The legislative session is over. Our quick recap:

The legislative session is over. Our quick recap:

The 2017 legislative session is officially over. Thank … goodness.

Lawmakers worked into the wee hours of Saturday morning to close out what is easily the most anti-people, pro-big business agenda in our state’s history.

Call it a corporate coup d’etat. Republicans worked double-time to put the agenda of big business corporations and special interests ahead of everyday Iowans. We saw an attack on our workers, our wages, our water, and the safety and well-being of thousands in our community.

We’re outraged by what we saw this session, no doubt. But, we’re also in awe of you.

Thank you for taking action like we’ve never seen before. Over 1,300 of you (that’s just what we could track!) fought back and fought for the Iowa we want to see – an Iowa that puts people before profits, politics and polluters. You:

  • Testified on issues at public hearings, countless sub-committee and committee meetings,
  • Packed dozens of legislative forums across the state,
  • Had over 50 Letters-to-the-Editor printed in local and statewide papers,
  • Held over 130 conversations with legislators at our weekly “Citizen Lobby Team” action days at the Capitol, and
  • Weighed in with legislators directly by phone and email.

Here’s the final update on bills we were tracking this session:

The somewhat good news:

  • Dismantling the Des Moines Water Works – HF 484/SF 456 was moved to “unfinished business” in the House and was “funneled” in the Senate. In a last ditch effort, Rep. Hagenow and Cownie tried to bring this bill back to life, but ultimately the bill did not get a vote.
  • Water Quality and Pollution Trading – HF 612 and SF 512 – Both of these bills proposed using public money to fund voluntary efforts to improve the water crisis created by Big Ag. The House version of this bill included a new “pay-to-pollute” scheme that we call pollution trading. After shuffling the bills around, the House and Senate could not agree on a bill, so neither passed – including pollution trading (a small victory).
  • “You’re Not Welcome Here” – SF 481 – The Senate passed this anti-immigrant bill, but no vote was taken in the House. We will need to work hard next session to stop this bill from coming forward in the House, but for the time being, this bill is dead.

And, the not-so-good news:

  • Lowering Iowans’ Wages –The Governor signed HF 295, immediately rolling back locally-won minimum wage increases for over 65,000 Iowans, and preventing cities and counties from passing any local measures on workplace issues. Deemed of “utmost importance,” this is a prime example of how Republicans put the Iowa Restaurant Association and the Association of Business and Industry ahead of workers and local democracy.
  • Stand Your Ground The gun lobby won big with HF 517 — sweeping changes to Iowa’s gun laws will go into effect in July. This includes making Iowa a “Stand Your Ground” state.
  • Voter ID – Republicans saw HF 516 as one of their priority pieces of legislation, even though voter fraud is statistically non-existent in Iowa (or across the country). New voter ID changes – or shall we say voter disenfranchisement – will take effect in 2019.
  • Anti-nuisance lawsuit – Another win for Big Ag, SF 447 deters Iowans from filing nuisance lawsuits against factory farms by limiting damages and the number of lawsuits one person can file per lifetime.
  • Vicious state budget – Lawmakers passed the tightest budget since Gov. Branstad returned in 2011, resulting in disastrous cuts that effect all of us. Some of those include: defunding the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, cuts to our public universities and community colleges, cuts to programs that help victims of domestic violence, and other vital government programs. Make no mistake – we should not be in this mess. Gov. Branstad and legislators have turned the state’s cash reserves ($927 million in 2013) into a $130 million “hole” (budget deficit) by the end of next year. This is a direct result of the bad corporate property tax cut deal from 2013 and handouts to big corporations.

The session, Republicans in control showed us who they really work for – and it isn’t you or me. (Unless your name is Farm Bureau…)

As we look ahead to the 2018 legislative session and to the elections, we have a lot of shaking up of “business as usual” politics to do. We need elected officials running on bold issue platforms, not just “not Republicans” running for office.  

Here’s a few things coming your way:

  • Check your mail: If you’re a member, look for our legislative scorecard in the next few weeks to see how your legislator – and all legislators – voted on these important pieces of legislation. (If you’re not a member, you can join here! More people = more power!)
  • Stay tuned: At the end of May, we’re taking our vision of “Movement Politics” to a town near you!
  • Saturday, July 15: 2017 Statewide Convention: Revolution Iowa: From Protest to Power. Hopefully you saw the big news last week – Sen. Bernie Sanders will be coming back to Iowa to keynote our convention! Sign up here! (use promo code EARLYBERN to get $20 off registration fee!)

For a people first Iowa,

 

Adam & the CCI Action team

Learn more

  • We like the Iowa Fiscal Partnership’s take as well. They’re calling it the “Session of Supression.”

Stay plugged in!

 

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