March 6, 2020
Greetings to you all,
Week eight has been extremely busy. In addition to the normal stream of constituents and other visitors, many bills have come to the floor for debate and consideration.
I had the pleasure of meeting with union members from the UAW, IAMAW and AFSCME early this week to discuss workers rights.
Representatives Kressig, Brown-Powers, and Williams meet with members from the UAW, IAMAW, and AFSCME on March 2, 2020.
Tuesday was Community College Day on the Hill which gave me the ability to meet with students from Hawkeye Community College. It was great to see all of the amazing things they are accomplishing and how they are contributing to our skilled workforce in the Cedar Valley.
From left to right: Rep. Kressig, Ethan Jaso, Rep. Brown-Powers, Todd Holcomb, Joan Webster-Vore, Pam Wright Chair: Evelyn Falck
I also enjoyed meeting Sophia Williams-Perez, a student at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. She came to discuss a bill that would provide medical amnesty to college students.
From left to right: Rep. Brown-Powers, Rep. Kressig, Rep. Williams, Rep. Smith
Chair: Sophia Williams-Perez
Advocates, Caitlyn Walte and Ben Brustkern from Friends of the Family and Gwen Bramlet-Hecker from Riverview Center, came to visit me and discuss domestic violence and housing on Wednesday afternoon.
From left to right: Caitlyn Walte, Rep. Kressig, Gwen Bramlet-Hecker, Ben Brustkern, and Rep. Brown-Powers
One of my largest objectives this session has been to promote mental health instruction in schools across Iowa. One integral part of this goal is the services that Iowa AEAs provide. Meeting with Lindsey Kutcher and Emilie Souhrada from the AEA and Nicki Skaar from the UNI School of Education helped provide more insight to how the Iowa Legislature can help our schools help our children.
Left to Right: Lindsey Kutcher, Rep. Kressig, Nicki Skaar, Emilie Souhrada, and Rep. Williams.
On Thursday, I was able to welcome management from my former employer, John Deere, during their visit to the capitol. The work they do is vital to the legacy Iowa has worldwide. It was great to be able to bring them in to sit on some meetings and share their perspectives.
Reps. Smith, Kressig, James, Brown-Powers and Williams pose for a picture with John Deere employees during their visit to the Capitol on March 5, 2020.
As your Representative, I hope to reflect your interests and concerns in my work at the Capitol, so please reach out at any time. The Iowa Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.iowa.gov, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can listen to or watch our debates live.
Please check out other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts, forums, and Black Hawk County Representatives’ weekly video update, you can also 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!
5-7 Burnt City: A One-Persian Show about U.S.-Iran relations, UNI Interpreters Theatre, 7pm, 273-2311
6 Northern Iowa Bach Cantata Series Performance, *GBPAC, 12:15pm, 273-2024
6 UNI Women’s Basketball vs Drake, McLeod Center, 6:30pm, 273-4849
7 Sticky Stride Race, River Hills School, 8am, 277-2187
7 Heyday for Hope Barn Bash, Elks Club, 5-11pm, 232-3823
7 wcfsymphony concert: Honoring Our Own, *GBPAC, 7pm, 273-3373
7-8 Maple Syrup Festival Hartman Reserve, Nature Center, 7am-1pm, 433-7275
8 YAMATO the drummers of Japan, *GBPAC, 4pm, 273-7469
8 Celtic Concert, Oster Regent Theatre, 6:30pm, 277-5283
9 String Chamber Music Concert, *GBPAC, 8pm, 273-2024
10 Spotlight Series Concert: UNI Choirs Concert, *GBPAC, 7:30pm, 273-2024
12 Cedar Valley Taste of Achievement, Bien Venu Event Center, 6pm, 862-1100
Revitalizing Small Towns and Rural Areas in Iowa
Iowa’s small towns and rural communities are facing a number of challenges with shrinking population, fewer jobs, an aging housing stock, closing schools, and lack of access to basic health care services. These factors have made it difficult to keep young people in rural communities or attract new business and workers. It’s essential that we work together this year to revitalize small towns and rural areas.
In Iowa, 23.4% of households are housing cost-burdened, which means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. We need to make sure all Iowans have access to safe, affordable housing for their families. We also need to give Iowans the opportunity to fix up and rehab abandoned houses.
In order for rural Iowa to keep up with the rest of the state and the country, we must expand access to high speed internet to every community such as schools, homes, hospitals, and businesses.
Over the last decade, over 100 health care centers, clinics, and pharmacies have closed their doors, many in rural areas. Also, population decline has made it difficult for rural communities to recruit enough EMT’s to even provide basic emergency ambulance services. We need to make sure we are training and recruiting the best and brightest to Iowa to help rural communities.
Four bills were introduced this week to revitalize rural Iowa including:
Creating More Affordable Housing – Expanding workforce housing tax credit and directing a minimum of 20% to rural areas and small towns for new, affordable housing.
Fixing Up Old Housing – $2 million grant fund to partner with small towns to fix up and rehab abandoned buildings to develop more housing options.
Expanding Broadband – Make high speed internet access available to more Iowans by expanding the grant program to connect more Iowans.
Increase Emergency Services – Increase the tax credit for EMT, police, and fire volunteers in rural communities; create grant funding to help rural communities with infrastructure, volunteer training, and equipment for emergency personnel.
To find out more about these bills go to https://iowahouse.org/ruraliowa.
Iowa House Finds Compromise on Solar Energy
This week, the Iowa House passed a solar bill that could unleash solar growth in the state and create long-term certainty for Iowa solar customers.
The compromise bill grandfathers existing private solar customers and maintains net metering. Senate File 583 also calls for the Iowa Utilities Board to study the value of private solar in the state when Iowa is receiving 5% of its energy from solar or by 2027. Currently, less than 1% of Iowa’s energy comes from private solar.
Last session, the bill stalled due to concerns over job losses and disruption in the solar energy market. During the interim, stakeholder groups met with MidAmerican Energy and came to a compromise that supports all forms of renewable energy, while fairly valuing customer-owned solar energy and keeping rates affordable.
SF 583 passed the House 98-0 and currently waits Senate consideration.
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