Bob Kressig Newsletter March 9, 2023

Bob Kressig Newsletter
Greetings to you all,

It was Research Day in the Capitol on Monday. There were a variety of projects that were presented to those at the Capitol, including myself. I was able to meet some incredible young people from Iowa State and UNI! They were able to speak to me about their various projects and the amazing work they have been doing. I enjoyed being able to hear from them, learning about their different topics and their thought-provoking ideas. It will be exciting to see them continue to work hard with this!

Representative Kressig with Iowa State student and project regarding the structural analysis of tyrosine kinase-substrate

School counselors and psychologists came to the Capitol on Tuesday and spoke to me about the important matters that they are most passionate about. The biggest thing they came to speak to me about is their concerns regarding the lack of mental health resources for their students and the overall public. I enjoyed speaking to them and hope to see change soon. Thank you to all of the amazing school counselors and psychologists for what you do!

Representatives From Left to Right: Rep. Kressig, Wilson, Wilburn, Wessel-Kroeschell, Kurth, and Ehlert and Iowan school counselors and psychologists 

This has been an extremely busy week,  with many controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bills to be debated within the House Chamber. These bills will limit the ability for LGBTQ+ youth to be able to express themselves, in a variety of ways. LGBTQ+ people are at an increased risk to adverse mental health outcomes and suicide. These bills will only increase the risk even more. This will hurt both the individuals in Iowa and the state of Iowa also.  I am wholeheartedly against these pieces of legislation and I hope that we can change things around in the future.

Many Iowans came to the Capitol on Wednesday to rally against the anti-LGBTQ+ bills that the majority party has pushed forward. It was incredible to see these amazing people come together, in order to support one another! Many will be negatively impacted by these bills. I am glad that so many Iowans continue to stay informed about what has been taking place in the Capitol. At the end of the day, we need to focus on the people, not the politics.

Protesters gather in the Capitol Rotunda to combat the anti-LGBTQ+ bills being debated within the House 

In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:

  • Iowa Should be a Welcoming Place for All
  • Child Labor Legislation Advances to House Floor
  • Insulin Savings Cap Helps Iowans
  • Legislation Passes that Gives Students Voice in School
  • Iowa’s Graduation Rates Dip Slightly

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 Midday Melodies
Hearst Center for the Arts, Noon-1pm, 319-273-8641

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 Local Boys Comedy Show
Oster Regent Theatre, 8pm, 319-277-5283

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 24 Red Herring
Oster Regent Theatre, 7p, 319-277-5283

Mar 25 Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra
Oster Regent Theatre, 7pm, 319-277-5283

Mar 30-Apr 1 Two-Faced
UNI Lang Hall, 7:30pm, 319-273-2311

Mar 31 Cedar Falls High School Speech Contest Events
Oster Regent Theatre, 7pm, 319-277-5283

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

Iowa Should be a Welcoming Place for All

Instead of working to protect kids and make Iowa a welcoming place for all, Majority Party lawmakers approved several bills this week to take away the rights of parents and make Iowa unwelcoming.

Despite rallies of hundreds of Iowans, over 75,000 petition signatures, and thousands of emails opposed to these harmful bills, Majority Party lawmakers approved the following:

  • Book bans that deny kids opportunities to learn about themselves or their family.
  • Taking away the ability of parents to make healthcare decisions for their child.
  • Censoring public schools from providing age appropriate and research-based information, as well as talking about LGBTQ+ families.

These bills are being approved during a time when LGBTQ+ students already show dramatically increased risk of adverse mental health outcomes and suicide. Recent Iowa data from The Trevor Project found 44% of LGBTQ+ youth (52% of transgender and nonbinary youth) have seriously considered suicide in the previous year; that’s more than double the rate in the general youth population at approximately 18 percent.

The ideas and the headlines being pushed by the Governor and Republican lawmakers this year are making Iowa an unwelcoming place. This isn’t solely about keeping the next generation in Iowa; the unwelcoming message makes it more difficult for Iowa to attract workers when we’re already facing an ongoing workforce shortage.

This year, GOP lawmakers have sponsored a record 32 different anti-LGBTQ+ bills including a ban on gay marriage.

Child Labor Legislation Advances to House Floor

Last week, the House Majority party advanced legislation that drastically weakens Iowa’s current child labor protections, which could jeopardize Iowa businesses with federal labor regulations.

HF 647 would allow 14-and-15-year olds to work six-hour nightly shifts in industrial laundries, meat freezers, or on light manufacturing lines; allow 16-and-17-year olds to serve alcohol at businesses with an alcohol retail license; and employers may recruit 14-18-year olds for a “work-based learning” program that could include hazardous job requirements.

