DES MOINES— Yesterday the Iowa House of Representatives passed HF 2381, a bill that adds a section to existing Iowa Code that provides “any person, trust, corporation or other entity may possess a firearm suppressor if the firearm suppressor is registered and possessed in compliance with federal law and regulations.” The vote was 83-16.
“Another bill I am working on is to allow Iowans the opportunity to own a firearm suppressor,” said Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) in a newsletter. “As I have said before, law abiding citizens are just that, law abiding. We should be allowing Iowans to exercise their rights to the greatest degree possible and not be imposing burdensome restrictions on their Constitutional rights.”
“We’ll take a look at that but it’s my plan not to take up any firearm legislation this year,” said State Senator Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids), chairman of the senate judiciary committee, in response to news of the bill’s passing.
So is the cycle in a divided legislature. One chamber proposes, and the other moderates. Here is how house members voted.
“The Republicans who run your Iowa House say they won’t approve public school funding for the 2015-2016 school year, even though the law requires it.”
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa Executive Director
DATE: February 14th, 2014
RE: Iowa’s ‘House of Distractions’
The Iowa legislature failed to meet a crucial deadline yesterday, when they were supposed to approve K-12 funding for the 2015-2016 school year.
Securing that funding in advance is even more crucial now, as our schools are funded at $1,500 lower per pupil than the national average, and more and more students are living in or on the brink of poverty. Those students count on our public schools for opportunity, and rely on our elected officials for leadership.
Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a 6% funding increase for next year, meeting their obligation to our students and restoring critical funding for our schools. Unfortunately, the Iowa House of Representatives refused to consider any increase and did almost everything except fund our schools during the past week, turning themselves into the Iowa House of Distractions.
What has the House of Distractions been doing, if not following the law and funding our schools? Here are a few of the issues they chose to focus on this week:
Comparing guns to hot dogs: Rep. Matt Windschitl, debating HJR4, compared gun deaths to deaths caused by… hot dogs. If we regulate guns, we might as well regulate hot dogs.
Restricting access to women’s health care: The House passed a bill banning the use of so-called telemedicine delivery systems for medication abortion, restricting access for women primarily in rural areas. They did this despite the fact that as access and education about abortion has increased, the rate has decreased.
Listening to the extreme right on education: In a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Sandy Salmon, only right wing experts were heard, including a self-proclaimed author of template legislation for ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. No parents, teachers, or students were listed as invited participants.
Email sent by Rep. Sandy Salmon; emphasis/highlight added, 2/9/14:
From: “Salmon, Sandy [LEGIS]”
Date: February 9, 2014 at 6:30:35 AM CST
Subject: testimony for subcommittee
Thank you for serving on a subcommittee with me that will look at issues related to the Common Core.
I wanted to give you the heads up that some speakers will be coming from out-of-town to give testimony at the subcommittee meeting. They are the following people:
Jane Robbins J.D., senior fellow at the American Principles Project, whose work includes education policy, student privacy and parental rights issues. Ms. Robbins has drafted state legislation on educational transparency and sovereignty that has led to a parallel resolution by the South Carolina Southern Baptist Convention, model ALEC legislation, and emulated legislation in several states.
Henry Burke of Omaha, Nebraska, is a Civil Engineer with a B.S.C.E. and M.S.C.E. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) for 37 years and has worked as a Civil Engineer in construction for over 40 years. Mr. Burke had a successful 27-year career with a large construction company.
Henry Burke serves as a full-time volunteer to oversee various construction projects. He has written numerous articles on education, engineering, construction, politics, taxes, and the economy including state specific costs for the implementation of Common Core / Iowa Core.
Bruno Behrend, J.D. is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute in Chicago. The mission of the Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.
Thank you for helping to look into this and we’ll see you this coming week!
