CCI Action’s 2nd Funnel Legislative Update

Medicaid expansion fight continues to be the defining issue of the legislative session as CCI members declare victory on a number of other legislative issues

One of the most gridlocked and uninspired sessions in recent memory only promises to get worse after the “second funnel date” on April 5, the date that legislation must be passed out of one chamber and the corresponding committee in another –  Governor Branstad’s obstructionism on Medicaid expansion threatens to keep legislative leaders in Des Moines through June.

Iowa CCI Action members and everyday Iowans have been hard at work all session-long fighting for a good government that works for everybody, and public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics, and polluters.

 

Here is a snapshot of where our Statehouse legislative priorities stand now:

 

Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid expansion passed the Iowa Senate in late March and debate continues in the House Appropriations Committee.  The Governor’s alternative plan – widely seen as a stalling tactic with little hope of federal approval – was introduced on April 4.

Iowa CCI members have begun to call the governor’s proposal the “Healthy Profits Plan” (as health insurance companies such as Wellmark stand to make a large profit at the hands of everyday, taxpaying Iowans), a spin on Branstad’s label “the Healthy Iowa Plan”.

 

 Take Action!

  • Contact your Representative today to tell them to do the right thing and support Medicaid expansion today.  Click here to send your message.
  • Join a rally in your area to support Medicaid expansion on Sunday, April 7.  Click here for more details.
  • Have a story about how Medicaid expansion would affect you or someone you know?  Let us know by calling 515-255-0800.

 

Factory Farms and the Environment

There were no good bills to crack down on factory farm pollution proposed in the 2013 legislative session, but the fight for more factory farm inspectors will continue to play out at least through the end of April.

One bad bill proposed by Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp to remove public notice requirements from some Clean Water Act permits was gutted after community opposition led by Iowa CCI members forced House leaders to preserve the newspaper notices.

A bad factory farm de-regulation bill proposed by Senator Joe Seng (D-Davenport) known as the “mothball” bill has been removed from active debate by Senate leadership until the 2014 session, a big win for tough and tenacious grassroots organizing. The measure would allow bad factory farm actors who can’t properly manage their manure over the winter months to dump overflowing toxic waste into abandoned factory farms, raising the risk of more manure spills and water pollution.

 

Government Accountability

The Regents Accountability and Transparency Act passed the Iowa Senate on a 49-1 vote April 2, but the Iowa House State Government committee chair Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa) refused to hear the issue before the April 5 funnel.  However, key sections of this bill may re-appear in the standings bill at the end of the session or in recommendations made by the Regents’ transparency taskforce.

Though the future of Regents Accountability in legislation is uncertain, we can still work to stop Iowa Regent and former Farm Bureau head Craig Lang’s re-appointment to the Board of Regents. His confirmation remains in doubt as no Senate Democrat has publicly announced they will support his confirmation.

 

Take Action!

One bad bill that did not survive the second funnel was proposed by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board director Megan Tooker and would have centralized veto authority over ethics complaints with the board chair, allowing him or her to make unilateral rulings on ethics complaints without first holding a public hearing in front of the entire board.  The measure would have protected powerful interests while limiting the rights of citizen groups to hold them accountable.

 

Tax Policy

Iowa CCI members support the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families and oppose corporate property tax cuts for big business as well as a flat tax proposal to benefit the wealthiest Iowans and a similar plan to squander our large budget surplus by giving it away rather than reinvesting in vital public services that have faced cuts in recent years.

 

Worker’s Rights 

A bill to strengthen wage theft enforcement did not survive the first funnel last month, but yesterday the Senate passed an economic development funding measure that included appropriations for two more full-time wage theft inspectors at Iowa Workforce Development.

 

Electoral Justice

Voter ID legislation proposed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz failed to pass the Iowa House this year.

 

Join the fight

  • Contact us for more information
  • Join as an Iowa CCI Action Fund member today or chip in $20 to support our organizing this legislative session.
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