As noted before, The High Five is a daily email from Progress Iowa that keeps the public abreast of what is going on in the Iowa Legislature. In this time of Iowa’s Republican domination , it is smart to keep yourself informed as radical changes will be happening:
Let’s start today’s newsletter with some exciting news: Iowan Timothy LeDuc, the first non-binary Winter Olympic althete, is set to perform tomorrow at 4:30am CT. It’s going to be an early morning supporting one of our state’s best athletes!
In less fun news, it has been a BUSY week at the Iowa Legislature as House and Senate committees meet in a flurry to keep bills alive through funnel week.
There have been a number of bad bills being pushed through committees by Republican legislators, and we all need to work together to defeat them.
Check out today’s top headline and a bill our team is deeply concerned about:
1. KEEP POLITICIANS OUT OF THE CLASSROOM: Iowa Senate President Pro Tempore, Senator Brad Zaun, who has never taught before, has decided he knows what is best for our students and that he should be trusted more than the thousands of education professionals across the state. In another attack against Iowa’s education professionals, Zaun said, “some teachers that have taken it upon themselves, without parental consent, to teach what I think is disgusting, pornographic material.”
Apparently banning books and defunding public schools in favor of private institutions isn’t enough for Iowa Republicans. Now, Senator Zaun and the Republican members of the Iowa Senate Judiciary committee have approved a bill that would put teachers in jail if the Republican legislators determine that their curriculum is “obscene.”
Other than the fact that jailing teachers and censoring books is just plain wrong, books like “The Bible” don’t even pass the obscenity test by Republican standards.
We need Iowa Republican legislators to stop attacking education professionals and allow our public schools to deliver the best education to Iowa students. Join us in calling on our Legislators to defeat this terrible bill and invest in Iowa’s public education.
Click to Tweet: Educators should NOT be put in jail for doing their job! That’s why we need Iowa’s senators to vote NO on SF2198! Join me and contact your legislator today: legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
After you share that message, check out these other highlights below:
2. SCHOOL VOUCHERS HURT SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS: In Iowa, students who are eligible for special-assistance educational programs but attend private schools receive their special education through the nearest public school district. The same rule applies to transportation needs to private schools.
However, public schools will not receive any additional funding to provide the best assistance to students with special needs if the Republican plan to put taxpayer dollars into private, religious schools is passed. This will put even more burden on our state’s underfunded public school system if students enroll at private schools. We need to invest in Iowa’s children by investing in a strong, public education system, not by sending more taxpayer dollars to private schools.
3. TOTO, WE MAY BE IN KANSAS AFTER ALL: Unfortunately for Iowa’s middle and underpaid class, the Republican flat tax plan is one step closer to becoming law after the Iowa House passed the reform bill yesterday evening. State Representative Chris Hall warned the Iowa House that Iowa will become the next Kansas.
What does that mean? Well, a decade ago, the Republican controlled legislature and governor’s office of Kansas passed sweeping tax reform legislation, similar to what the Iowa Republicans proposed this year. However, in a matter of a few short years, the massive tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and corporations led to budget downfalls, underfunding of vital programs, and the state’s infrastructure took a major hit.
We can’t let Iowa become the next Kansas. Contact your Senator today and tell them to vote no on the House tax bill!
4. REPUBLICANS WANT TO CONTROL YOUR LAND: Iowa Senate Republicans have advanced a bill through committee that would lower the amount of money Iowans could receive if they sold their land for conservation purposes to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or county conservation boards.
Iowans deserve a fair price for their land, and the right to choose what they do with their property. Unfortunately, corporate Kim Reynolds and Iowa Republicans continue to sell out Iowans in favor of their corporate donors’ interests.
5. VOTING ACCESS IS ACCESS TO FREEDOM: After a record turnout in the 2020 elections and a failed attack on our Capitol, the Republican party has defended that attack and are set on impeding state voting processes everywhere. Even legislators right here in Iowa are making it harder for us to vote. Now, Iowa House and Senate Republicans are quickly advancing a bill that would put more restrictions on Iowan’s access to the ballot box and absentee ballots.
This bill would require Iowans to put their sensitive information on the outside of absentee ballot envelopes, despite the fact that that information is also provided on the inside form. It also would restrict funding to counties who receive grants and donations to support their election budgets. County auditors are already warning leaders that this bill will make the process of counting ballots longer and more difficult, despite the fact that there is no widespread voter fraud in the state or the country.
Want to hear more from our team? You can go to our online news blog, Potluck, to hear from Iowans and leaders around the state. You can also hear more from our team on our podcast, “What a Week,” where we break down each week’s top news stories and speak with leaders from around Iowa about issues you care about.
Want to help progressive messaging and policy in the state of Iowa? Sign up at ProgressIowa.org to volunteer, donate, and hear more from our team!
Thanks for reading, and we’ll get back with you tomorrow for another Hive Five!
– The Progress Iowa Team
Watch that budget and tax bill closely. Kansas had a full blown meltdown after their disastrous experiment with right wing economic ideology . Yes it can happen here and probably will. Reynolds butt has been saved by infusions of cash from the federal government for covid expenses. Don’t expect that to keep up forever.
It’s good to see the awful land bill get some attention. Readers should know, however, that Iowans who want to donate land for conservation would also take a hit, since the state tax deduction for conservation land donations would disappear.
Essentially telling Iowans not to donate land for conservation, when Iowa desperately needs more conservation land just to improve our horrible water quality, sure does make a lot of sense. *eyeroll*
I grew up in a purple Midwest state with a lot of public land. That land is valued because it helps the economy as well as the state quality of life. So I’ve always found the Iowa hatred of public land, which I first saw working in the Iowa Legislature forty years ago, to be quite bizarre. Especially since Iowa has less public land per citizen than 48 other states.
Forty years ago in the Statehouse, the hatred involved mostly Republicans and a few conservative rural Democrats, but there were several moderate Republicans who didn’t share it. Now, of course, it’s a party-line issue. And this bill is a dream come true for the Iowa Farm Bureau, which has always loathed public land and proves it over and over.
I despise the Bureau for many reasons, and one is that it often doesn’t even have the political guts to work openly for what it wants. This bill is a classic example of that. No supporters were registered as of last week.