Bob Kressig Newsletter May 23, 2024

Greetings to you all, I was able to attend several meetings last week.

The Gold Star Teachers Award Ceremony took place at the Gallacher Bluedorn. Great crowd supporting the great work of our teachers. Thanks for all that they do.

I was also able to attend the Peace Officers Memorial at Overman Park. Thank you to the Peace Officers and families who have given their lives protecting the State of Iowa.

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

Upcoming Community Events

Veterans Memorial Day ParadeThe annual Memorial Day Parade is held in downtown Waterloo. May 27, 2024 at 10 a.m.
Live to 9

Cedar Valley Jaycees presents FREE live music on select Friday evenings in May, June, July, and August. May 31, 2024. River Place Plaza, Cedar Falls.

Cedar Valley Jaycees presents FREE live music on select Friday evenings in June, July, and August. June 7 & 14, 2024. River Place Plaza, Cedar Falls.

It’s Time for Iowa to Legalize It

Majority of Iowans Want to Legalize Marijuana for Adult Use

According to a Des Moines Register poll, 54% of Iowans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, and over 75% support use for medical purposes.

Earlier this month, President Biden, along with the U.S. Justice Department announced they will formally move to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug under federal law.

It’s time to listen to Iowans and prioritize an overhaul of Iowa’s policy on marijuana.

Iowa House Democrats have proposed a comprehensive marijuana legalization package that expands the state’s medical marijuana program, while safely legalizing for adult use.

Legalizing marijuana will keep Iowans safe through secure regulation, stop our tax dollars from going to neighboring states, improve the quality of life for Iowans suffering from chronic illnesses, and stop wasting state resources to punish Iowans unfairly.

The plan from Democratic lawmakers allows Iowans over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana for recreational use from a licensed retail store. There is a 10% excise tax and a 1% local option surcharge with the revenue going to public schools, mental health services, and local public safety.

Most importantly, the proposal would also regulate a safe product that many Iowans already use. According to the American Addiction Centers, unregulated marijuana can be laced with a multitude of psychoactive drugs with varied effects.

Other provisions include decreasing penalties for marijuana possession and expunging records for non-violent marijuana convictions. Iowa ranked 5th in the nation for having the largest racial disparities in arrests for marijuana possession in 2018. The bill also expands Iowa’s medical cannabis program to get relief to more Iowans with chronic pain.

During the 2024 session, Republican lawmakers took steps to regulate hemp-derived products for registered retailers, allowing only 10mg per container. House Democrats supported 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. Almost all states have passed some form of medical marijuana program, and 24 states have adopted both medical and adult recreational programs.

Reproductive Rights at Risk

All eyes are on the Iowa Supreme Court as Iowans continue to wait for their ruling on the GOP’s abortion ban.

Last summer, the Governor and GOP lawmakers passed a bill to ban abortion after just six weeks, before many even know they are pregnant. In April of 2024, oral arguments were heard on the ban and a decision could come down any day between now and the end of June.

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.

Democrats believe everyone deserves the right to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion. That’s why House Democrats proposed the following policies, to protect Iowans’ access to healthcare:

  • Guarantee reproductive freedom by adding it to Iowa’s Constitution
  • Make birth control pills accessible through a pharmacist without a prescription
  • Extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months
  • Restore family planning programs under Medicaid

Sign the petition to tell lawmakers you think reproductive freedom should be the law of the land.

Capitol and Community Updates

PRIMARY ELECTION EARLY VOTING: Eligible Iowa voters may now cast their ballot for the June 4th primary election. Iowans can visit their local auditor’s office to vote or vote by mail by printing a form to request an absentee ballot.

ARMING TEACHERS JEOPARDIZES INSURANCE COVERAGE: Despite the majority party’s efforts to allow more guns in schools, districts still risk losing their insurance coverage and increasing taxpayer costs if school employees are allowed to be armed.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TEMPORARILY EXPANDED: Iowans whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted due to the recent severe storms are eligible for unemployment benefits.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS IMPROVING: According to Iowa’s Water Summary, above-average rainfall over five of the last seven months has improved drought conditions in some parts of the state. No areas of the state are experiencing extreme drought for the first time in two years.

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH: Many Iowans experience depression, anxiety, and uncertainty. In acknowledgment, May has officially been designated Mental Health Month. This year, the legislature acted by improving Iowa’s mental health system and it was officially signed into law. Take action if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis.

DEPT. OF EDUCATION MISCALCULATES GRADUATION RATES: For several years Iowa had the best graduation rates in the country, however, that claim may now be inaccurate due to an error that extends back to the Branstad Administration. The department has not been counting mobile students who transferred between districts and later dropped out in their calculations.

NOMINATE AN OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL FOR IOWAN OF THE DAY: Do you know an outstanding Iowan who deserves to be recognized? The Iowa State Fair’s Blue-Ribbon Foundation asks Iowans to nominate exceptional individuals to be recognized as Iowan of the Day.