Remembering September 11th
With gratitude and prayer, I think of those who lost their lives, their families and communities on this day 17 years ago. Thank you to the men and women who served our country not only on that day but in the conflicts and wars that followed. Our country owes a great debt to those who experienced such sacrifice and loss from those horrific attacks. Someday I would like to visit the 911 Memorial in New York, until then their website broadcasts a live feed of the September 11th Memorial Services and other commemorative events. https://www.911memorial.org.
Driving Near Stopped School Buses Safety Reminder
The school year is well on its way. Below is a chart to help us all remember when to pass and when not to pass a school bus. Check out the Iowa Department of Transportation’s website for more information at: https://iowadot.gov/schoolbus/highway-safety/requiredstopping
The rain has finally given us a much needed break. The National Weather Service’s website has a hydrograph that shows current and forecasted water levels in relation to flood stages on rivers across the state. It is a very informative and mostly user-friendly page. Check out their website for more information: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=dvn&gage=cidi4.
Failed Medicaid Privatization For-Profit Companies Get 7.5% Raise
Since the Governor unilaterally privatized Medicaid in 2016, people have been systematically denied critical care, essential medical equipment, and have had their services severely reduced or cut altogether. Providers have had to close their doors, or like the University of Iowa Dental School, have stopped taking Medicaid patients altogether because the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are not paying them. In fact, the most recent report released by the State Ombudsman Office, the independent department responsible for investigating complaints against the state and local governments, found that there has been a 157% increase in Medicaid-related problems reported to the agency in 2017. Even with all of these issues, the MCOs are still getting a big raise from the Governor Reynolds to the tune of $102.9 million, or a 7.5% increase.
Every quarter, Governor Reynolds and Republican lawmakers continue to throw money at the MCOs without getting to the root of the problem. Democrats are concerned the State is shirking its responsibility, when it turned over the care of Iowans to private companies who seem more interested in lining their pockets with taxpayer money, than helping those individuals on Medicaid receive the services they need. Medicaid provides health care to 600,000 Iowans, including those in nursing homes. According to recent estimates, about 70% of Medicaid dollars are used for the elderly, severely disabled, and poor. Because this affects our most vulnerable population, it is imperative we understand the true impact privatization is having on our state.
Legislature Seeking High School Students to Serve in the Page Program
The Iowa Legislature is looking for high school students to learn more about the legislative process by applying to serve as a Legislative Page in the Iowa House of Representatives for the 2019 Legislative Session.
Legislative Pages provide invaluable assistance to representatives and staff by running errands, delivering messages, and distributing bills and amendments. Pages also assist legislative members at committee meetings and help the chairperson by handing out materials during the meetings. Pages will work with staff and representatives in the Iowa State Capitol building.
The Iowa House Chief Clerk’s office will be accepting applications until Friday, October 5, 2018.
Guidelines to the program:
• Must be 16 years of age
• Applications are accepted for the Senate, House, or Legislative Services Agency
• Uniforms are provided
• Living arrangements are unsupervised and must be found on your own
• Students are responsible for transportation to and from the State Capitol
• This is a paid position and some excused absences are permitted
• Students are expected to be able to handle any school responsibilities
• Parental permission is required to participate in this program
For more details and how to apply go to www.legis.iowa.gov/agencies/
Traffic Camera Fight Revived in Iowa Supreme Court
After ruling that cities could turn back on their traffic cameras to monitor traffic, the Iowa Supreme Court may have breathed new life into the fight against the traffic cameras. The Court action revolves around the type of fine that is charged to a driver who issued a citation. The court has ruled that the fines are to be considered municipal fines, which carry a higher burden of proof. The city had been issuing citations as civil procedures. This change reverses a lower court decision.
The lawsuit was filed by a group who argue that the speed camera citations violate due process and several aspects of the Iowa Constitution. The court also dismissed two cases that tried to argue cities were violating the constitution by using a private company for the cameras
Some cities like Des Moines have begun issuing citations again after having their cameras turned off, while the city of Cedar Rapids is waiting for direction from the city council to turn their cameras back on.
Hunting Seasons Starting in September
With the unofficial end of summer, fall hunting season is in full swing. September 1st marked the start of dove, snipe, rail, cottontail rabbit, Canada goose, teal, and squirrel hunting. Later in the month the youth deer season and disabled hunter deer season starts, as well as waterfowl. For more information about hunting and to purchase licenses visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting