Veterans Day is taking place on November 11th and it is our opportunity to support and recognize our Veterans for their service to our country. This coming Tuesday is Election Day and make sure you vote. Here is a link to help you with questions for voting. iwillvote.com
Iowa has a ranking of 45th in the Nation for mental health workforce availability. 51st in the numbers of mental health institute beds, 47th for the numbers of psychiatrists and 46th for the numbers of psychologists. We can do better for mental health in Iowa. Key findings information below is what is occurring across the United States. #mentalhealth
In the Statehouse Newsletter, you will find information about:
Make a Plan to Vote.
People over Politics
Gun Safety is on the Ballot November 8th.
Veterans Day is a time to honor our Veterans.
Supporting our Iowa Teachers.
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!
Make your plan to vote: register to vote, return your vote-by-mail ballot, find a satellite voting location, or find your Election Day polling place. Below is everything you need to make sure your ballot is counted and your voice is heard this November.
Register to Vote
Iowans who are not yet registered to vote can still register on Election Day by taking advantage of Iowa’s Same Day Voter Registration process. A voter who wants to register on Election Day will need:
Proof of ID that is valid, current, and contains an expiration date. These include a driver’s license, out of state driver’s license or non-driver ID card, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID, Tribal ID, ID card issued by an employer, or student ID by an Iowa High School or college.
Proof of residence includes: a residential lease, utility or cell phone bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document. If a voter does not have either of these, they can have a registered voter in their precinct attest for them by both signing an oath.
Return Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot
If you have a vote-by-mail ballot (otherwise known as an absentee ballot) you can return it by mail for free. The USPS recommends getting your ballot in the mail by November 1st to ensure delivery on time. It must be received by your county auditor before polls close at 8 PM on Tuesday, November 8. Any ballots received after 8 PM on Tuesday will not be counted. Instead, we recommend hand delivering your ballot to your local county auditor’s office to ensure delivery on time!
As of the beginning of this week, over 199,000 Iowans had already cast their vote. With a vote-by-mail return rate of 54%, many Iowans who have requested to vote early still have yet to return their ballot.
Vote Early In-Person
Iowans can also vote in person before the election at their local county auditor’s office or at a satellite location in their area. To find an early voting location, or the address of your county auditor go to iwillvote.com.
Vote at the Polls on November 8th
Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. If you are currently registered to vote in Iowa, you will be asked on Election Day to show a valid form of identification (ID) before casting a ballot. The following types of ID are accepted:
Driver’s License or Non-operator ID
Military or Veterans ID
State Issued voter ID card
Tribal Identification Card
Precinct voting locations are open from 7 AM to 8 PM. As long as voters are in line by 8 PM, they will be allowed to vote. Voters can find their polling locations by checking here: iwillvote.com.
Democrats are Putting People Over Politics
Iowans use common sense to get things done, and want their elected leaders to do the same. This means electing people who will listen and focus on the issues important to them. That’s why Iowa House Democrats have put forth a policy agenda that puts people over politics. Every one of these ideas is supported by a strong majority of Iowans.
The agenda has four main components aimed at improving the lives of everyday people: lowering costs for Iowans, protecting reproductive freedom, investing in public schools, and legalizing marijuana.
Lowering costs for Iowans
Too many Iowans are still struggling to make ends meet today. Their 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.
Protecting reproductive freedom
Everyone deserves the right to make their own health care decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion. We will guarantee reproductive freedom by adding it to Iowa’s Constitution.
Investing in public schools
For generations, Iowans have counted on our great public schools to educate our kids and be the heart of our communities large and small. But we’ve lost ground and our public school kids are losing out and teachers are leaving the classroom. We must fully fund public schools to keep up with rising costs and make sure every kid, in every zip code gets a great education. We also need to raise pay for educators and give them a seat at the table, and stop the Governor’s private school voucher plan to ensure public money is used to help public schools.
A majority of adult Iowans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Legalizing marijuana for adult use will keep Iowans safe, 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 unfairly punish Iowans.
It won’t be easy and the problems we face today won’t be fixed overnight. Iowans have every right to be skeptical and we may not agree every time, but we’re committed to listening and fighting for the Iowa values we all share.
Gun Safety is on the Ballot
November 8th Iowans have the opportunity to flip over their ballot and protect their right to live free of gun violence. We want the freedom to send our kids to school and live normally in our communities without the fear of shootings.
Iowa is one of six states without a state constitutional amendment mirroring the U.S. Second Amendment. However, instead of adding the Second Amendment to Iowa’s Constitution, this ballot measure goes beyond rights already granted with the U.S. Second Amendment. The Republican party rejected House Democrats’ efforts to put the U.S. Second Amendment into Iowa’s Constitution and instead proposed an extreme measure that states:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
“Strict scrutiny” is the most severe form of judicial review when considering challenges to firearm-related laws and regulations. Iowa judges would have to rule any current, or future, firearm regulation as unconstitutional unless law enforcement, county prosecutors, or the state government proves that the restriction is absolutely necessary, something the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t require.
If adopted, the measure will do the following:
Eliminate background checks for all gun purchases
Allow guns in schools, hospitals, child care centers, courthouses, and private businesses
Allow hunters to shoot over public highways
Completely eliminate Iowa’s permit to carry concealed handgun systems used by law enforcement and public safety officials.
This measure also directly threatens Iowa’s prohibition on domestic abusers and violent criminals from possessing guns. Law enforcement officials would be unable to hold gun offenders accountable, placing their lives, and communities’ safety, at risk.
