Iowans have been through a lot over the last year, particularly with the pandemic. It’s not over yet, but it is time for the Legislature to do all it can to help Iowa build back better, bigger and stronger than ever. Our focus this session is on a COVID Recovery Plan to help Iowa rebound from the ravages of the last year.
Monday, two harmful bills are being rushed through the Senate Education Committee before Iowans have time to respond. SSB 1065 would divert taxes for public schools to private schools and SSB 1064 would make Iowa schools unsafe during the pandemic.
We propose using the state’s ending balance or the state’s “rainy day funds” to provide $30 million or more in immediate supplemental food assistance for Iowans directly and through food banks, food pantries, and other feeding entities in Iowa.
Senator Claire Celsi is formally requesting that Republican leaders in the Iowa Senate convene a Senate Government Oversight meeting. The Legislature must ensure that all CARES dollars are used properly. If the State fails to do so, Iowa could be required to return misspent money.
Instead of directing more money to testing and contact tracing, paid sick leave for essential workers, food assistance, childcare subsidies, additional money for rent assistance, unemployment insurance, utility assistance, providing PPE to healthcare workers and educators, and to help schools prepare for the winter season — and myriad of other uses — Governor Reynolds is using the CARES Act money as a means to fund pet projects and make Iowa’s budget appear flush with excess funds.
Key Democratic legislators are calling for investigations into reports that Governor Reynolds diverted nearly $450,000 to pay her staff instead of using the funds for COVID-19 relief efforts.
A quick list of the good, the bad and the ugly bills of the 2020 legislative session.
The Iowa Legislature has resumed the 2020 session. Over the next two weeks, I hope we will:
** Pass a balanced budget based on the latest revenue estimates.
** Fight for the needs of Iowans, businesses and communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
** Push for laws to address racial inequities in Iowa.
Based on the updated revenue estimates, the Governor and legislators must strategically use available resources– including federal funds and the state’s rainy-day fund – to protect key priorities: education, health care and employment security.