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Iowa Legislature

Part 2: June 5 Oversight Meeting On The Failure To Protect Children At Risk Of Abuse

Bobby Kaufmann takes refuge from those who disagree with him in big displays of anger.   Is this what they are taught to do at ALEC meetings?  ICYMI, scroll down to view Part 1.

Part 1: June 5 Oversight Meeting On The Failure To Protect Children At Risk Of Abuse

The only other place we know of to view the entire hearing is on the Iowa Senate Dems’ Facebook page.  So for the rest of the real world that do not have a Facebook account but still would like to watch, here it is.  Please share far and wide.

 Check back tomorrow for Part 2.

Why Celebrate This Fourth of July?

America just passed what is often called the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day. This is a day nominally set aside to remember the sacrifices of American soldiers. Some keep it in that way, but of course many just enjoy the day off and the blessings that those fallen and wounded soldiers bought for us.

When most people think of summer, they think of the celebration of America’s major secular holiday, Independence Day or colloquially, the Fourth of July. This is a celebration to not only commemorate the day that the Thomas Jefferson written document was first publicly announced, but is also a forward looking hope that celebrates the world’s oldest democracy and the continuation of the ideals first pronounced in the Declaration of Independence.

One of the roots of our society based on the Declaration is that we will bind ourselves together to work for the good of the whole. This is to be done by electing representatives to represent the views of the majority in the central government. While there is no absolute way to measure the compliance with this goal, most would agree that generally with occasional straying from the path, the country and most of the states head in that direction.

That has changed dramatically this year both at the national and state level. America now has a national leader of their government who expects to rule as an oligarch much like the government we rebelled against in 1776. As the current president Now our current president mocks our citizens and our institutions and our laws through his actions and words on a daily basis. The most recent example of that mockery is presidential daughter and staffer Ivanka Trump tweeting a recipe for champagne popsicles on Memorial Day – a day which should be devoted to somber remembrance of those who died in war.

At the state level, Iowa has joined a large group of states with one party rule that mocks our democracy by restricting the right to vote of their citizens. Iowa has also further eroded democracy by restricting the rights of its workers to negotiate contracts and working conditions. Stopping local governments from raising minimum wages and attack #1 against Planned Parenthood were also on their docket. None of these new laws were even spoken of during the campaign.

There were other laws passed last session that let it be known that the legislature and the governor were not there to govern with the consent of the people but to rule in spite of them. Besides the two laws mentioned above perhaps no action was as illustrative of the arrogance of Iowa’s rulers as the unilateral move of Iowa’s Medicaid program to private management with huge costs to the clients of Medicaid. Amazingly this caused a died-in-the-wool republican friend to condemn Branstad a few months back. Her family was dealing with the consequences of Branstad’s arrogant, disdainful action.

Most of us have been following the unfolding story of what happened last election. It looks as if we have had a very subtle and stealthy invasion of our country take place. The question that needs to be answered is whether the current president is governing with the good of our country in mind? Or is he governing to favor what were once our enemies? Our country has never been in such a situation and Americans need real answers. Americans also need to fire those who refuse to seek the answers.

Looking at the what our national government has done in its first 5 months on the job, there is nothing to indicate that our government is in any way working for the common good.

We can begin by noting that those appointed as heads of the various departments have philosophies in direct opposition to the goals that those departments were established under. The fears that these departments would be either dismantled or made ineffective through actions of the president or the department heads has become frighteningly real.

We move on to congress where their first and most immediate concern was to rip access to health care away from 10% to 15% of our citizenry with little concern for the consequences. Of course this was done so that the oligarchs that seem to be totally in control of our society could get a huge tax break. Once again, wasn’t this the kind of thing we rebelled against in 1776?

It is not as if those in the oligarchically ruled Republican party didn’t know these action would be hugely unpopular. At both the state and national level the press is being attacked in direct opposition to the first amendment. At the state level in Iowa and states around the country there is a move to drastically restrict public demonstrations.

As a final example of their arrogance, the current administration and Republican members of congress lie at every turn and refuse to meet with constituents except in very carefully staged environments.

