This week marked the first "funnel" week of the 2021 legislative session. The funnel is is a self-imposed deadline for legislators in both chambers to pass certain bills out of committee and send them to the floor for debate. With some notable exceptions — bills dealing with appropriations, ways and means and government oversight, or introduced by leadership — bills that didn't make it out of a committee are now ineligible for a vote. Stay tuned next week for more in-depth update on where legislation stands, and read on for some timely policy updates. 


Preschool funding cuts divest from Iowa's future

Current school funding packages at the legislature would cut more than $7 million from Iowa school districts' preschool budgets — and keep more than 2,600 children from attending publicly funded preschool. Our friend E.J. Wallace from Save the Children Action Network explains in the Des Moines Register how lawmakers have allowed this COVID-related budget mess to stand and how to fix it. 


A $15 minimum wage would benefit Iowans, the economy

A minimum wage increase may be out of the latest federal Covid relief bill, but it must remain a priority for lawmakers. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the earnings of 30 percent of workers in our state. Iowa's current $7.25 per hour minimum, in place for 13 years, has failed to keep up with the cost of living, forcing many Iowa workers to scrape together multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Iowans working at minimum wage — folks who care for children, gather groceries and perform all those other tasks that we so clearly recognize now as essential to our well-being — need a living wage of $15 an hour.  Read our fact sheet.


As Iowans struggle with the pandemic, legislators offer support — to big businesses

Lawmakers' upside-down priorities — creating barriers for strapped Iowans to get food and meet other basic needs while subsidizing big businesses for activities they would do anyway — couldn't come at a worse moment, deputy director Mike Owen wrote this week in the Quad City Times. 

"Timing is everything. It is especially bad timing to cut Iowans from food assistance and other basic support during a deadly pandemic that has claimed over 5,400 Iowa lives, infected well over 1 in 10 Iowans and led to a devastating economic crisis.

"Even worse is proposing these cuts two weeks after the state reminded us how much Iowa spends on its largest business tax credit."


Your voice makes a difference

The pandemic has made advocating directly with lawmakers more difficult, but not impossible. And it's made the voices of individual Iowans even more important. Not sure who represents you? Check out our lawmaker lookup tool to get the details — including contact information  on your legislators. Find out who represents you


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