New Laws Starting July 1

A host of new laws will take effect on July 1, the start of the state’s new fiscal year. A number of bi-partisan bills were passed during the 2019 Legislative Session designed to protect Iowans.  In an effort to curb the abuse of opioids in Iowa, a new law will make it easier for those [...]

Spread the word about abuse hotline

The Iowa Attorney General’s office recently established a new toll-free hotline for adult survivors to report child sexual abuse.

This is an important step to ensure that survivors of child sex abuse get the justice they deserve.  Iowans will be safer when we know the truth about sex offenders among us and better understand how to prevent child sex abuse.

You can help by promoting this hotline so that more survivors know that they can seek justice.

I encourage you to distribute information about the hotline — 855-620-7000 – to your employees, stakeholders and clients/customers, and any other Iowans that you connect with. Spread the word via:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media
  • Websites
  • Bulletin boards
  • Staff meetings
  • Any public meetings
  • Public service announcements

Feel free to use the flyer and social media graphic below!

It’s going to take a team effort by religious organizations, nonprofits, governmental agencies, businesses and news media to get the word out. I appreciate anything you can do to ensure more adult survivors of child sexual abuse know there is help and hope.



abuse hotline flyer


Social media graphic

Medical cannabis veto override is more than halfway to goal

Iowa Legislature Release
For Immediate Release: June 24, 2019 


Medical cannabis veto override is more than halfway to goal

Iowans urged to contact legislators who voted for reforms but have yet to defend their votes

Des Moines, Iowa – Iowans pushing to overturn Governor Reynold’s veto of medical cannabis reforms are more than halfway towards their goal of calling for a special session.

House File 732 would have made substantial improvements to Iowa’s “worst in the nation” medical cannabis law.  It was overwhelmingly approved in April by the Iowa House on a vote of 96 to 3 and by the Iowa Senate on a vote of 40 to 7.

A special session to override the veto will be held if two-thirds of the members of the House (67) and two-thirds of the Senate (34) each submit a written request.

As of Monday, June 24, Iowa’s 18 Democratic State Senators and 47 Democratic State Representatives have all either submitted or plan to submit a request for a special session.

It is unclear whether any of the Republicans who voted for the bill–50 in the House and 24 in the Senate–have requested a special session.

“The voices of ordinary Iowans have gotten us this far.  They need to keep fighting because that is the only way this mean-spirited veto will be overridden,” said Senator Joe Bolkcom.  “I urge every Iowan to encourage Republican legislators to defend their votes for urgently needed Iowa medical cannabis reforms.”

More information about the effort to pass Iowa medical cannabis reform can be found here:

Below is a list of the members of the Iowa House and Senate who voted for Iowa Medical cannabis and who have not yet expressed support for a special session to override the veto.

