Hopefully, everyone is doing okay! Thanksgiving is coming soon and is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends. The upcoming Legislative session will begin on January 9th. There will be several issues to address during the session, including lowering costs for Iowans, protecting reproductive freedoms, investing in our public schools and working to improve access to mental health services for Iowans. Please reach out to me with your thoughts and ideas for legislation during the upcoming session.
In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:
Lowering Costs for Iowans.
Affordable Healthcare Open Enrollment Begins.
Election Law Changes Drive Down Voter Turnout.
Get Your Flu Shot and your Covid-19 Booster before the Holidays.
Large Numbers of Recyclable Items are ending up in Iowa’s Landfills.
Please share your comments with me.
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!
With the holidays right around the corner, too many Iowans are still struggling to make ends meet. Iowa’s wages simply aren’t keeping up with the rising costs of healthcare, food, child care, and utility bills. We need to make housing and child care affordable, raise wages, and lower taxes for working families, instead of more handouts to big corporations.
Federal officials have been working overtime to keep up with these issues on a larger scale by providing states with assistance to increase childcare, housing, and healthcare options through several rounds of legislation. Most recently, the Inflation Reduction Act has helped lower gas prices by over $1.20 since the summer’s peak by holding big corporations accountable and it also capped the cost of insulin for Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, Iowans will lose out on some of the assistance that would lower housing and child care costs because some leaders in Iowa have chosen to put politics first.
Just a few weeks ago, Governor Kim Reynolds deliberately made a decision to skip out on $30 million in federal dollars that would have helped families access basic child care services. With many Iowa families living in a childcare desert, these additional dollars would have helped Iowa invest in early-childhood care and help children from low-income families enter kindergarten prepared and ready to succeed in school.
In early November, Governor Reynolds also delayed the use of $89 million set aside to help many Iowans with rental assistance. This delay means this assistance will likely be returned to the U.S. Treasury for use in other states. At a time when families are short affordable housing units, we should not be letting these dollars earmarked for Iowans to be sent to another state or city.
Iowans are deeply frustrated that politics was put ahead of making their lives better. Whether it’s public schools, housing, or child care, elected official should always put people over politics.
Affordable Healthcare Open Enrollment Begins
Starting this month, Iowans are able to sign up for high-quality, affordable health insurance on Healthcare.gov.
Marketplace Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023. Anyone who enrolls by midnight December 15, 2022 may receive full-year coverage beginning January 1, 2023.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act, a majority of people continue to have access to affordable premiums that help lower costs for families. Four out of five customers are able to find plans for $10 or less per month after tax credits. Families who have found employer insurance unaffordable in the past should look at new saving opportunities on Healthcare.gov.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums are at an all-time low, while enrollment is at an all-time high due to Democrats’ efforts. Families are saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums which is a $200 in savings every month back to families. The Biden Administration has lowered costs and increased enrollment to a record high of 14.5 million Americans including nearly six million who newly gained coverage.
Iowa’s ACA enrollment has increased from 49,210 in 2019 to 72,240 in 2022, nearly doubling 2016’s peak ACA enrollment numbers. To date, the Majority Party in Iowa has not proposed legislation that would expand Iowan’s access to comprehensive affordable healthcare in addition to the ACA. Iowa House Democrats will continue to fight for Iowans’ access to comprehensive, affordable healthcare and lower their consumer costs.
Election Law Changes Drive Down Voter Turnout
Over the last several years, Iowans have seen the timeline to vote early getting shorter and shorter. Prior to 2018, Iowans had 40 days to vote early via vote-by-mail or in-person at a satellite location or the County Auditor’s Office. During this year’s midterm election, Iowans had just 20 days to vote early.
Because of this, early voting was down by more than 170,000 Iowans when compared to the 2018 midterm election, and total early voting requests were down by nearly 200,000. It was not just early voting that saw lower turnout, unofficial reports show that overall turnout was down by 100,000 votes compared to the 2018 midterm.
Besides shortening the early voting timeline, voter suppression efforts by GOP lawmakers put more restrictions on voting by mail, as well as shortening election day voting by an hour. Some legislators thought that these changes were needed in order to protect the “integrity” of the election, but instead it has turned out to be a more frustrating process for Iowans leading to a lower turnout.
Get Your Flu Shot and COVID-19 Booster before the Holiday Season
Flu season is here and early red flags suggest it’s on track to be bad. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Flu View report show extraordinarily high numbers of positive flu tests reported to the agency from labs around the U.S.
Because of the high numbers of infections, Iowans are encouraged to get their vaccinations soon, especially with new variants of COVID-19 infections still happening across the state. You can receive both your flu shot and the COVID-19 booster at the same time. Each shot will protect most people throughout the year. It’s free, safe, effective, and convenient to get.
Getting the updated vaccine as soon as you can, will put you and your family in good shape ahead of the holidays. In addition, by getting vaccinated, you prevent spreading the viruses to those around you. For more information visit: idph.iowa.gov/FluAndCovid.
Other Iowa News
IOWA’S FUR HARVEST SEASON IN FULL SWING: Beginning on November 5, Iowans were able to get outdoors and start trapping and hunting furbearers. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that the furbearer population in the state is stable or trending up for most species, with the exception of muskrats and the gray fox. Furbearers include beavers, river otters, bobcats, raccoons, striped skunks, red fox, opossum, badgers, coyotes, minks, muskrats and gray fox. Due to new legislation, youth will now be able to accompany a licensed adult trapper in the field without a license as long as they don’t participate. If the youth would like to participate, they will need to pay $7.50 for a youth furharvester license. Almost 15,300 Iowans purchased a furharvester license in 2021, consistent with the past six years. If Iowans are interested in learning more about trapping furbearers in Iowa, please visit: iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Trapping-Fur-Harvesting.
TOO MANY RECYCLABLE ITEMS ENDING UP IN LANDFILLS IN IOWA: A new study revealed as much as 70% of what is going in Iowa landfills could be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. The Department of Natural Resources recently completed its 2022 Statewide Materials Characterization Study. The study also showed that food waste is by far the most common material going to the state’s landfills. The second most common material arriving at landfills is plastic. For construction and demolition solid waste, roofing materials make up over 30% of the total composition, followed by painted or stained wood and gypsum board. The new information gathered by hand sorting solid waste at ten landfills across the state, will be used to implement and update current policies related to solid waste, including recycling programs and waste reduction efforts. The study is also used to help determine if waste reduction and recycling programs are working. The full study can be found at: iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/waste/faba_wastecharacterization2022.pdf.