So the Republican rulers at the state and national level have taken positions very reminiscent to those which drove us to rebel some 241 years back. So why should we celebrate? Our democracy has been eroding for decades with the maneuvering of the public by the captive corporate press acting as the promotion arm of the Republican Party. Now we come to see what happens when Republicans have total control. Democracy loses. Once lost it will be nearly impossible to bring it back.

Perhaps the question should better be asked “How should we celebrate this year?” rather than “Why should we celebrate this year?”. Forget about the fireworks and food. This is the year to get serious on the holiday that commemorates our independence. Serious about turning the tide back to what our founders believed in.

For our part we plan to seek out those who still believe in the form of government established over 225 years ago. Then we plan to support them as best we can through donations and other means of support such as calls. And maybe we will throw in an occasional letter to the editor to let others know it is time to return the government back to the hands of the people and take it from the oligarchs.

Real Consequences Of Legislative Cuts To Services For Survivors

Rob Hogg

Email from Rob Hogg:

Last night, I appeared at an event with Senator Kevin Kinney (D-Oxford), who shared with the audience his disappointment about the deep cuts (26 percent or $1.7 million) to state services for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Kinney, a long-time deputy sheriff in Johnson County, said he had warned the Republican budget chairs that we could not use federal dollars instead, and that making state cuts would actually cost us federal dollars, but they refused to listen.

It was a strong reminder about the importance of the work we do, and prompted me to read an article that appeared last week in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “Iowa domestic violence providers brace for deep funding cuts.”

It is disappointing and unnecessary. These cuts could have been avoided, especially if the Branstad-Reynolds Administration and Republican legislators had not gotten carried away with tax cuts for out-of-state corporations.

Over the coming months of the legislative interim, I plan to provide more information and resources about the real consequences of the Republican majority’s misguided legislative decisions this past session.

But I also want to help you get more involved as a citizen. The answer to our problems with state government in Des Moines and the federal government in Washington is more citizen participation, a renewed spirit of citizenship.

On the issue of support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, you can get more involved by being more informed, by helping service providers directly, and by speaking up with legislators and the public in support of these services. In Linn County, service providers include:

Waypoint
Riverview
Cedar Valley Friends of the Family

I hope this information is helpful. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

–Rob

Senator Rob Hogg
Senate Democratic Leader
Cedar Rapids

Signs Of Economic Cutbacks Due To Uncertainty?

A short discussion on the radio the other day caught my ear. Like so many we have our antennae up looking for signs that the great house of cards that Republicans claim are good economic policies will start coming apart at the seams.

The discussion was concerning what was the cause of the current slowdown in retail activity. While the discussion was focused on the current state of brick-and-mortor retail establishments with former giants such as Kmart and Sears nearing their death knell and others such as JC Penny’s, Macy’s, Abercrombie and Fitch and The Limited closing numbers of stores.

The panel blamed the internet or overbuilding as the cause, but no one even approached the elephant in the room until the last minute or so of the discussion. That elephant is the uncertainty being faced by the vast majority of Americans at this moment.

When Trump and Ryan talk about gutting Obamacare they are threatening not only those who are enrolled in the ACA, but also every household that is covered through private health insurance. As the radical Republicans reshape health care every household in the country will be affected, even Medicare households. People will either lose insurance or the price will rise dramatically and cover much less. Better start saving now.

What is most cynical about this is that the drive for gutting health care for millions is to free that money up to give huge tax cuts to the wealthy.

In the face of such uncertainty, many folks are cutting back on spending. Folks are no longer dreaming of buying that boat or camper. Heck, a new bed may even be out of the question. Just a year ago folks were finally putting dreams back on track after many shaky years following the great Republican Recession of 2008.

Few remember that the nation turned its collective eyes to a skinny black man from Illinois to pull the country and the world from the brink of a possible depression that could have been the worst ever. Few remember that Republicans obstructed programs that would shorten the recession at every turn.

Yet Obama was able to slowly pull the country and the world back from the brink to the point where the economy was at least healthy enough for people to dream again.

However as soon as the new president was installed in Washington and the new legislature was installed in Des Moines these folks went about their work of turning the country’s and the state’s wealth over to the rich, those in the middle class started getting those queasy feelings of uncertainty again:

Will my job still be there?