State Representative Iowa House District 63
Following only the laws they choose to follow: After failing to meet the school funding deadline set by state law, the Iowa House passed a bill changing state law, meaning they could delay funding. One Representative who opposed the change asked “so you’re going to pick and choose which laws you follow?”
None of these proposals are expected to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate. All of these proposals serve only as a distraction from the real responsibilities of the Iowa House, the first of which is funding our schools. While they should have been working toward better opportunities for Iowa students, they instead chose to spend time on distractions.
More than 1,700 have petitioned House leadership to fund our schools. School administrators oppose their funding delay by a 98 percent margin. It’s time the leadership in the Iowa House of Representatives start leading and stop distracting. They should put an end to the House of Distractions and get to work.
There is a bill in the senate that not only offers protections for pets it helps people because it makes it easier to leave, knowing you can protect your pet. Currently, a protective order can protect you, your children, your car and other possessions, but not a pet.
Please contact your senator if you are in support of this bill. Here is the wording for SF 177. http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=true&ga=85&hbill=SF177
The bill was introduced by Senators Beall, Bolkcom, Hogg, Dvorsky, Dotzler, Seng, Petersen, Hart, Horn, Dearden, Ragan, McCoy, and Quirmbach.
We hope this bill is not too “controversial” to pass this session.
“The Iowa Senate is looking at a bill to better protect pets in domestic abuse households. The bill would make it easier for victims of domestic abuse to include their pets in a protective order.
Commercial livestock are not included under the bill, only companion pets.
Advocates say this is about people more than it is pets. According to the American Humane Association, roughly 70 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported their abuser had injured or threatened to abuse a family pet to control their victims.
Adrienne Smith has spent three years working with politicians pushing this bill forward.
Let’s make this easier for a victim to leave a dangerous relationship. Let’s give them one little thing, one law that’s going to make it easier for them to leave,” Smith said.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill last week.
There is not yet a set date for when the full Senate will take up the bill.”
Why do House Republicans think a child in Iowa is worth $1,500 less than the national average? Click here and tell them to fully fund our schools!
Iowa school funding is well below the national average, with per pupil spending lagging behind by $1,500. The Senate passed a 6% increase in school funding for the 2015-2016 school year to help fix the funding gap, and they did so before the deadline required by state law. Unfortunately, multiple press reports indicate that House Republicans have no interest in even considering this increase.
We need to fully fund our schools and provide every opportunity for Iowa students. Send House Leadership a message today. Tell them to fund our schools!
The Cedar Rapids Gazette put it best this morning:
“The Republicans who run your Iowa House say they won’t approve public school funding for the 2015-2016 school year, even though the law requires it.”
Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, and our schools deserve to know in advance what resources they will have to provide those opportunities. That’s why state law requires school funding to be set two years in advance.
House Republicans have given every indication that they will ignore state law and make sure Iowa schoolchildren are valued far below the national average. At a time when more and more children in Iowa are living in poverty and falling behind, their failed leadership is a disgrace, and does a disservice to our state’s future.
You and I both know that the best way for Iowa’s children to get ahead is to give them every opportunity in the classroom.
Send House Republicans a message today. Tell them that no Iowa child is worth less than the national average.
Thanks for all you do,
When I was in the military, I bought my first and only packs of cigarettes. I tried a few puffs, and never had another. Tobacco control is a complicated issue that affects much of society, and has little to do with one person’s choices about tobacco use. It is one where tobacco control advocates need to stick together.
Tobacco products are readily available to anyone who wants them today, despite restrictions on sales to minors. Tobacco is a legal, addictive substance, the use of which is widely accepted. The disease treatment costs of tobacco use have been quantified, and tobacco use presents a tangible, persistent and preventable threat to public health.
Both of my parents smoked tobacco when I was a child, and until the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act was passed in 2008, the air in many public places contained tobacco smoke. We don’t hear as much about tobacco issues these days, despite the ubiquitous presence of tobacco products in retail stores. The legal struggle between tobacco companies and tobacco control advocacy groups has continued, but has largely gone silent.
