2017 Bipartisan Legislative Accomplishments

Because legislative Democrats stood up for hard-working Iowans, for students, for workers, for safe communities and good government, the Legislature had some bipartisan accomplishments during the 2017 session. Here are some examples:

Education & worker training

Helping schools use limited resources effectively by allowing them to spend various categories of school funding on a broader range of expenses (HF 564).

Allowing some unused school funding to go into a “Flexibility Account” to be used in a broader fashion to achieve the intended goals (HF 565).

Expanding the ways Iowans can earn a high school equivalency diploma (HSED) when they meet minimum standards in reading, language arts, literacy, math, science and social studies. (HF 473).

Jobs & economy

Promoting and increasing opportunities for local small businesses that make and sell Iowa beer, wine and distilled spirits (HF 607).

Helping thousands of Iowans become homeowners and boosting our economy by providing a state income tax exemption for First-time Homebuyer Savings Accounts (SF 505).

Apprenticeship training program for in state Iowa residents only (HF 231).

Health & health care

More timely, appropriate help for kids with autism spectrum disorders (SF 515, HF 215).

Limiting the harmful effects of congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause long-term health problems, including hearing or vision loss, lack of coordination and seizures (SF 51).

Reducing breast cancer deaths by requiring mammography reports sent to patients to include information on breast density, if the patient has dense breast tissue (SF 250).

Improving mental health services in rural areas by addressing inequities in funding for mental health and developmental disability services (SF 504).

Ensuring appropriate treatment for sick and disabled Iowans by allowing a physician to override an insurance company’s step therapy protocol in certain cases (HF 233).

Safe communities

Expanding the criminal offense of “sexual exploitation by a school employee” to include full-time, part-time and employees, as well as others who have significant contact with students (SF 238).

Allowing survivors of sexual assault to get a sexual abuse civil protective order to keep abusers away from them, their home and their place of work (SF 401).

Enhancing public safety by including law enforcement communications systems in the Iowa Communications Network (HF 467).

Saving lives by making texting while driving a primary offense. That means law enforcement can pull over a driver and ticket them if they see the driver texting (SF 234).

Stopping deceitful and damaging adoption practices that harm Iowa’s families by toughening penalties for scamming prospective adoptive parents (SF 433).

Charging a motorist with reckless driving (a Class “C” felony) when texting while driving causes an accident that seriously injures or kills another (SF 444).

Protecting kids by updating the definitions of “child in need of assistance” and “child abuse” to apply in additional cases of cocaine and other dangerous substances in the home (HF 543).

Cracking down on stalking and domestic violence, and enhancing monitoring and penalties for violations (HF 263).

Expanding the definition of “criminal stalking” to include repeated use of an electronic device to track a person’s whereabouts with no legitimate purpose (HF 263).

Reducing drunken driving fatalities and other drug and alcohol-related crimes by establishing 24/7 Sobriety program in counties that want to try this accountability-based program (SF 444).

Requiring temporary staffing agencies to conduct background checks on employees for nursing homes and assisted living centers (HF 576).

Prohibiting the use of monitoring devices in public libraries and other government buildings where a person expects privacy, such as in a toilet or locker room (SF 499).

Quality of life

Protecting homebuyers by ensuring construction lien disclosures before the sale of a house (HF 541).

Keeping traffic moving efficiently by updating traffic laws for turns on red. On a red light, a driver may turn right from all lanes designated for right turns, and left from all lanes designated for left turns on a one-way street (HF 372).

Protecting kids by providing consistency in child custody laws for married and unmarried couples, including completing a court-approved Children in the Middle course (HF 253).

Reducing harassment and invasion of privacy by making it illegal to share images of another person in the nude or engaged in a sex act without their consent (HF 526).

Good government

Saving taxpayer money by giving County Auditors the flexibility to combine staff and polling locations when low voter turnout is expected in primary and general elections (HF 471).

Protecting the rights of Iowans by setting higher standards for law enforcement to seize property — especially money and cars — that may be related to a crime (SF 446).

Saving taxpayer dollars by ensuring private parties cover more of the costs of civil services that county sheriffs must provide, such as bills of sale and certificates or deeds for land sold (SF 501).

Expanding ways for indigent Iowans to obtain legal counsel when they’re charged with a crime carries the possibility of jail or prison time (SF 374).

Download a copy of the 2017 Bipartisan Legislative Accomplishments.

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2017 Legislative Session in Review

Fighting the attack on working families and vulnerable Iowans

Prepared by the Iowa Senate Democratic Staff

This year, legislative Republicans and out-of-state special interests rammed through laws that are making Iowa a less attractive place to live, work and raise a family. They are driving down wages, cutting health care and degrading the quality of life for hard-working Iowans.

Because the priorities of legislative Republicans are out of whack, they managed to turn Iowa’s $928 million surplus into a $130 million deficit. The problem is compounded by policy changes and budget cuts that are causing Iowa to lose federal funding and matching funds to many state agencies and programs. [Read the full 2017 Session Wrap-up]

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2017 Iowa Legislative Session – Wrong Way

Legislative Republicans ignored the concerns of Iowans this session and broke their promise to create jobs and raise family incomes. While the GOP follows the lead of special interests and moves Iowa in the wrong direction, Democrats will keep listening to Iowans, hold Republican politicians accountable, and fight to build an economy that works for all Iowa families.

GOP & Branstad/Reynolds

Democrats

Corporate special interests come 1st Iowans come 1st
Lower wages for 65,000 Iowans Raise wages for over 200,000 Iowans
Shortchange public schools Invest in K‐12 schools
Cut access to women’s health care Expand access to women’s health care
Take away rights from Iowa workers Protect rights of Iowa workers
New government barriers to voting Make it easier to vote
Raise tui on & cut scholarships Keep college & job training affordable
Reduce early childhood & preschool Expand early childhood & preschool
Cut $$ to natural resources & environment Improve water quality/protect environment
Slash support for domestic abuse victims Protect victims of domestic abuse
Cut job training for Iowans with disabilities Support Iowans with disabilities
Ignore challenges facing rural Iowa Improve quality of life in Rural Iowa

Download a copy of the 2017 Iowa Legislative Session – Wrong Way report.

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2017 END OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Legislative Democrats – 87th General Assembly

Republican lawmakers ignored the concerns of Iowans this session and broke their promise to create jobs and raise family incomes. While rewarding the special interests and out-of-state corporations, the GOP stacked the deck against everyday Iowans who are working hard but still not getting ahead. Democrats will keep listening to Iowans, hold Republican politicians accountable, and fight to build an economy that works
for all Iowa families.

 

GOP BroKEn PRomises; Iowa Headed in wrong direction

  • Instead of listening and working to improve life for everyday Iowans, Republicans stacked the deck against them.
  • Instead of raising family incomes like they promised, Republicans lowered wages for 65,000 Iowans.
  • Instead of making sure every kid gets a great education, they shortchanged public schools again this year with the third lowest increase in history then blamed teachers for the state’s budget problems.
  • Instead of keeping health care affordable, Republicans cut a woman’s access to health care for cancer screenings, STD test, and birth control. They also passed a 20 week abortion ban without exceptions for rape, incest, or even health of the mother.
  • Instead of keeping higher education and job training affordable to build our skilled workforce, Republicans raised tuition on students attending our state universities and community colleges.
  • Instead of working together with dedicated public servants like firefighters, police officers, and teachers, Republicans took away their rights and their voice in the workplace.
  • Instead of making it easier for Iowans to vote, Republicans created more hurdles and less time for Iowans to cast their vote.

Iowans pay for the gop budget mess

  • Republicans have wrecked the state budget, slowed the state’s economy, and turned a $930 million state budget surplus into a $130 million deficit. The deficit is largely driven by $500 million in corporate tax giveaways that overwhelmingly go to out of state corporations.
  • Now, Iowans are being forced to pay for the GOP’s budget mess. Students will be paying higher tuition. Fewer at-risk kids will be able to attend preschool. Victims of domestic violence may not get the support they need. Iowans will be paying higher property taxes.
  • Democrats believe we need to restore fiscal discipline and embrace economics that make sense for the average Iowa family. We should put people and a skilled workforce before corporate tax breaks.

