From the Desk of Senator Bennett
As we begin Iowa’s 2023 legislative session, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Liz Bennett and I’m proud to represent you in the Iowa Senate. I represent Senate District 39, which includes most of Cedar Rapids as well as College Township.
Whether as a legislator, an LGBT advocate, or an activist on behalf of public education and reproductive freedom, making life better for all Iowans has always been my top priority. I was elected to the Iowa Senate last November after serving four terms in the Iowa House.
This session I’ll serve on the Natural Resources & Environment, Transportation, and Veterans committees, and as the ranking member on the Technology Committee. In these roles, I’m committed to working with any and all willing allies on a pro-Iowa, pro-worker, and pro-family agenda.
I hope we can stay connected this session. Will you follow me on social media to stay updated with what’s going on at the Capitol?
You can also reach me directly at Liz.Bennett@legis.iowa.gov or 319-431-1656. Listening to your concerns, advancing your interests, and making our community an even better place to live is my job, so please reach out!
Statehouse Republicans Rush to Ram Vouchers Through the Senate
Late this week, Senate Republicans introduced a school voucher bill to defund public education in Iowa and send hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to private schools.
Vouchers are a terrible idea for Iowa, and I’ll be fighting against this bill every step of the way.
Gov. Reynolds rolled out her latest voucher scheme during her Condition of the State Address on Tuesday night, and Senate Republicans wasted no time pushing it forward. The bill was rushed into a public hearing on Thursday afternoon, and could come up for a vote next week. I’m deeply concerned that Republicans are rushing to pass this bill with as little public scrutiny and debate as possible.
Evidence shows voucher schemes like this actually hurt student achievement, and fail to provide parents with more options, since private schools can still pick and choose the students they accept. Vouchers represent an especially serious threat to rural school districts, where loss of state support will drive more consolidation and weaken our small towns.
Gov. Reynolds has already showed us the terrible cost vouchers will place on our schools. She says her voucher plan will divert $107 million from our public schools in its first year, but at the same time she’s proposing to increase K-12 funding by just $83 million. That means Iowa schools will lose $24 million in the first year of this scheme alone – and it’ll only get worse from there.
Senate Democrats are united against this attack on our kids, our schools, and our rural communities.
- This week, Governor Reynolds released her budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. As a budget is developed throughout this session, I’ll be advocating for smart investments in services and programs that benefit regular Iowans and small businesses. My priority is investments that move Iowa’s economy forward.
- The last day to enroll in or change 2023 health coverage through the federal Marketplace is Sunday, Jan. 15. Under the American Rescue Plan, more people may qualify even if they weren’t in the past, and there may be more savings. To find local help, visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596.
- The Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office on the Status of African-Americans will host its 34th annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, January 16. The event will be streamed on the Department of Human Rights’ Facebook page.
- Deer licenses for the excess tag January antlerless season went on sale Jan. 11 in counties with unsold county antlerless licenses, and will be available until quotas are filled. County-specific antlerless licenses quota information is available in real time at https://gooutdoorsiowa.com/RealTimeQuotas.aspx.