Archive for May 15, 2012
This video shows just a few of the glaring examples of how out-of-touch Mitt Romney is with working people. Watch the Meet Mr. 1% video here:
WHAT: Press conference on Mitt Romney’s business philosophy
WHO: Ken Sagar, Iowa AFL-CIO President; Midge Slater, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans; Morgan Miller, recent University of Iowa graduate , Joe Nehring, AFSCME member and Gabe de la Cerda, Des Moines Steel Worker.
WHERE: Lawn of the Des Moines Public Library Lawn; Grand Ave between 10th and 12th Street; Des Moines, IA
2012 successes for jobs, education, economy
The 2012 session resulted in some significant successes for Iowans.
We’ve once again balanced the state budget without raising taxes. And we’ve approved measures that will move this state forward, create jobs, grow our economy, increase student achievement and expand educational opportunity.
The Legislature did its best work when we refused to be distracted by divisive issues and instead worked together on the top priorities of Iowans. Highlights include:
** Encouraging economic growth and job creation through targeted business incentives, university-supported business development, and funding for local Workforce Development field offices that help out-of-work Iowans find jobs and local businesses find employees.
** Expanding training to ease Iowa’s skilled worker shortage by developing and enhancing programs at our community colleges, which have a tradition of working closely with local business to meet workforce needs.
** Launching education reform that reinforces the importance of early grade literacy, increases parental involvement, establishes annual teacher performance reviews, expands student assessments, and continues funding for smaller class sizes for kids learning to read.
** Making tuition more affordable at community colleges, state universities and private colleges, as well as expanding tuition grants for returning National Guard soldiers.
** Intensifying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) efforts in K12 schools, along with expanding career-oriented engineering education.
** Jumpstarting Iowa’s solar and geothermal energy industry through targeted tax credits.
** Reforming Iowa’s mental health system to ensure all Iowans receive high-quality services regardless of where they live.
I also voted to increase support for local schools and to significantly cut commercial property taxes. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough support to make these investments that so many Iowans wanted.
Thank you to all who took the time to contact me during the session. Your ideas, suggestions and priorities are reflected in many of the bills that made it to the Governor’s desk.
Education budget boosts key job creation efforts
In the last days of the 2012 session, the Legislature approved a bipartisan compromise on the state’s Education Budget that includes key job creation measures.
Most importantly, we voted to boost investment in our outstanding community colleges so that they can help Iowans fill skilled job shortages. When Iowa employers can’t find the skilled workers they need, they’re left with three choices: lose business to competitors, hire from out-of-state, or move their business out of Iowa.
Under Senate File 2321, investment in workforce training will increase to $8 million next year, a hike of 60 percent. That includes $2 million for the new GAP Tuition Fund, which helps Iowans earn certificates in welding, information technology and other in-demand jobs. And $6 million will go to the Accelerated Career Education (ACE) program.
In addition, general community college funding will increase by $13 million, and the institutions will receive an additional $5 million for maintenance.
The Education Budget also boosts funding for Iowa’s public universities by $23 million, an amount the Board of Regents has said will help prevent future tuition increases. Tuition grants for private colleges increase by 4.6 percent, and funds for the National Guard tuition program go up by 7 percent.
By keeping tuition costs down, we increase educational opportunity and make it possible for Iowa’s families to afford a great future for their kids. Ultimately, investing in education and job training helps Iowans become more productive, competitive workers, grows our economy and boosts job creation.
SF 2321 now goes to Governor Branstad for his signature.
Tackling designer drugs
The abuse of harmful “designer drugs” is on the rise in Iowa.
You may have heard of some of these substances, which are concocted in chemistry labs and sold under such names as K2 and spice (types of synthetic marijuana) and bath salts (synthetic stimulants). These drugs have caused an alarming rise in emergency room visits among those who use them.
That’s why legislators have worked with law enforcement to ban these drugs through Senate File 2343, part of a larger effort to reduce dangerous drug use in Iowa.
Bath salts are stimulants that are ingested or snorted to get high. Poison control centers report that bath salts can lead to extreme paranoia, suicidal thoughts, agitation, combative and violent behavior, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and serious injury or death.
The effects of synthetic marijuana, such as K2, spice and Black Blaze, can vary significantly from person to person. Ill effects can include paranoia, agitation, vomiting, seizures, lack of pain response and uncontrollable body movements.
SF 2343 passed the House and Senate and has gone to the Governor for his signature.
Participate in parade to honor vets, service members
A parade called “A Salute to our Veterans and Service Members” will be held on June 30 in downtown Des Moines. The parade is being coordinated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Iowa National Guard and the Governor’s office to recognize the achievements and dedication of Iowa’s service men and women. For more information or to participate in the parade, call the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-838-4692.
2012 Iowa Transportation Map available
Showing roadways, rivers, rail lines and more from Larchwood in the northwest to Keokuk in the southeast, the new 2012 Iowa Transportation Map is now out—and it’s free!
Maps are available throughout the state at driver’s license stations, Department of Transportation offices and Iowa’s rest areas and welcome centers. You can also get a complete Iowa travel packet that includes the new map and 2012 Iowa Travel Guide by calling 1-800-345-IOWA or visit www.traveliowa.com.
Des Moines, IA 50319
2609 Clearview Drive
Burlington, IA 52601