In Iowa, the coalition of tobacco control advocates includes the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, American Lung Association, the Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance (ITPA) and Clean Air For Everyone Iowa Citizen’s Action Network (CAFE Iowa CAN). I was previously a board member for the latter organization. The work of this coalition is focused on securing government funds for a comprehensive tobacco control program.
In a December 2013 letter to legislators, the group wrote,
Smoking cessation efforts are essential public health initiatives that both directly and indirectly impact our entire state. Statewide programs that are funded through the Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control can help reduce the enormous financial toll attributed to tobacco related use, not to mention the 4,400 Iowans who die each year from usage. Annually, tobacco related disease costs Iowans nearly $3 billion, of which $301 million is billed to Medicaid. To substantially reduce this expenditure, the CDC recommends Iowa appropriate $36.7 million annually to properly implement a comprehensive tobacco control policy. However, last year the division only received $5.3 million.
Governor Branstad’s budget proposal would reduce expenditures in the tobacco control program by $75,000, with reductions targeted to printed educational materials and social media funding. It is a small percentage of the total, and depending upon who the governor appoints to fill the vacant director of the Iowa Department of Public Health position, the proposed budget should have support. It is a modest budget compared to the CDC recommendation.
What is at issue during the remainder of the 85th Iowa General Assembly is regulation of e-cigarettes, which are currently unregulated. Tobacco control advocates want e-cigarettes regulated as a tobacco product, something the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would like as well. The tobacco industry is working toward creating an environment where e-cigarettes are socially acceptable, are widely available, and can be used everywhere. At the beginning of the legislative session, the issue was largely off the radar of legislators who were focused on the youth prevention aspect of this issue. Tobacco control advocates are expected to change that, and are trying to pass legislation they can support.
There are at least three bills pertaining to e-cigarettes written by the tobacco industry (companies like Altria and RJ Reynolds). In parentheses are the tobacco control advocates’ concerns with the legislation as written. The bills were all introduced by Democratic legislators:
HF 2034, which will define e-cigarettes as other tobacco products, regulating them like most other tobacco products. (In this bill, e-cigarettes are not rolled into the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act).
SF 2038, prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. (The bill doesn’t define e-cigarettes as other tobacco products).
SSB 3101, prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. (The bill doesn’t define e-cigarettes as other tobacco products).
Like with any legislation, the pro- and anti-tobacco control lobbyists will advocate with legislators to get favorable wording in any potential law. I have lived in Iowa long enough to know that the probable outcome of the legislative initiative may be for Iowa to wait until the FDA rules on e-cigarettes, then deal with the regulatory issues. I’m not hopeful the legislature will pass any of these three bills this session. Preventing the tobacco industry wording in them would be a victory of sorts for tobacco control advocates.
The following letter to the editor by David Johnson was published in the West Branch Times on January 24th.
With the legislature back in session, we’ll soon be bombarded with letters from our elected officials in Des Moines, telling us what wonderful things they accomplished last year, and what they have in store for us this year.
Be sure to watch for key words like “bipartisanship” and “historic.” While last year’s agreement on property tax reform was historic, and passed with bipartisan support, it’s not something to brag about.
Cutting taxes for commercial and industrial property owners is going to be expensive, and no magic back-fill is going to be able to pay for it without a hike in residential property taxes.
If Iowans have to subsidize big business to ensure their sustainability, can we truly call it Free Enterprise? I thought we believed in the philosophy that businesses would make it or break it, based on the principles of supply and demand.
While our elected officials are ignoring this inconvenient hypocrisy, it might be a good time to point out other problems that occurred last year.
While Governor Branstad issued line item vetoes that cut $91.3 million in appropriations for the Peace Officers’ Retirement Fund, the House Republicans refused to act. While Governor Branstad’s Administration refused to hire additional nursing home inspectors with the money that was appropriated for that, again House Republicans refused to act.
