Bob Kressig Newsletter March 7, 2023

Bob Kressig Newsletter
Greetings to you all,

Funnel Week has been underway this past week, making this one of the most important weeks in the entire session. What this means is bills need to be pushed through committees in order to still have the possibility of becoming law. If they don’t make it past committee, they are then considered “dead” and your lawmakers can’t vote on them. It will be interesting to see what will come of this week!

As the busy week progresses, I had the opportunity to meet with some individuals representing the Iowa Food Bank Association. We had an incredible conversation about the important issue of “food insecure” Iowans across the state. A recent study showed that 6.9% of households were “food insecure,” meaning that their access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources. This was extremely alarming to hear about! But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel due to SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 1 in 11 Iowans qualify or have received assistance through SNAP. These organizations are doing some incredible things with the potential for so much more!

Representatives from the Iowa Food Association standing beside Rep. Kressig in support for SNAP

Tuesday was Community College Day on the Hill and it included a variety of activities for lawmakers to take a look at. This included demonstrations of welding equipment, presentations they created, and much more. Community Colleges for Iowa, a coalition of fifteen community colleges across the state, was the organization which put this all together. This was a chance for both teachers and students to discuss their issues with Iowa lawmakers and better explain the problems they are directly facing. This was an amazing opportunity for many, and I’m excited for them to come again next year!

Community College Day on the Hill

Wednesday was just as busy as the rest of my week as it was Education Celebration here at the capital. I was able to meet with some students from Columbus High School, the school I went to when I was younger. I learned a lot from these young minds and loved speaking with them!

Columbus Catholic High School students speaking with Rep. Kressig

In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:

  • First Legislative Deadline: Listening and Leading with Iowa Values
  • Make Iowa a Welcoming Place for All
  • Majority Party Cuts Food Assistance for Kids, Seniors
  • Eminent Domain Changes Advances in the House; Future Uncertain
  • Firearms Bill Restricts Private Business Property Rights

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 10-12 Maple Syrup Festival
Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Fri 5-7:30pm, Sat 7am-12:30pm, Sun 7am-12:30pm, 319-277-2187

Mar 10-12 Eastern Iowa Sportshow
UNI-Dome, Friday 3pm-8pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-4pm, 319-290-1996

Mar 11 Sticky Stride 5k/10k
River Hills School, 9am, 319-277-2187

Mar 16 Fire & Rain: Folk Anthems of the 70’s
Hawkeye Community College, 7pm, 319-296-4021

Mar 18 Jazz at the Black Hawk: Simon Harding & Bob Washut
Black Hawk Hotel, 7:30pm, 319-277-1161

Mar 21 Concert with Jacob Lampman and Beckett Hunzelman
Hearst Center for the Arts, 7pm, 319-273-8641

Mar 21, 23-24 Elias String Quartet
Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 7pm, 319-273-7469

Mar 23-25 FIRST Robotics Competition Iowa Regional
McLeod Center, 319-273-4849

Mar 31-Apr 2 USAW Folkstyle Nationals 
UNI-Dome 319-273-6334

First Legislative Deadline: Listening and Leading with Iowa Values

The Iowa Legislature hit the half-way mark of the 2023 session this week. It’s also the first legislative deadline, known as the “funnel”, which helps narrow down the number of bills eligible for debate as lawmakers approach adjournment in April.

With a host of divisive bills brought up by the Governor this year, Iowans have been strongly engaged this session on a host of issues like vouchers and reproductive freedom. The common theme heard by state lawmakers thus far: Iowans are exhausted and fed up with all the politics at the State Capitol.

Democratic lawmakers remain committed to listening to Iowans and working hard to improve lives. That means putting aside politics, leading with Iowa values, and listening through our disagreements to do what’s best for Iowans.
Here are just a few priorities, from the People Over Politics agenda Iowa House Democrats will be working on as we approach the midway point of session:

  • Lowering costs for Iowans
  • Investing in public schools
  • Protecting reproductive freedom
  • Legalizing marijuana

Look for a complete wrap-up of what bills were cut and what is moving forward, in next week’s newsletter.

Make Iowa a Welcoming Place for All

Iowa lawmakers should be working to protect kids and make Iowa a welcoming place where people want to raise their family.

Instead, GOP lawmakers have sponsored a record 29 different anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year, that only makes Iowa unwelcoming.

After 14 years of marriage equality, one of the bills introduced just this week would ban gay marriage in the State of Iowa.  Other anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced:

  • book bans that deny kids opportunities to learn about themselves
  • forcing teachers to “out’ students to their parents, potentially putting students in danger
  • taking away the ability of parents to make healthcare decisions for their child
  • censor public schools from providing age appropriate and research-based information, as well as talking about LGBTQ+ families
  • stripping away civil rights protections for some of our fellow Iowans
  • vouchers that strike right at the heart of our storied history of strong public schools

These ideas and the headlines being pushed out of the Statehouse this year are doing the exact opposite of making Iowa a welcoming place for all. It isn’t just about keeping the next generation in Iowa, but the unwelcoming message also makes it more difficult for Iowa to attract workers when we’re facing a shortage of skilled workers.

