Statehouse update: People and Planet First progress

Our Farms, Our Air, Our Water – Agriculture, Environmental, & Climate Policies


Clean Water

Iowa CCI Action’s Clean Water Bill (SSB1191, SF256, HF489) that cracks down on bad manure application practices and strengthens DNR’s enforcement actions is still alive in both chambers.  However, the political reality is that Governor Branstad, many of our state legislators, and our corrupt DNR are more focused on throwing public money at this problem instead of cracking down on bad practices. CCI Action supports funding Iowa’s shared natural resources like parks, trails, and wildlife; however, we do not support any funding policy that throws public money at a private problem created by corporate agriculture. Proposals like increasing 3/8 cent sales tax to fund IWILL and Branstad’s plan to steal from education to fund voluntary water quality efforts are regressive taxes that continue business as usual and do not address the root cause of Iowa’s water quality problems. CCI Action members will continue to lift up our bill to make sure legislators know what’s really going on in rural Iowa and we’ll be putting a big focus on stopping any bad bill that continues business as usual agriculture and fails to crack down on polluters.


Climate and the Bakken Pipeline

This session, Iowa CCI pipeline fighters will be pushing for legislation proposed by House Democrats that would force a full, independent environmental review of the Bakken Pipeline  (HF 2059), as well as pending legislation from last session that would provide tougher protections for Iowa farmers by restricting eminent domain use for hazardous crude oil pipelines (SF 506). At the same time, CCI members will lift up good legislation that will create jobs and advance our renewable energy agenda like SF 2028, 2029, 2030, 2031, and 2034, while fighting against bad legislation that would undermine Iowa’s gains on renewable energy like HF 2100.


Our Wages, Our Work – Worker Justice & Financial Security Policies


Minimum Wage

Last Thursday, House Democrats introduced HF 2153, a bill to raise the minimum wage to $12/hr by 2017 with annual adjustments based on the cost of living. We are calling on the Senate to sponsor a companion bill immediately and scratch last session’s bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.75. We need a living wage. While we believe a $12/hr minimum wage is a step in the right direction, we support a living wage which calls for at least $15/hour tied to cost of living indexing.


Wage Theft

This week there have been two subcommittees on SF 398, a bill that provides more resources to the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate wage theft claims. The bill was introduced by Senator Bertrand (R), and is currently in the Senate labor subcommittee chaired by Senator Dotzler (D). While the IWD and the DOL do need more resources to investigate the overwhelming number of wage claims that are filed every year, we also need a bill that outlaws wage theft, creates harsh fines and penalties to businesses that violate that law, and designates more resources to better investigate those violations. We are working to build on the bill introduced by Bertrand with amendments to make it stronger and create stricter penalties for businesses that abuse their workers by practicing wage theft.


Payday Lending

Though members will continue to push for interest rate caps on predatory payday loans, not much is expected to happen this legislative session at the Statehouse.  At the federal level, however, action is expected soon from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with draft rules to curtail the worst abuses of the predatory lending industry nationwide.  Stay tuned for ways you can take action here in Iowa that will have an impact across the country.


Our Rights, Our Equality – Racial Justice Policies


Racial Justice

We have been working in coalition with other statewide groups to make racial profiling illegal in Iowa. We are only one of 20 states that don’t have anything on the books regarding racial profiling. We are waiting for the racial profiling bill to be dropped in the House and Joe Bolkcom has agreed to introduce the coalition bill in the Senate. We are also working on a bill to require all police officers statewide to wear body cameras.


Ban the Box

Last Thursday there was a second subcommittee meeting in the Senate on SF 84 which would “ban the box” on employment applications. This would make it easier for returning citizens all people with criminal records to, at the very least, get their foot in the door and apply for jobs. This would lower recidivism rates as people could actually return to normal life. Currently 19 states have passed similar legislation. We expect there to be a final subcommittee vote this week and will go forward to Judiciary committee next week.



Last year, CCI Action, as part of an immigration coalition across the state, drafted and supported SSB 1092 which sought to create temporary drivers’ licenses for undocumented residents of Iowa. This bill has overwhelming support from community leaders and local law enforcement agencies. We expect it to pass out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next few weeks.

While we have immense support from the public for inclusive local immigration initiatives, there are a few anti-immigrant bills proposed in the House this session. HSB 558 is a study bill in the House Public Safety Committee that seeks to prohibit city, county, and state law enforcement agencies from declining to work and aid Federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement. CCI Action members have been vocal about opposing this bill because it places the burden of a broken immigration system onto the shoulders of local law enforcement instead of being fixed and improved at the federal level; it promotes racial profiling of people of color and enforces distrust of law enforcement among those communities; it instills fear in many people and prevents them from reporting crimes or seeking help for important situations such as domestic violence or sexual assault; and most importantly, it establishes the notion that Iowa is not a welcoming or inclusive state. CCI Action will continue to voice concerns against these insidious bills and push for inclusive policies like temporary drivers’ licenses.


Our Government, Our Voice – Electoral Policy To Build A People & Planet First Iowa


Automatic Voter Registration

Last week we saw good legislation (SF 2099, SSB 3075, & HF 2162) introduced that would register more Iowans to vote. What’s commonly known as Universal or Automatic Voter Registration would mean that all Iowans have to “opt out” of being registered to vote, rather than “opt in” under the current process. We believe that more people should participate in the electoral and civic process, and as such support this bill to register all Iowans to vote. We’ll be tracking these bills in both chambers as they work their way through the State Government committees.


Felon Voting Restoration

Iowa is one of 3 states in the country where the decision is left up to the governor to decide whether or not returning citizens have the right to vote. We are working on a bill, SSB 3101, that would restore the voting rights of returning citizens. This bill restores the right to vote when a person is discharged from a felony sentence, including finishing any term of parole, probation or supervised release.


Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when it’s time to take action!


Don’t miss Rally and Lobby Day 2016!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Meet at the Wallace Building |  502 E 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50319

Join the fight!

  • Contact us for more information
  • Join as an Iowa CCI Action Fund member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
  • Sign up for our E-Mail Action list to get the latest updates
  • Donate today: help us change “business as usual” politics here on the ground in Iowa day after day, year after year after year