Contact Rep. Kressig:
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
3523 Veralta Dr.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
Greetings to you all,
We’re now in our third week of overtime, with no signs of reaching agreement and ending session for the year. Instead of breaking the gridlock on school funding, the House Republicans moved backwards and broke their promise to Iowa kids. They voted down a fair 2.625% compromise on school funding for the upcoming school year and then actually lowered their own offer on school funding for the 2016-2017 school year. The move by House Republicans this week means the gridlock will continue into June and schools will continue to lay off teachers because of the budget uncertainty.
Republicans took another step backward when they voted down an anti-bullying bill that has strong bi-partisan support. Even though it’s a top priority of their own governor, it’s been killed by House Republicans for three years now. After moving backwards on education, Republicans then turned back an effort to help Iowa families with paid sick leave, and voted down another plan to help Iowans with debilitating conditions like epilepsy and cancer access medical cannabis.
While saying NO to education and Iowa families, Republicans did find time to pass a bill to legalize fireworks in Iowa. The debate this week proved House Republicans have the wrong priorities for Iowa.
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was created to remember soldiers who had died in the Civil War. While the northern states and southern states honored their Civil War fallen soldiers separately for many years, Memorial Day was changed after World War I to honor any American who had died in any war. Congress made Memorial Day a national holiday in 1968. Although Memorial Day is officially a time to remember those who died for our country, it is also a good time to remember those who served our nation and thank those still serving today.
Throughout our nation’s history, Iowans have always answered the call of duty for our great country. During the Civil War, Iowa sent 76,534 soldiers to battle, which was more than any other state. Over 500,000 Iowans registered for the draft in World War I and about 115,000 actually served. During WWII, over 276,000 Iowans went into military service and 8,398 of those died. Just a few years ago, Iowans again stepped up when about 3,000 Iowa National Guard soldiers were called to active duty, which was the largest deployment since WWII. Over the last decade, legislators have been working together to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and military families. This session, we expanded a property tax exemption for disabled veterans and provided consistent funding to the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund.
As always, the Iowa Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.iowa.gov, has a lot of 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. All of the debate is then stored in a video archive that allows you to watch any time, at your convenience.
Please don’t forget to check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts and forums every month, you can also reach me by email anytime or call me at the Capitol at 515-281-3221 during the week. We can also stay connected through social media, like Facebook or Twitter. I appreciate hearing from you.
Thanks again and please keep in touch.
Upcoming Community Events
18, 6/1 Artisans United Three Pines Farm, 3pm, 404-2942
19, 26 Peter Greenway Film Series Hearst Center, 6:30pm, 273-8641
21-22 Tons Of Money Hope Martin Theatre, Waterloo, 7pm, 235-0367
21 Dollar Days Phelps Youth Pavilion, Waterloo, 10am, 291-4490
22 Friday’Loo - Marshall Jay Band Lincoln Park, Waterloo, 5:30pm, 291-2038
22 4th Street Cruise Show & Shine Cattle Congress Grounds, Waterloo, 5pm, 234-7515
22 4th Street Cruise Dance - Postmasters Cattle Congress Grounds, Waterloo, 234-7515
23, 30 Cedar Falls Farmer’s Market Overman Park, 8:30am
23 4th Street Cruise Downtown Waterloo 4th Street, noon, 234-2200
23 Rhythm & Blues After the Cruise RiverLoop Expo, 4pm, 291-4490
25 Memorial Day Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, Waterloo, 11am, 234-6357
28, 29 Bucks Baseball vs. Mankato Riverfront Stadium, Waterloo, 7pm, 232-5633
29 Friday’Loo - Sushi Roll Band Lincoln Park, Waterloo, 5:30pm, 291-2038
29 Friday Fun Night Cedar Falls Motorsports Park, 6pm, 987-2537
30, 31 Bracket Points Race #3 & 4 Cedar Falls Motorsports Park, 987-2537
30 Honor Flight Dance Cattle Congress Grounds, 7pm, 234-7515
6/1, 2 Bucks Baseball vs. St. Cloud Riverfront Stadium, Waterloo, 7pm, 232-5633
6/2, 9 Golden Melodies Cedar Falls Municipal Band Overman Park, 7pm, 266-1253
Honoring Our Veterans on Memorial Day
As Memorial Day approaches, it is a good time to remember the sacrifices our veterans have made and to thank them for their service. This year, the Iowa Legislature continued to thank and support Iowa’s veterans.
Following up on last year’s disabled veterans homestead property tax exemption for 100% rated disabled veterans, this year the eligibility criteria for the credit is expanded to include a veteran that has a permanent and total disability rating based on individual employability, which is compensated at the 100% disability rate, as certified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans that applied last year, but were denied for this reason, may be eligible now.
In addition, the Legislature passed a consumer protection bill for veterans. Private providers of services for veterans are required to disclose that benefits are free through federally chartered veteran service organizations and by county commission of veteran affairs offices.
The Iowa Lottery will now make a consistent contribution to the Iowa Veteran’s Trust Fund, which pays for services for veterans and their families. Previously, the amount was determined by the number of lottery tickets sold each year. This stable funding will help ensure the Veteran’s Trust Fund has enough funding to pay for the services veterans and their families need and deserve.
The State of Iowa will continue to support all service members, veterans, and their families.
Still No Agreement on School Funding
Iowa school districts have been forced to certify their budget for the upcoming school year without knowing how much money they will receive from the state. After Democrats offered 6%, then 4%, then 2.625%, the Majority Party in the House has refused to compromise on school funding from their 1.25% level and have even reduced their school funding offer for the following year.
At that level, besides raising class size with fewer teachers and raising property taxes, superintendents said they will also be cutting back other opportunities for students because of the budget uncertainty. Art, sports, wood shop, agriculture programs, consumer science, library services, STEM and Talented and Gifted are just a few of the programs being considered by school districts for elimination.
Without an agreement on the school aid level for the upcoming school year, the Majority Party has now offered a level for the following school year, 2016-17, of 2%. That is below what they offered earlier in the session. By law, this level should have been set back in February giving time for school boards to adjust and set their budgets.
The Iowa Senate has sent a funding bill to the House that would set school aid for the upcoming school year at 2.625% and at 4% for the 2016-17 school year. At that level, schools would be able to address their newly required education reform efforts, and not cut programs or teachers.
The issues will have to be resolved before the Legislature can adjourn for the year.
Continue Reading the Statehouse News
To read the rest of my Statehouse News go to:http://iowahouse.org/StatehouseNews/5-22-15