House Democrats are committed to erasing the hate and are working to protect Iowa kids. Sign our petition now at to tell Iowa GOP lawmakers we won’t go back and that marriage equality is here to stay.

Majority Party Cuts Food Assistance for Kids, Seniors

Currently, 300,000 Iowans are facing food insecurity, and one-third of that number are children. Food banks across the state have seen a massive influx of people needing food assistance, many who have never had to utilize these services before.

Instead of making sure Iowans have basic needs, like food, nearly 40 members of the Majority Party have sponsored a bill that would actually take away food from some of Iowa’s most vulnerable population, including children and seniors.

House File 3, which passed the Health and Human Services committee this week, has several provisions that restrict access to not only food, but also medical services. The bill would kick people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by implementing an asset limit. This means that if a family has two vehicles used to get to and from work, one of those vehicles could count against the asset limit. Vehicles are often essential towards maintaining employment, especially in the rural parts of the state. 

By including this asset test, the Majority Party is discouraging people from establishing a savings account for emergencies and would actually be keeping Iowans in poverty, not helping them out of it.

While lawmakers supporting the proposal claim it is to balance the state budget, SNAP is 100% federally funded, with a 50-50 cost share program for administration. Also, the number of Iowans using the SNAP benefits is at a 14-year low.

More people could get access to food by raising the federal poverty level from 160% to 200%, and have access to better healthcare by extending Medicaid postpartum care to one year. House Democrats support these initiatives and believe that lawmakers should be working together to protect Iowa kids this session, not punishing those who need food or health care.

Eminent Domain Changes Advances in the House; Future Uncertain

Changes to the regulation and siting of carbon pipelines were passed by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee this week.

House File 368 requires landowners of at least 90% of the miles affected by a carbon pipeline route to agree to easements before a pipeline company can consider asking to use eminent domain, which is the ability to condemn land for just compensation, to complete the project. A permit for a carbon pipeline cannot be issued until all pipeline rules for safety are updated and the pipeline company has obtained all other applicable federal, state, and local permits. The bill also expands on damages that a landowner can recover from a pipeline company if the pipeline impacts the land.

Proponents of the bill believe that this legislation strikes a balance between land owner rights and eminent domain use.  Some opponents of the bill are concerned the bill does not go far enough, and others are concerned that the bill still does not have sufficient protections for the environment.

While the bill now goes to the House Floor for consideration by the full House, its future is uncertain. The Governor and Senate GOP leaders have said there will be no changes to Iowa’s current eminent domain laws this year.

Firearms Bill Restricts Private Business Property Rights

This week, the House Public Safety Committee could consider legislation stating government and private business owners must allow their employees to carry, transport, or possess concealed firearms in their locked personal vehicle while on the premises, such as daycares.

The bill also allows parents to keep a firearm in their vehicle while on school property when picking up or dropping off their student; permits authorized school bus drivers to keep weapons or ammunition in the school’s vehicle’s passenger compartment while transporting students; and prohibits community colleges and state universities from banning firearms in vehicles on campus property.

Similar legislation has been introduced during previous sessions, but has never passed due to concerns over private property rights and increased insurance costs. HSB 173 would require insurance companies to provide liability insurance to schools having firearms on the premises, which will increase property taxes to offset public schools’ increased insurance costs.

Last year, Iowa House Democrats voted against legislation that allowed guns in schools and promoted background checks.

More Iowa News

IOWA REMAINS A LEADER IN STEM: Iowa’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs are some of the best in the country, which is attributed to our dedicated teachers and business partners to make that happen. According to the latest Iowa STEM Evaluation Report, more than 70,000 youth were impacted by the STEM Scale-Up Programs facilitated in each region, more than 20,000 Iowans were engaged in community STEM festivals and 1,325 new connections were made with businesses, workforce development, economic development and education leaders. Read more at:

INCREASING SAFETY FOR BICYCLISTS: In an effort to make the roads safer for bicyclists, the Legislature has advanced two bills aimed at increasing bicyclist safety. House File 214 mandates drivers yield to bicyclists in crosswalks, currently drivers only have to yield to pedestrians. Drivers who do not yield are subject to a fine of $135. And another bill, House File 422, increases the penalties for drivers who cause a crash with a bicyclist, aligning them with the penalties for drivers who cause a crash with other vehicles and pedestrians. A driver who causes an accident with serious injuries is subject to a fine of $500 and can have their license suspended for up to 90 days.  Drivers who cause an accident with a bicyclist who dies are subject to a fine of $1,000 and a license suspension of 180 days. Both bills are eligible for debate in the full House.

HELP NEEDED FOR NATIONAL HISTORY DAY COMPETITIONS: The State Historical Society is looking for volunteers to serve as district contest judges in March as part of the National History Day competitions.  The contest challenges junior high and high school students from around the state to become historians as they investigate primary sources, craft historical arguments, and create projects about historical topics they’re passionate about.  More information about the competition and judging is online at: