Ashley’s Angle: Week Five 2/9/17

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Trusted. Proven. Leader

Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent Iowa House District 67. I am proud to represent people from Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, and Cedar Rapids.

Space was limited in the Capitol on Tuesday, but I found a corner of the House Chambers to meet with city representatives from Hiawatha.

Lots of Action This Week!

House Business
As many of you may have heard, the hot topic of the week was collective bargaining (aka Chapter 20). I would first like to say that I do support reforming collective bargaining. One of my primary concerns about the “current system” is just that, it is not current. Collective bargaining has not had a serious review for over 40 years. Many of the individuals covered under Chapter 20 weren’t even alive the last time it was examined.

I do believe there is a lot of misinformation flying around about House Study Bill 84 (HSB 84) and that is why I have provided some of the larger aspects of collective bargaining that the bill does not affect. I encourage everyone to read the bill for themselves and then weight the arguments against what you read. To those of you who have emailed, thank you. I am diligently trying to respond to all constituents, but as you may imagine, the list is long.

What HSB 84 does not do

  • The bill does not affect private sector unions.
  • The bill does not repeal the right to collectively bargain for government employees.
  • The bill does not affect pensions in any way.
  • The bill does not take away health insurance.  Under the bill the state is required to provide a health insurance plan to employees.
  • The bill does not mandate that local governments must join a statewide health insurance pool.

Last week, I outlined some of the features from General Orr’s address to the joint session. I would like to follow up some new information presented by General Orr to my budget subcommittee. He shared that members of the Iowa National Guard will be heading to Cuba on a mission to provide security at Guantanamo Bay. In December 2015, the Secretary of Defense overturned a long held rule barring women from holding some combat roles despite women participating in combat throughout Afghanistan and Iraq. The Iowa National Guard currently has two women serving in combat roles and is encouraged that many more will follow suite. Lastly, General Orr underscored the Iowa National Guard’s preparedness and special training to handle domestic situations of any nature. 

Other Business
On Thursday, the “It steers, it clears” bill (featured in last weeks newsletter) went before the full committee on Transportation. I introduced the bill and passed with full bipartisan support. The next step on the process will be for the bill to get scheduled for floor debate. 

I was able to meet with the Older Iowan Legislature and a member from the Governor’s Office to discuss an idea for the Future Ready Iowa initiative. My hope is that we got the ball rolling on an apprenticeship program that focuses on the field of caregivers. The field is a growing one and could be a great economic boon in Iowa and for Iowans.

Lastly, Iowa State University provided me with a legislative district profile and I thought I’d share some of that information. All numbers are estimates and do have a margin of error.

  • District 67 Population: 32,061
  • Median Age: 37.8
  • Percent Below Poverty Line: 4.9%
  • Percent Unemployed: 3.2%
  • Median Earnings: $41,076
  • Median Household Income: $75,041
  • Median House Value: $172,800
    Capitol Visitors
    Rep. Louie Zumbach (far right) and I were happy to meet and speak with Keith Paulsen (left), Darren Kreiner (center), Jeremy Price (right), and Jim Ellis (seated). All are Linn County members of Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa.
    Preston Moore and Katrina Hamilton of the Cedar Valley Humane Society visited the Capitol and discussed ways we can give Law Enforcement Officers the tools they need to protect and serve our furry friends.
    President Bob Carlson and Duane Jasper of the Cedar Rapids Metro YMCA were up early to meet with legislators to talk about their organization.
    Got a selfie with neighbor and now Drake University Pharmacy student Carter Chapman on the Iowa Pharmacy Association’s Day on the Hill.