Will my pay be cut?

Will I lose my savings – for the kids college, for retirement?

Will we lose our health care or will it still cover me if I do get sick?

Will I have to deal with pre-existing conditions again?

Will the cost of college be so expensive that we will have to remortgage the house so the kids can go to college?

Why can’t the damn Republicans just let us have healthcare and be able to get decent wages and send our kids to college?

As Republicans in the Iowa legislature passed bills that took away bargaining rights from a large swath of Iowa workers, cut wages for another large swath, cut workman’s compensation and cut support for education at all levels the uncertainty started rearing its ugly head in many Iowa households.

At the same time, Republicans in Washington moved quickly to take healthcare guarantees away from Americans and return to the bad old days of pre-existing condition clauses. They are also loudly threatening to cut both Social Security and Medicare drastically.

Americans try to plan their lives for tomorrow, next week, next year and five and ten years or more out. In order to make plans they must have some baseline certainties to work from. For decades Social Security and Medicare were baseline certainties, not only for the elderly but also for their families who would otherwise have to support them.

For many decades decent jobs with good pay were certainties, but that has eroded. While productivity and wealth have both dramatically increased, the workers share stagnated. Increases in share of the wealth now goes to the top.

Access to affordable college was once a certainty in America. It still is in most other major economies. Sadly in America the cost of education has skyrocketed while the the aforementioned wages have stagnated making college a huge burden.

Healthcare was slowly coming to be something that Americans could plan on also. With the ascendancy of the Republican Party healthcare is no longer seen a a certainty and the costs will most certainly be less controlled than they are now.

Most recessions and depressions are considered to be caused by a lack of faith in the economy. By undermining the very baseline programs that keep faith in the economy strong, Republicans have gone a long way in undermining the economy. When consumers feel uncertain they cut back on purchases beyond the necessary food, housing and clothing. When consumers cut back on spending, workers lose jobs which in turn prompts a new round of consumer spending cutbacks.

One of the first signs of coming problems is a slowdown in retail sales. Reports for the first quarter reflect a slowdown. Many of the closings mentioned above were due to overbuilding and competition from the cyber stores, but the uncertainty has been a factor since the campaign. The ascension of Republicans has only accelerated the uncertainty. Fearful consumers will hang on to their money rather than spend it.

I hope I am wrong, but as congress once again threatens major cutbacks in the ACA with Social Security and Medicare in its sights, expect consumers to react.

Hogg: We Need A Renewed Spirit of Citizenship In Iowa

Rob Hogg

A word from Senate Democrats Leader Rob Hogg

With the conclusion of the awful 2017 legislative session, my attention is turning toward raising money, recruiting candidates, and helping Iowans get organized for the biggest political comeback in Iowa’s history in 2018 and a better future for all Iowans.

A Renewed Spirit of Citizenship in Iowa

As I said in my official Closing Day speech, “the Republican majority dedicated this session to addressing fake problems, with an anti-worker, anti-women, anti-family agenda that hurts Iowans.”

I explained in more detail what the problems were, but I also added a hopeful note. “Because of the attacks on workers, women, families, students, minorities, and all voters, we are already seeing the greatest re-awakening of democracy that Iowa has ever seen.”

I called on Iowans to “join together with a renewed sense of citizenship, to sit at our table of democracy, to participate, to reach out, to listen, to speak up, and to serve, so that together we can build a safer and healthier future, with broad prosperity and more opportunity, for all Iowans.”

To read the full speech, visit this link

You are an essential part of this brighter future. Please let me know if you are interested in running for office or if you want to help a campaign or the party so we can take back the majority in 2018, un-do the damage caused by the Republican majority, and build a better future for all Iowans.

Contribute Generously – Iowa Senate Democrats’ Fundraiser May 2

I do need to raise money for my own re-election and to help Iowa Senate Democrats across our state. The Republican leader in the Iowa Senate raised over $2 million in the 2015-16 cycle ($2,016,268 to be exact), so I need to do as well to help Iowa Senate Democrats re-take the majority.

