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.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will balance our legislative responsibilities and our leadership responsibilities. As Legislators, we have the responsibility of faithfully discharging the duties of Senator and upholding the Iowa Constitution. We also have the responsibility of following the best available public health guidance, and leading by example so Iowans are not forced to choose between life and liberty or safety and happiness.
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.
A group of Iowa Senate Democrats are calling on the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Reynolds to pass immediate assistance for food and other basic needs as early as possible in the 2021 legislative session.
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.
The Governor’s half-measured attempt at a mask mandate will not be enough to make Iowans safer, especially heading into the holiday season. Her actions today are simply too little, too late. Half-measures will only prolong this pandemic and the suffering of Iowans.
Governor Reynolds’ latest steps to fight COVID are like buying a smoke detector after your house is blazing out of control. If the Governor had listened from day one to health care experts – including the White House Coronavirus Task Force – more Iowans would be alive today and the Iowa economy would be rebounding.
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.