Tragedies like those at East High School in Des Moines, the church in Ames, school shootings in St. Louis, MO and Uvalde, TX forced American families to grieve loved ones far too soon. Iowans want to live free of gun violence; to send kids to school and live normally in communities without fear of shootings.
Iowa House Democrats support Iowans’ Second Amendment rights, which are already protected under the U.S. Constitution. Voting “no” on this ballot measure will give freedom to send our kids to school and live normally in our communities without fear of shootings.
Veterans Day – A Time to Honor our Veterans
Veterans Day is Friday, November, 11 and there are several ceremonies being held across the state to honor those who have served our country.
There will be an Iowa Veterans Day Observance at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, beginning at 8:00 am. After the ceremony, there will be a breakfast at the Veterans Reception Center in Van Meter. A full list of Veterans Day events statewide is available at: va.iowa.gov.
Last session, the Legislature passed various bills to help Iowa’s veterans. This includes increasing the number of special deer hunting tags issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reserved for veteran groups that host guided hunt tours from 25 to 75, and allowing veterans who have a permanent service-connected disability rating of one hundred percent to buy a lifetime trout fishing license.
More Should be Done to Support Iowa Educators
Iowa educators deserve our respect, thanks, and support.
From teaching in the classroom, to coaching our kids on the field, to running after school study sessions, teachers are always there for Iowa’s kids.
The last two years have been especially tough for many educators and support staff who have put in long hours, doing their very best to help our kids through this pandemic. And it doesn’t help that on the other side of the aisle in the Iowa State Legislature, a GOP lawmaker made headlines by vilifying teachers, claiming they have a “sinister agenda.”
Here are just a few other steps Republican leaders have taken recently that weaken our public schools:
Threatening teachers with jail
Preventing teachers from talking about history
Pushing private school vouchers that shift millions of dollars from public schools to private schools
We need to provide incentives to fully support educators and guarantee every kid in every zip code gets a great education, incentives such as:
Fully funding public schools to keep up with rising costs and guarantee every kid in every zip code gets a great education
Raising pay for educators and give them a seat at the table
Help the teacher shortage in Iowa with the Teach Iowa Scholar Program and removing barriers to get more students into the teaching field.
Stopping the Governor’s private school voucher plan to ensure public money is used to help public schools.
Iowa House Democrats are committed to great public schools and supporting our educators.
Iowa’s Public Employees Overwhelmingly Vote to Keep Union
Representation Public employees from across Iowa voted overwhelmingly to keep their union representation last week. Thousands of teachers, healthcare workers, county employees, fire fighters, and other public employees participated in the recertification election and more than 150 local unions were recertified for the next round of contract negotiations. These unions represent workers in school districts, hospitals, law enforcement, cities, counties, area education agencies, and community colleges across Iowa.
In 2017, Republican lawmakers passed legislation to gut Iowa’s successful collective bargaining law and take away public employees’ voices in their workplace. Under the new regulations, the public employee union must hold a recertification election every year, or whatever is stated in their contract, before bargaining for a new contract. The kicker: employees that do not participate and cast a vote are automatically counted as “no” votes. Despite these new hurdles, public employees have consistently and overwhelmingly voted to recertify their local unions.
Other Iowa News
USDA LOAN RELIEF FOR FARMERS: Over $800 million of debt relief was given to 13,000 farmers across the United States who had taken out loans with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and fell behind on payments or faced foreclosure. This relief was provided by the Federal Inflation Reduction Act. The USDA loans were provided to farmers who could not access sufficient commercial credit. Now, the USDA has also begun to provide $66 million in direct payments to farmers with USDA loans who used the disaster set-aside option due to COVID. Farmers will receive a payment for the set-aside amount that remains outstanding. The USDA is also providing direct payments on a case-by-case basis to borrowers who are facing bankruptcy, foreclosure, or have insufficient funds to make their next loan payment. Borrowers are encouraged to contact their local service center to see if they qualify. More information on the loan forgiveness programs can be found on the USDA website at: farmers.gov/inflation-reduction-investments. The Inflation Reduction Act provided the USDA with $3.1 billion to use to assist distressed farm borrowers. The USDA will announce more assistance programs in the future.
HARVEST SEASON WEIGHT LIMIT EXCEPTIONS EXTENDED: The Harvest Proclamation, an exemption signed by the Governor allowing temporary weight limit exceptions for trucks operating on Iowa roads, has been extended through November 27th. The 2022 Harvest Proclamation specifically increases the weight allowable for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw, and stover, up to a maximum of 90,000 pounds, without the need for an overweight permit. A second proclamation was signed allowing trucks transporting fuel to weigh up to 90,000 pounds without a permit. It also temporarily suspends hours of service for crews and drivers transporting fuel and is in effect through November 27th. The proclamations apply to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the interstate system. Trucks must still comply with posted weight limits on roads and bridges.
STREAMLINED PROCESS FOR BUSINESS FILINGS ENTERING NEXT PHASE: The next rollout of the state’s new system to streamline filing for businesses will launch on November 14th. GovConnectIowa is the state’s user portal for renewing business licenses, tax returns, and payments. Businesses will be able to use the portal for new tax types, new licenses, and certain tax credits. When the new rollout is completed, businesses will have more ability to manage accounts and make payments through the GovConnectIowa system. There will also be expanded opportunities to manage tax credits through the portal. Some changes in the system might be noticed by users after the rollout. Certain previous functionality and drafts will be removed from the system to implement the new functionality. Detailed information on the GovConnectIowa portal and the new functionality can be found at: tax.iowa.gov/gci-adds-function.