The Iowa Senate Democratic Majority Fund is holding a fundraiser on Tuesday, May 2, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Star Bar, 2811 Ingersoll Avenue, in Des Moines. Please attend if you are available and in the area, and share our event page on social media:

If you cannot attend, you can still contribute by check made payable to “Senate Majority Fund,” Iowa Senate Democrats, 5661 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, IA 50321, or contribute  online

You can also contribute directly to my campaign committee by sending a check made payable to “Citizens for Rob Hogg,” P.O. Box 1361, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406, or by contributing online here.

Thanks in advance for your ongoing financial support, and please let me know if you would like to help organize or host a fundraising event in your community.

Upcoming Events

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend one or more of these upcoming events:

Hiawatha, Linn County Democratic Central Committee, Wednesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. – I will be speaking to the Linn County Democrats about the 2017 legislative session as part of our regular monthly meeting this Wednesday at the Hiawatha Community Center, 101 Emmons Street, in Hiawatha.

Clinton, Pints and Politics with Senator Rita Hart, Thursday, April 27, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. – I will be attending Senator Rita Hart’s “pints and politics” event at the Mezcal 2 , 1841 Lincoln Highway, in Clinton, this Thursday. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Iowa City, “Take Back Iowa Senate” Fundraiser for Joe Bolkcom, Friday, April 28, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. – Senator Joe Bolkcom is hosting a fundraiser this Friday at the Sanctuary, 405 S. Gilbert, in Iowa City, with his special guest, Senator Nate Boulton, possible candidate for Governor. (I cannot attend this because of a prior commitment to speak to the Workers Memorial Day in Cedar Rapids.) For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Des Moines, Peoples Climate March-Justice, Jobs, Clean Energy, Saturday, April 29, 1:00 p.m. – Join me at the Peoples Climate March-Iowa for justice, jobs, and clean energy at the State Capitol this Saturday. To find other nearby climate marches, including Maquoketa, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Iowa City, Omaha, and Lacrosse, visit: https://peoplesclimate.org/sister-marches/

Fairfield, Jefferson County Dems’ Spaghetti Dinner & Climate Trivia, Saturday, April 29, 7:00 p.m. –
I will be speaking at the Jefferson County Democrats’ annual spaghetti dinner at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, 200 N. Main St., in Fairfield, featuring climate change trivia and a pie auction. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Davenport Eastside & Bettendorf Democrats Meetup, Sunday, April 30, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. – I will be attending this meeting at the Baked Beer & Bread Company, 1113 Mound St., in Davenport, with citizens who want to elect a Democrat in Senate District 47 in 2018. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Des Moines West Side Democrats, Monday, May 1, 6:30 p.m. – I plan to attend the West Side Democrats’ regular meeting at Zimm’s Food and Spirits, 3124 Ingersoll Ave., in Des Moines. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Des Moines, Iowa Senate Democrats Majority Fund Fundraiser, Tuesday, May 2, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. – Please join me and other Iowa Senate Democrats for our post-session fundraiser at the Star Bar, 2811 Ingersoll Avenue, in Des Moines. Suggested minimum contribution is $26. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Johnson County Democrats’ Hall of Fame Dinner, Saturday, May 7, 7:00 p.m. – Join me for the Johnson County Democrats’ Hall of Fame at the Brown Deer Golf Club, 1900 Country Club Drive, in Coralville. Tickets are $25 per person. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Polk County Dems Spring Dinner with Amy Klobuchar, Sunday, May 7, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. – Please join me, State Representative Mark Smith, and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for the Polk County Democrats’ annual spring dinner at Forte, 615 3rd St., in Des Moines. Tickets are $50 per person. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Boone County Democrats “Picnic for the People,” Saturday, June 3, noon to 3:00 p.m. – Please join me for the “Picnic for the People” at the McHose Park Shelter House in Boone for this event. (This is the same day that Senator Ernst is holding her Republican “Roast and Ride” in Boone.) Let’s build a big crowd for this picnic. Suggested contribution is $10 per person. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Moravia, Seven County Rally, Saturday, June 3, 5:00 p.m. – I am planning to attend this event as Democrats from across southern Iowa come together for a seven-county rally at Grace United Methodist Church, 101 E. North St., in Moravia in Appanoose County. For more details, or to invite friends, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Senator Rob Hogg
Senate Democratic Leader
Cedar Rapids

