Hopefully, you are enjoying the weather and the outdoors. I have been attending several meetings, discussing issues for the 2024 session. We had a discussion with the Iowa Healthcare Association about the low levels of Medicaid reimbursement, the shortage of nurses, and making sure that the needs of all Iowans are met and that Medicaid is held accountable.
In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:
1. Iowans Trust Teachers & Value Public Schools.
2. Reflecting on the Service of Our Veterans.
3. Carry your own ID on your phone.
4. Winter utility assistance.
Please share your comments.
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 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!
Last week, Iowans went to the polls to vote in their local school board elections. There was a high turnout and the message voters delivered was clear: Iowans trust teachers and value strong public schools.
In many communities, several special interest groups that have spent millions of dollars lobbying federal and state lawmakers made a push to elect school board members who would inject more politics and culture wars into the classroom. But Iowans saw right through these efforts and largely rejected those candidates. Iowans trust teachers to make decisions about what their kids learn, not special interests.
Last session, Governor Reynolds and Republican lawmakers passed several bills targeting public schools, including the school voucher bill, which shifts money from public schools to private schools instead, restrictions for LGBTQ+ students, and book bans.
There’s no doubt that these extreme, out-of-touch policies led to higher turnout in this election, as Iowans want their lawmakers to focus on the real issues facing our students today. We need to strengthen public schools, address Iowa’s teacher shortage, get students the one-on-one attention they may need, and expand school-based mental health services to support students.
Reflecting on the Service of Our Veterans
This Veterans Day Iowans across the state gathered to honor those who have fought for our freedom.
In Iowa, Veterans account for 5.8% of the population and help to bring in $1.2 billion to Iowa’s economy. Last session, the Legislature passed various bills to help Iowa’s veterans and their families including:
The Veterans Home Ownership Program was given an appropriation to provide $5,000 to veterans to be used for house down payments and closing costs.
Additional property tax exemption was created for veterans. Starting with taxes paid in spring 2024, the first $4,000 of the value of a residential property of a veteran will be exempt from local property taxes. The exemption will be available to any honorably separated, retired, furloughed to a reserve, inactive status, or discharged veteran. This new property tax exemption is in addition to any other property tax exemptions already available.
Democrats will continue to push for legislation that provides the necessary support to a group of Iowans who sacrificed so much for us.
Capitol and Community Updates
RECORD NUMBER OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS CLOSE UNDER GOP WATCH: Over the last year, 10 more public school buildings have closed, adding to the 150 public schools closed since 2010 because of Republicans’ lack of adequate public school funding.
IOWA’S DIVERSITY EQUITY AND INCLUSION OFFICES UNDER REVIEW: Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices at state universities will be reviewed by the Iowa Board of Regents. DEI services should be broadly available to all students and employees. Read the full report and recommendations.
CARRY YOUR ID ON YOUR PHONE: Iowans can now have their driver’s license or ID on their phone by downloading Iowa Mobile ID.