Bob Krause says Republican bill intended to slash local government’s ability to set minimum wage laws will also hurt disabled and homeless veterans.
Bob Krause, President of the Iowa-based Veterans National Recovery Center (VNRC), today announced that his organization would oppose House File 295 in its entirety, a bill in the Iowa General Assembly to abolish local civil rights laws and minimum wage laws.
Veterans, especially disabled and low income veterans and their families are directly affected by this bad bill – especially in the area of low income rental housing and minimum wages….Now the sponsor of the bill proposes an amendment to remove the destruction of local civil rights ordinances from the bill. But the alternate language proposed is just as bad for veterans. It blocks local governments from stopping landlords from discriminating against disabled and homeless vets. It does so by preventing local governments from stopping landlords from refusing HUD-VASH payments or HUD Housing Choice Section 8 payments from a prospective renter,” said Krause.
“This is incredibly damaging to homeless veterans and their families. HUD-VASH, especially, is the anchor of the federal program to aid those homeless and near homeless veterans that are down on their luck because of PTSD, war-related injury or unemployment. Veterans make up 8 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 17 percent of the homeless. Restricting an important homeless veteran program like this simply means more homeless veterans for Iowa,” added Krause.
“Another part of HF 295, which kills local minimum wage laws as proposed in this bill, also hurts disabled veterans. 1.5 million Veterans in America live below the poverty line, and in Iowa, the local minimum wage ordinances help them greatly. Nationally, disabled persons unemployment rates are twice as high as non-disabled. Accordingly, many disabled and especially disabled veterans are limited to low wage positions. Although service-connected disabilities often come with a pension, those pensions are often small and in many cases send the disabled vet into poverty. The repeal of local option minimum wage ordinances will negatively impact the disabled veterans and their spouses and caregivers.” concluded Krause.
Joe Stutler, a VNRC Board member and a disabled vet, said that the will of his town of Marion was that protecting veterans and other protected classes is very important. He summed up his argument by referring to the text on the Iowa state flag: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”
“I was willing to die to preserve these rights, so legislators should ask themselves if they are willing to die to take them away,” Stutler said. “I don’t mean that as a threat, but that’s how valuable those rights are to me.”