could stop fertility treatments like IVF and some forms of birth control. Sign the petition to protect reproductive freedom and access to IVF in Iowa.

PERRY PLANT CLOSING: Tyson Foods will close its pork processing plant in Perry, eliminating nearly 1,300 jobs in a town of fewer than 8,000 residents. Closures like this are devastating to such a small community. Iowa Workforce Development is making sure workers receive unemployment services.

NRA TO RECEIVE REVENUE FROM NEW LICENSE PLATE DESIGN: Republican lawmakers are approving a new license plate design to generate revenue for the NRA.

EXTREMELY DRY FEBRUARY EXTENDS RECORD DROUGHT: February ranked as the top three driest, top five least snowy, and top two warmest of February on record.

NEW IOWA TRAVEL MAGAZINE: Plan your summer vacations with the new Travel Iowa Magazine.