Some of the most extreme proposed changes to Iowa’s child labor laws include eliminating the Iowa Labor Commissioner’s authority to require work permits for minors in certain occupations and allowing the state new discretion to waive, reduce, or delay civil penalties if an employer violates any child labor law.

Since 2018, the US Department of Labor has seen a 69 percent increase in companies illegally employing children. Additionally, Iowa’s business industry has experienced a massive labor decrease due to low wages and hazardous working environments over the past three years.

Rather than addressing Iowa’s persisting labor shortage by offering fair wages and a safe working environment, the House Majority is relaxing child labor laws for younger Iowans to fill the state’s employment gap. These proposed policies skirt federal labor requirements, which protect minors from being exploited, injured, or killed.
Iowa House Democrats will continue to fight for fair wages, benefits, and a safe working environment.

HF 647 passed the House Commerce Committee on a party line vote and is pending full House consideration.

Insulin Savings Cap Helps Iowans

Following President Biden’s lead, the largest insulin manufacturer in the country, Eli Lilly, announced that they would be capping the cost of insulin at $35.

Last year, the President signed a law to cap the cost of insulin at $35 for seniors who are on Medicare. Insulin costs $10 to make, but can cost the patient over $300 for this life-saving medication. There have been countless stories across the country, including in Iowa, of people dying from rationing their insulin or not taking it altogether due to the cost.

House Democrats have introduced several pieces of legislation throughout the years capping the cost, and are hopeful that more manufacturers will follow Eli Lilly to make insulin affordable for all. But they were voted down by the Republican lawmakers.

Legislation Passes that Gives Students Voice in School

Currently, students are allowed as non-voting members on the Iowa Board of Regents and the Iowa State Board of Education. A bill that has made it through the House Education Committee would now require a student liaison on school boards.

HF 437 would require school boards to offer students an application process for a position on their board as a non-voting member. They would not have access or participated in special meetings involving student discipline or school personnel decisions.

This would create a positive impact on many school districts’ boards to find out what students think on policies affecting them, and provide students an avenue to use their voice to advocate for policies important to them.

Iowa’s Graduation Rates Dip Slightly

Despite years of Iowa’s high school graduation rate leading the nation, the Iowa Department of Education has released graduating class of 2022 data leaving Iowa’s number one ranking in doubt.

State data shows 89.9% of students in Iowa’s class of 2022 graduated within four years, which is a slight decrease from 90.2% for the class of 2021.
However, the graduation rate is higher than some neighboring states that have reported data, including Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.  Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s data is not available yet.

Iowa’s annual dropout rate reflects the percent of students in grades 9-12 who dropped out of school during a single year. The annual dropout rate was 3.04%, which represents 4,698 students in grades 9 through 12.

Other Iowa News

SUICIDE HOTLINE REQUIREMENT ON STUDENT ID CARDS: As access to mental health becomes more important, and suicide rate increase across the nation, lawmakers and young Iowans are working to save lives. Iowa’s suicide hotline number and information on student ID cards will soon be required on student ID’s in Iowa schools. HF 602 gained bipartisan support through the House Education Committee and is now eligible for the consideration of the full House.

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR WATER QUALITY PROJECTS FOR FARMERS: Awards are available through the Department of Natural Resources to work with underserved farm communities to address a variety of environmental issues.  Grants will be available to work on nutrient pollution, drinking water problems, and flooding. Eligible awardees include conservation districts, local governments, nonprofits, colleges, and tribal nations to develop projects to work with farmers. Farmers who are eligible include those who are just starting, are socially disadvantaged, veterans, or have limited resources. The program is funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Projects may be awarded up to $250,000 with no match requirement.  In total, the DNR will distribute $3 million to eligible entities. Applications are open through April 28, 2023. For more information, see the or review a fact sheet on the grants at

TOWN HALL MEETINGS ON DIGITAL SERVICES: Iowans are invited to share their feedback on digital services and broadband in their area. More than 50 town hall events will be held across the state for Iowans to give their feedback. Attendees will hear a short presentation on digital services followed by an audience discussion on the barriers and potential solutions for full participation in the digital aspects of society. All meetings start at 6 p.m. The first meeting is in Davenport on March 14th and the town halls run through May 25th. To find a meeting in your community visit,

IOWA VOTER LISTS ARE CLEAN: An up-to-date and accurate voter registration list is important to make sure Iowa elections run smoothly. Iowa currently utilizes the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to maintain clean and accurate voter lists, funded entirely by annual dues paid by the member states. Currently, 30 other states help Iowa identify deceased voters, and voters who have moved both in-state and out-of-state. Iowa became a member of ERIC in 2021. In less than one year, the program helped Iowa identify more than 1,300 deceased voters who were not included in the Iowa Department of Public Health’s data.