October 11, 2019
Greeting to you all,
In today’s economy, broadband is a necessity for every community in Iowa. Broadband, which is high-speed internet above 25 megabits per second (mbps), allows local businesses to operate and sell products around the world; doctors to see patients in rural areas through video services without interruptions; and students to take advantage of research and learn about new technologies.
Broadband is also an essential component of revitalizing rural Iowa. For entrepreneurs who want to start a new business, it is imperative that they have access to broadband services. Current businesses need broadband to expand and create new jobs. As more people work from home using computers, broadband can also be used to lure people to rural areas while keeping their job.
In schools, broadband services will help students be better prepared for college, trade school, and entering the workforce. In health care, increasing rural Iowa’s access to broadband allows hospitals and clinics to integrate telehealth services. Expanding broadband will also strengthen Iowa’s cybersecurity and protect the state’s digital infrastructure system from cyber-attacks, which has become one of the state’s top priorities.
Today, Iowa ranks 33rd as the most connected state. While there are more than 420 broadband providers in Iowa, there are still too many communities that unserved or underserved. Currently, there are 343,000 Iowans without access to high speed-internet; 474,000 Iowans who have access to only one wired provider; and 109,000 Iowans without any wired internet providers available in their area.
However, Iowa lawmakers have been working together to expand broadband to more homes, schools, and businesses. In 2018, the state’s efforts to expand broadband resulted in 54 projects across 78 counties that reached 21,952 houses, 41 schools, and 4,659 businesses. After awarding $1.3 million in grants earlier this year, the state is in the process of awarding another $5 million in grants to connect more Iowans.
As always, the Iowa Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.iowa.gov, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can now listen to or watch our debates live, when we are in session. I currently serve on four committees for this session: Commerce, Local Government, Public Safety and Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee.
Please check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts and forums, you can also reach me by email anytime 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
10 Amadeus Oster Regent Theatre, 7:30pm, 277-5283
10-13 Wartburg College Homecoming & Family Weekend Wartburg College Campus, Waverly, 800-772-2085
11 Lunchtime Concert Hearst Center, noon, 273-8641
11 Spotlight Series Concert: UNI Jazz Band One and Jazz Band Two UNI Campus, Russell Hall, 7:30pm, 273- 2024
12 Happy Haunts 5K & Kids Fun Run Cedar Falls Downtown District, 10am, 277-0213 12 wcfsymphony concert: Wonderful Winds Brown Derby, Waterloo, 4 & 7pm, 273-3373, wcfsymphony.org
12 Hawkeye RedTail Women’s & Men’s Soccer vs. NIACC Cedar Valley Sports Complex, 5pm & 7pm, 296-4430
12 2019 Breast Cancer Gala Five Sullivan Brothers, 6pm, 233-7560
12 Legacy Five Riverview Conference Center, 6pm, 268-0787
12 Black Hawks Hockey vs Tri-City Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291-7680
12-13 Amadeus Oster Regent Theatre, Sat 7:30pm; Sun 2pm, 277-5283
16 Hawkeye RedTail Volleyball vs. DMACC Hawkeye Community College, 7pm, 296-4430
17 Jazz, Folk & the Blues: History of Music – The Blues with Adrian Miller Hearst Center, 7pm, 273-8641
17-19 Panic Park Rotary Reserve, 7pm, 433- 7275
18 Faith’s Journey Riverview Conference Center, 7pm, 268-0787
18 Tonic Sol-fa Majestic Moon, 7pm, 234-2656
|News from the Statehouse|
Parts of Voter ID Law Struck Down by Iowa Courts
Parts of legislation that put substantial hurdles in front of voters trying to cast their vote have been deemed unconstitutional. A District Court judge ruled earlier this week that due to lack of training and potential for error, election officials are not allowed to throw ballots out due to a perceived difference in signature.
The judge also ruled that because there is now an identification requirement for those who wish to vote in person, everyone must be eligible for a voter identification card. Initially voter ID cards were only sent out to those who were not in the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) database. The court also ruled that additional requirements on an absentee ballot request are no longer required to be put on by the voter.
While those looking to make it harder for people to vote and voting rights advocates can both point to victories in the ruling, the ruling confirms what House Democrats sought from the beginning which was to guarantee that everyone could get a voter identification card if requiring a voter’s ID became law.
At the moment, it is unclear if the state who defended the law or the League of United Latin American Citizens and an Iowa State student who brought the suit will appeal the decision of the court.
2020 ACA Health Insurance Open Enrollment Begins Next Month
Open enrollment begins November 1, 2019 and ends December 15, 2019 for Iowans purchasing or chancing their Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual health insurance coverage for 2020.
Iowans can preview sample premium amounts for individual ACA-compliant health insurance plans at https://data.iowa.gov/d/xd92-u8rq. These sample premiums are NOT a substitute for healthcare.gov information, but will become official once they are posted to the official website. The sample premiums are based on geographical rating areas and do not account for the premium assistance tax credits available for many households.
Iowans who wish to purchase ACA-compliant coverage need to complete enrollment between November 1 and December 15, 2019 to have coverage effective by January 1, 2020. During open enrollment, Iowans may call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov for information regarding enrollment and to calculate applicable tax credits.
Local insurance agents, assisters, and Iowa’s navigator are available to help Iowans review which insurance plan may best fit their needs. Iowans can find local help by visiting https://localhelp.HealthCare.gov/.
Medica, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, and Wellmark Value Health Plan will be offering ACA-compliant individual health insurance plans to Iowans for plan year 2020. Iowans in every county will have a choice of at least two carriers. Iowans who currently have coverage through the exchange and do not choose a plan for 2020 by the end of open enrollment will be re-enrolled into the same or similar plan.
Those considering changing insurance carriers should double-check to ensure preferred healthcare provider(s) are in-network and prescription drugs will continue to be covered.
|Read More News from the Statehouse|
FAFSA, Student Financial Aid Applications Can Now Be Filed
Trump Trade War Continues to Effect Farmers, Ag Industry
Weight Limit Exceptions for Harvest Season
Governor Blocks Attorney General’s Work
Time to Get Your Flu Shot
Importance of School Breakfast to Students