Download a copy of the 2017 End of Legislative Session.

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Lykam Wins Special Election

Jim Lykam wins Special Election for District 45

From the Quad City Times:

Lykam wins Senate special election

Iowa Rep. Jim Lykam won a convincing victory Tuesday in the special election to fill the vacant state Senate seat in District 45.

The longtime Davenport Democrat defeated Republican Mike Gonzales and Libertarian Severin Gilbert in the contest to succeed Joe Seng, who died in September.

With all 20 precincts counted, as well as absentees, the unofficial tally from the Scott County Auditor’s Office showed Lykam getting 3,788 votes, or 73.2 percent, while Gonzales got 1,310, or 25.3 percent. Gilbert received 76 votes, or 1.5 percent.

The district covers much of west Davenport, along with the town of Buffalo.

Lykam’s win was not unexpected. He’s represented half the district in the Iowa House since 2003, and the Senate district has twice the number of Democrats as Republicans.

Lykam campaigned as a pragmatic Democrat working for the middle class who was seeking to carry on Seng’s legacy. Gonzales, a LeClaire police officer who lives in west Davenport, said he wanted to shrink government, help small business but also maintain education funding. Gilbert expressed an interest in taking part in fixing Iowa’s medicinal marijuana laws.

Lykam and his party vastly outspent their rivals. Lykam estimated their expenditures would hit about $100,000. A chunk of that went toward soliciting absentee ballots.

At Scott County Democratic headquarters Tuesday night, Lykam was appreciative of the victory.

“It was a team effort. We worked hard at it. I’m very happy the voters will allow me the privilege of representing them in Des Moines,” he said. [Read the full article at QCTimes.com]

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Iowa's First District Democrats Logo

Iowa’s 2016 First District Convention Results

Congratulations to all the winners!

National delegates to the Democratic National Convention:

  • Clinton Women: Sruthi Palaniappan (Linn), Tammy Wawro (Linn)
  • Clinton Men: Pasquale Luz (Dubuque), Dr. Kenneth Adderley (BlackHawk)
  • Sanders Women: Kate Larson (Dubuque), Emily Felton (Jones)
  • Sanders Men: Jason Brown (Linn), Corey Jones (Dubuque)
  • Sanders Alternate: Courtney Rowe (Linn)

Iowa Democrats State Central Committee

  • SCC Male Michael Blackwell (Black Hawk)
  • SCC Male Laura Hubka (Howard)
  • SCC Male Jerry Lynch (Dubuque)
  • SCC Female Karen Pratte (Allamakee)
  • SCC Female Mike Robinson (Linn)
  • SCC Male Marcos Rubinstein (Dubuque)
  • SCC Female Rosemary Schwartz (Benton)
  • SCC Female RRS Stewart (Dubuque)
Affirmative Action Chair Judy Schmidt (Dubuque)
Affirmative Action Vice-Chair Kenneth Adderley (Black Hawk)
Presidential Elector Carrie Tedore (Dubuque)

 

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Pam Jochum at podium

Pam Jochum: Most Valuable Progressive

Most Valuable State Legislator in 2015

Senate President Pam Jochum (District 50) is listed on Nation Magazine’s Progressive Honor Roll as the Most Valuable State Legislator in 2015. She’s fought hard against an extreme Republican agenda and most recently against Governor Branstad’s plan to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid system. Make sure to congratulate Senator Jochum as one of our most valuable progressives representing Dubuque County. Read more at the Nation.com.

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Americans for Prosperity

Group funded by Koch brothers in Dubuque

An article written by William Garbe for TH Media notes that Americans for Prosperity, the group funded by Charles and David Koch, has established a Dubuque field office at 1108 Locust Street and is becoming increasingly involved in local politics. The article mentions Americans for Prosperity’s focus on state governments in their long-term plans to change policy. Among those quoted in the article are Drew Klein, AFP’s Des Moines-based state director, Walt Pregler, Dubuque County Democratic party Chairman, Senator Pam Jochum, President of the Iowa Senate, Christopher Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, and Sue Wilson, member of the Dubuque County Democratic Party executive board.

Read the article at Thonline.com: Group funded by Koch brothers concerns area Democrats

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