From the desk of State Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg:
This email update is to give you “end of session” information and to invite you to the Climate Marches happening this Saturday, April 29, in conjunction with the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.
Climate March, Saturday, April 29
The Climate March reflects both the urgent need to act on climate change – to safeguard our people, our property, and our future from the dangers of climate change – as well as the tremendous economic and health benefits that are available if we support the many climate change solutions that work.
Here is the schedule of events in or near Iowa:
– Des Moines, State Capitol, 1:00 p.m.
– Cedar Rapids, Greene Square Park, 4:30 p.m.
– Maquoketa, Downtown Green Space, 9:30 a.m.
– Quad Cities, Modern Woodmen Park, noon
– Iowa City, Pedestrian Mall, 1:30 p.m.
– Omaha, Nebraska, Gene Leahy Mall, noon
– Lacrosse, Wisconsin, downtown, 11:00 a.m.
Please attend the march nearest you. I will be attending the march at the Iowa State Capitol at1:00 p.m. If you are in the area, I hope to see you there.
Veto Advocacy with Governor Branstad (515-281-5211)
There are two pieces of legislation that I believe Governor Branstad might veto if he hears from enough Iowans.
The first (Sections 30-35 of Senate File 510 ) is the “elimination” of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Gov. Branstad created the Center in 1987, and many charitable donations have been made to the Center since that time. Those gifts would lapse if he signs the bill eliminating the Center. He can – and should – item veto the closing of the Leopold Center. It helps farmers through research to diversify production, create new markets, and reduce input costs. It also attracts students to Iowa State who are interested in sustainable agriculture research.
The second is the bill (House File 625 ) that eliminates the children’s health insurance outreach on Iowa’s tax forms. No interest groups registered for the bill, and it would take away a cost-effective form of outreach to make sure children have the health insurance for which they are eligible.
Please call Governor Branstad’s office today to ask him to veto one or both of these measures.
Update on The “Dirty Dozen” – Bills That Did Not Pass
Earlier this session, I asked for your help to stop 12 bills I labeled the “dirty dozen” in committee.
We successfully stopped eight of those bills:
– End licensing for various occupations (HSB138)
– So-called “personhood” bill (SF253)
– Partisan take-over of judicial nominations (SF327)
– Reinstatement of death penalty (SF335 F336)
– Allowing firearms on campus (SF256)
– Requiring video cameras in classrooms (SF294)
– Political party test for college faculty (SF288)
– Legislative take-over of Des Moines Water Works (HF484/SF456)
With your help, we stopped these bills, and then we stopped another three bills that I highlighted for you after the first legislative funnel:
– Religious exemptions from regulation for private boarding schools (SF443/HF602)
– Ending the bottle and can deposit law (HF575)
– Unfunded mandate on local governments to enforce federal immigration laws (SF481)
Unfortunately, all of these bills remain eligible for next year. HF602 has already passed the House, while SF481 has already passed the Senate. Please keep speaking up during the legislative interim through January on these and other issues.
Worst Twenty Bills That Did Pass
That leaves my “Worst 20 Bills” that did pass and have been signed or are under consideration by Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds. Here they are in numeric order:
– Made major mid-year budget cuts for community colleges and universities, courts, corrections, public safety, and human services, and emptied the Cultural Trust Fund
– Short-changed Iowa’s public school students with 3rd lowest school aid formula investment ever (1.11%)
– Prohibited local governments from using pre-qualification for project bidders
– Restricted rights of property owners to bring nuisance actions against animal feeding operations
– Imposed new procedural hurdles and caps on malpractice claims by injured patients
– Banned abortions after 20 weeks, without exception for fetal anomaly, and imposed a 72-hour waiting period for all abortions – certain to face Constitutional challenge
– Created 62-day fireworks season, took away local control over fireworks sales
– Cut state funding for services to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault by 26% ($1.7M cut) and made additional cuts to corrections ($7.3M total cut)
– Eliminated the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State, eliminated Watershed Improvement Review program, and slashed natural resource funding (REAP) by 25% ($4M cut) (still hoping Governor Branstad will veto the elimination of the Leopold Center)
– Despite budget cuts, gave $150,000 for Lt. Gov. Reynolds to “transition” to new office
– Circumvented “Buy American” and “prevailing wage” rules for road projects
– Took away bargaining rights from more than 180,000 public service workers
– Reduced the minimum wage for 65,000 Iowans, took away local regulation of consumer sales
– Created new government barriers to voting, issued costly new voter cards (cost: $700K+)
– Reduced local control over firearms in public buildings, expanded use of deadly force
– Created barriers and reduced compensation for future injured workers
– Took away outreach for our children’s health insurance program (HAWK-I) (still hoping Governor Branstad will veto this)
– Cut funds for nursing home inspections ($270K cut) and food safety inspections ($700K cut)
– Made deeper cuts to university funding (total $24M cut – for University of Iowa and Iowa State University, lowest funding level since 1998), cut Iowa Flood Center ($300K cut); cut early childhood programs ($1M cut), cut vocational rehabilitation for workers with disabilities ($300K cut), and reduced National Guard tuition assistance ($1M cut)
– Cut field operations for department of human services (over $10M cut), reducing child abuse and elder abuse investigations; cut local hospital reimbursements (over $27M cut); cut veterans home ownership assistance by 20% ($500K cut); cut two remaining mental health institutions ($1.7M cut); and made Planned Parenthood ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement for birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive health services starting July 1, taking away access to health care and costing Iowa approximately $3 million in federal funding
I hope this information is helpful. If you would like more information, please read the “2017 Legislative Session in Review” at www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats .
Senator Rob Hogg
Senate Democratic Leader