Think about that the next time you hear your elected officials talk about their concern for elder abuse. It’s time for less happy-go-lucky rhetoric and more action.
I don’t want to hear what legislators say they care about. I want to see what they care about through their actions. It’s time for our legislators to show their concern for these issues by standing up to Governor Branstad when he crosses the line. Governor Branstad’s actions are inexcusable, but if the legislature refuses to act, they’re complicit by their inaction.
David Johnson, West Branch
Candidate for State House District 73
Birds of a feather is about all you can say about this. Here’s what happened: The people in New Jersey who were supposed to be in charge, the Christie administration, shut down a public roadway for political payback, with complete and utter disregard for public safety. As George Will opined, “they used the machinery of government to screw their enemies.”
And our Governor thinks it is appropriate to say nice things about Gov. Christie while giving his address at the opening day of the Iowa legislature. Why would he do this? Does Branstad think Iowans would support the idea of I-80 or I-35 or some other heavily travelled roadway being shut down for days in the event that he gets mad at a Democrat?
What this behavior reveals, yet again, is that what Governor Branstad really cares about is not Iowans. What he cares most about is the national Republican party agenda and his place in it.
Two questions. (1) How has this outrageous behavior become acceptable in both New Jersey and Iowa? (2) What will it take for voters to wise up?
Here’s the story.
Des Moines – Governor Branstad took time on the opening day of the 2014 legislative session to praise New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for demonstrating “leadership” during the George Washington Bridge scandal.
“Terry Branstad went to bat for Chris Christie – defending his conduct on the bridge scandal and going as far as touting it as a moment of ‘leadership’ for Christie,” said Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Troy Price. “Chris Christie created a culture in his office that set the stage for his aides to use the power of government to exact political retribution. It’s no surprise Governor Branstad spoke up for Christie today –both have a history of bullying opponents and misleading voters. Terry Branstad may call it leadership, but we call it a culture of misconduct and gross negligence.” – Iowa Democratic Party
Today is the opening day of the 2014 Iowa legislative session. By most reports, our electeds on both sides of the aisle are already planning to be “efficient,” that is, cut out early or on time in order to hit the dusty campaign trail. Maybe it’s just as well.
Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad wins the prize for keeping clear priorities and for best overall perspective on why we have legislative sessions and why we have democratically elected representatives.
“Peace be upon all, the legislative session starts tomorrow. “No matter who is in the majority, if we don’t work together then Iowans get hurt and children suffer. Let’s work for the people of Iowa, we can make it a better place.” Peace+Justice=Love.” Follow on FB
~ Fair warning, the Iowa caucuses are virtually upon us. January 21. Get ready, plan to be there. If you don’t participate, the rest of us have to do more work. Do your civic duty and get yourself to your precinct caucus. All the info. you need is right here, see the links below. And we will be reminding you.
On January 21, 2014, Iowa Democrats will gather all across the state to celebrate the unity and strength of the Democratic Party, and start planning for an exceptional general election season.
Caucusing is the best way to be an active participant in the Iowa Democratic Party’s platform and agenda, and will be critical to victories up and down the ticket in 2014. Involving Democrats now will help build a strong grassroots organization for the midterms, and will ensure we have volunteers and supporters in every part of the state.
In 2014, Democrats have much to accomplish: expanding the majority in the Iowa Senate, retaking the Iowa House, electing Democrats to Congress, unseating Terry Branstad once and for all, and making sure that Bruce Braley is elected to the United States Senate.
To accomplish these goals, Democrats need to get involved early and participate in the January 21 caucuses. Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2014 platform and agenda, and will meet with fellow Democratic friends and neighbors to start building a grassroots organization that will lead us to victory in November.
Having a strong and successful caucus in 2014 will show that Iowans stand behind Democrats’ progressive fight for Iowa’s future.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2014 Iowa Democratic Caucuses!