The following is a legislative update from Democratic Rep. Sharon Steckman, serving her sixth term in the Iowa House, representing District 53 – the middle-third of Cerro Gordo county – in the Iowa Legislature:
The atmosphere at the Statehouse has settled down a bit since Monday…but it was very disheartening to lose the battle against the voucher bill. Of course, we knew it was a long shot that we would be able to gather the 51 votes necessary to stop it from becoming law in Iowa.
I must say that it was gratifying to hear from so many people all across the state (and most particularly north Iowa) who stated in the most passionate terms their feelings about diverting public money to private schools. Many did extensive research and had the numbers to back up their stance. Others related personal stories about their children’s experiences with and support from their teachers in public schools. Some stated that their children who needed additional support in order to do well in school had not or would not be accepted in private schools. And many were just plain appalled that this was happening in Iowa.
So, thank you to all who communicated with me and other legislators throughout the process. I am still answering the last few emails I received on Monday which were overwhelmingly against.
Another matter has come up that I find very troubling: you will not be surprised to learn that I am opposed to anything that would take away food from Iowa’s children. HF3, dealing with SNAP, is currently moving through the committee process and it is designed to do just that.
Apparently, the Governor and her party have taken a close look at the current situation for Iowa’s families – inflationary pressures on food prices – and decided this is the perfect moment to make it more difficult for them to provide nourishment for those seated around their tables. Please note the article below which details this harmful and morally wrong piece of legislation. The latest statistics regarding SNAP fraud show that payment accuracy is over 92%. As stated in the article below, “lawmakers should be working together to protect Iowa kids, not playing politics to punish Iowans who may need food or health care”.
On a much more positive note, I want to give a shout out to Melody Stone of Clear Lake. Melody was one of six recently honored at the Statehouse for their efforts in combatting human trafficking across Iowa. Also…much of the work we do in this building is bipartisan although the public often hears much more about the divisive bills. This week, in both State Government and Education, we passed out several pieces of bipartisan legislation that will head to the floor for debate.
Visitors are really beginning to come back to visit the legislature. I have sometimes been hard-pressed in the last two years or so to come up with pictures of constituents who were visiting the Capitol. It was good to visit with several people from North Iowa this week!
As always, please feel free to contact me anytime with your concerns.