Update From the House for District 80 – February 19th, 2021

by Holly Brink

Week 6 Update

Hello Friends,

It was a busy sixth week at the Iowa Capitol. Despite the challenges that the year presents, Iowans still, rightfully, expect us to show up and do the job you all elected us to do. That’s why the Iowa House was hard at work to improve the lives of Iowans this week. Here are some of the highlights.
1. Additional Funding for Schools
Last night we were able to provide schools with over 30 million in additional funding to school districts around the state. The funding will be distributed so that schools that focused on keeping students in the classroom will be compensated for the additional costs that that priority caused them to incur.

We know that in person learning works better for some kids. School districts that focused on providing in person education to their students should not face the financial burden for that. Things like hand sanitizer, masks, and other PPE are not free and I am proud that the Legislature was able to provide this support and continue to invest in our schools.

2. Election Law
Representative Kaufmann introduced a new bill this week that will improve our elections. The Senate has started work on the bill as well.
Highlights of the current bill include:

Adding and strengthening Election Misconduct penalties, such as penalties for election officials who fail to follow or implement SOS guidance or disregard the law.
Mandates voter registration maintenance and creates a penalty for election officials who fail to perform voter maintenance.
Reforms the absentee ballot process

Included absentee ballot reforms are:

Absentee ballot requests begin 70 days before an election (was 120)
Prohibits pre-filled absentee ballot request forms (except type and date of election)
Absentee ballots shall be mailed no more than 18 days before the election (was 29 days)
Absentee voting in person and satellite voting shall not start before 18 days before the election
Restricts ballot harvesting to lawful return of an absentee ballot by the voter or individual who lives in the same house as the voter, an immediate family member, or a qualified caretaker

Because of the actions taken by the Legislature in the past, Iowa’s election system is safe and secure and in 2020 we had record turnout. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take actions to improve it. Every election is an opportunity to evaluate our system and work to make it better than it was the election before.

3. Government Oversight Preview
I invited Ames Community School District leaders, including the Superintendent Dr. Jenny Risner and Director of Equity Dr. Anthony Jones, to discuss the school district’s controversial curriculum presented during Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action which occurred Feb. 1-5. They will appear before the House Government Oversight committee on Feb. 23.

The Ames school district gained national attention for its required week-long curriculum. Local parents, students and resident contacted Republican legislators regarding their fear that any publicly expressed questions or concerns to the curriculum would result in the child targeting and charges of racism.

The “Week of Action” was based around 13 guiding principles. The principles include topics such as “Globalism” and “Trans-affirming”. One principle’s explanation states “We are committed to disrupting the Western prescribed nuclear family structure…” and another calls students “comrades”. Myself and other members of the committee will be very interested to hear from Ames leaders on how this curriculum was chosen to teach their students, including elementary school students.

If you are visiting the Capitol, let me know and I would be happy to meet with you. Meeting with constituents and doing my best to deliver for you is why I ran in the first place.

All bills, including updates on status of the bills, can be found online at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook. Please reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. I always enjoy hearing from you!

Holly Brink
State Representative, Iowa District 80
(641)295-7111
Holly.brink@legis.iowa.gov

Posted by on Feb 19 2021. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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