Rob Hogg is a state senator from Cedar Rapids and the new Democratic leader in the Iowa Senate. He is serving his third term after two terms in the Iowa House. He believes the answer to all our problems in Des Moines and Washington is a renewed spirit of citizenship that uplifts our democracy and makes life better for our citizens. Don’t quit and we won’t quit. Get involved and stay involved.
Iowa Senate Democrats’ Majority Fund

For additional events, visit www.robhogg.org

Legislative Forums Monday-Friday April 24-28

April 2017

04/24/2017 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM Marti’s Monday Morning Coffee – Des Moines
04/27/2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Pints & Politics – Clinton
04/28/2017 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Davenport
04/28/2017 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Legislative Forum – Keokuk
04/28/2017 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Legislative Forum – Iowa City
04/29/2017 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM Legislative Forum – Mount Pleasant
04/29/2017 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Coffee – Iowa City
04/29/2017 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Legislative Forum – Winterset

After This Legislative Session, Iowa Need A New Slogan

Republicans That Voted Against Iowa Workers

Most folks may be surprised to find out Iowa has a state slogan. To be honest, finding the state slogan is not that easy to do. A simple google search finds multiple slogans that seem to be in play.

There seems to be some consensus the “Iowa: Fields Of Opportunity” is the current slogan. Or it could be “Iowa: A Place To Grow.” Either way, neither seems to reflect the new reality that the radical right Republicans in the Iowa legislature have created.

So today I will offer some suggestions that may better prepare visitors for what Iowa really is:

Iowa: A Kansas Wannabe

Iowa: Downwind From The CAFOs

Iowa: Lowest Pay In The Country

Iowa: Where Steve King Is An Intellectual

Iowa: Home To The Man That Stole The Supreme Court Seat

Iowa: We Cut Taxes And Ran Out Of Money

Iowa: Ten Years Behind In Road Repair

Iowa: Women Sort Of Welcome

Iowa: A State For Old, White Men

Iowa: Workers Don’t Count

Iowa: Education Just Makes Pointy-Headed Liberals

Iowa: Reading The Bible On The Court-House Lawn

Iowa: We Pay The MCOs Before The Medicaid Client

Iowa: Shoot Your Neighbor If He Shoots Off Newly Legal Fireworks

Well I am out of ideas at the moment, but you can bet that this legislature will give us many more ideas all year.

Weekend Legislative Forums April 21-24

http://www.infonetiowa.org/calendar/events/
04/20/2017 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM Pints & Politics – DeWitt
04/21/2017 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Town Meeting with US Senator Ernst – Panora
04/21/2017 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM Listening Post – Davenport
04/21/2017 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Legislative Forum – Fort Madison
04/22/2017 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Forum – Mount Pleasant
04/22/2017 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Eggs & Issues – Fort Dodge
04/22/2017 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Legislative Forum – Winterset
04/22/2017 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Keosauqua
04/22/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Logan
04/22/2017 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Forum – Davenport
04/22/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Legislative Forum – Washington
04/22/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Washington
04/22/2017 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Legislative Coffee – Urbandale
04/23/2017 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Legislative Forum – West Des Moines
04/24/2017 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM Marti’s Monday Morning Coffee – Des Moines

The Prairie Progressive Kaufmann Watch

Prairie Dog

Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2017 issue of  The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter.

by Prairie Dog

Bobby Kaufmann, Iowa House District 73, consistently presents himself as a moderate Republican.

“Just the fact that I have a great relationship with all the Democrats in the Johnson County delegation, I think that has been by far my biggest accomplishment.” (Iowa City Press Citizen, 5/12/16).

Here are four bills Rep. Kaufmann recently voted for in the current legislative session:

HHF 517, adding ‘stand your ground’ to Iowa’s gun laws

HF 291, gutting Iowa workers’ collective bargaining rights

HF 516, protecting Iowa from non-existent voter fraud

SF 166, allocating inadequate state aid to public schools

Two Democrats voted for the first one; no Democrats voted for the other three.

The Prairie Progressive is funded entirely by reader subscription,  available only in hard copy for $12/yr.  Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.