Sen Waylon Brown, (641)-590-0610, [email protected], St Ansgar

Sen Jake Chapman, (515)-650-3942, [email protected], Adel

Sen Chris Cournoyer, (563)-289-7335, [email protected], LeClaire

Sen Jeff Edler, (641)-751-5902, [email protected], State Center

Sen Thomas A. Greene, (319)-750-6579, [email protected], Burlington

Sen Dennis Guth, (641)-430-0424, [email protected], Klemme

Sen Craig Johnson, (319)-334-2413, [email protected], Independence

Sen Tim L. Kapucian, (319)-334-2413, [email protected], Keystone

Sen Carrie Koelker, (563)-590-5975, [email protected], Dyersville

Sen Tim Kraayenbrink, (515)-408-4770, [email protected], Fort Dodge

Sen Mark S. Lofgren, (563)-272-8683, [email protected], Muscatine

Sen Mariannette Miller-Meeks, (641)-683-7551, [email protected], Ottumwa

Sen Zach Nunn, (515)-519-2246, [email protected], Altoona

Sen Ken Rozenboom, (641)-295-6551, [email protected], Oskaloosa

Sen Charles Schneider, (515)-657-7375, [email protected], West Des Moines

Sen Jason Schultz, (712)-269-2178, [email protected], Schleswig

Sen Mark Segebart, (712)-269-4519, [email protected], Vail

Sen Tom Shipley, (712)-785-3583, [email protected], Nodaway

Sen Amy Sinclair, (641)-870-0199, [email protected], Allerton

Sen Roby Smith, (563)-386-0179, [email protected], Davenport

Sen Annette Sweeney, (641)-373-4899, [email protected], Alden

Sen Jack Whitver, (515)-281-3371, [email protected], Spirit Lake

Sen Brad Zaun, (515)-276-2025, [email protected], Urbandale

Sen Dan Zumbach, (563)-920-5094, [email protected], Ryan

Rep Robert P. Bacon, Not Listed, [email protected], Nevada

Rep Michael R. Bergan, (563)-380-3974, [email protected], Dorchester

Rep Brian Best, (712)-830-1844, [email protected], Glidden

Rep Jacob Bossman, (712)-251-4541, [email protected], Sioux City

Rep Holly Brink, (641)-295-7111, [email protected], Oskaloosa

Rep Gary L. Carlson, (563)-299-7021, [email protected], Muscatine

Rep Dave Deyoe, (515)-382-2352, [email protected], Nevada

Rep Cecil Dolecheck, (641)-464-2913, [email protected], Mount Ayr

Rep Dean Fisher, (641)-750-3594, [email protected], Montour

Rep Joel Fry, (641)-342-1017, [email protected], Osceola

Rep Tedd Gassman, (515)-538-0117, [email protected], Scarville

Rep Thomas D. Gerhold, (319)-361-2950, [email protected], Atkins

Rep Pat Grassley, (319)-214-0351, [email protected], New Hartford

Rep Chris Hagenow, (515)-274-1652, [email protected], Urbandale

Rep Mary Ann Hanusa, (712)-256-5159, [email protected], Council Bluffs

Rep Lee Hein, (319)-480-1997, [email protected], Monticello

Rep Ashley Hinson, Not Listed, [email protected], Marion

Rep Dustin D. Hite, Not Listed, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Steven Holt, (712)-269-4042, [email protected], Denison

Rep Daniel Adair Huseman, (712)-434-5880, [email protected], Aurelia

Rep Jon Jacobsen, Not Listed, [email protected], Council Bluffs

Rep Tom Jeneary, (712)-539-1275, [email protected], Le Mars

Rep Megan Jones, (515)-991-7337, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Bobby Kaufmann, Not Listed, [email protected], Wilton

Rep David Kerr, Not Listed, [email protected], Morning Sun

Rep Jarad Klein, Not Listed, [email protected], Keota

Rep John Landon, (515)-249-0348, [email protected], Ankeny

Rep Brian K. Lohse, (515)-519-2347, [email protected], Bondurant

Rep Shannon Lundgren, (515)-428-0809, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep David E. Maxwell, (641)-660-0792, [email protected], Gibson

Rep Ann Meyer, (515)-570-6610, [email protected], Fort Dodge

Rep Joe Mitchell, Not Listed, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Gary M. Mohr, Not Listed, [email protected], Bettendorf

Rep Norlin G. Mommsen, (563)-357-9826, [email protected], DeWitt

Rep Tom Moore, Not Listed, [email protected], Griswold

Rep Anne Osmundson, (563)-880-8227, [email protected], Volga

Rep Ross C. Paustian, (563)-284-6783, [email protected], Walcott

Rep Sandy Salmon, (319)-987-3021, [email protected], Janesville

Rep Mike Sexton, (712)-830-3960, [email protected], Rockwell City

Rep Jeff Shipley, (319)-432-3108, [email protected], Fairfield

Rep David Sieck, Not Listed, [email protected], Glenwood

Rep Ray Sorensen, (712)-525-0580, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Phil Thompson, Not Listed, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Jon Thorup, (641)-891-9357, [email protected], Knoxville

Rep Linda L. Upmeyer, (641)-357-8807, [email protected], Clear Lake

Rep Skyler Wheeler, (712)-441-7444, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep John H. Wills, (712)-330-9492, [email protected], Spirit Lake

Rep Matt W. Windschitl, (712)-642-4334, [email protected], Missouri Valley

Rep Gary Worthan, (712)-732-6340, [email protected], Storm Lake

Rep Louis J. Zumbach, Not Listed, [email protected], Coggon


Statement on appointment of new DAS director

June 20, 2019

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on new DAS Director appointment

“The biggest job for Governor Reynolds and Jim Kurtenbach in the coming months is to restore taxpayers’ faith in the Department of Administrative Services.

“In a May 29 letter, I encouraged Governor Reynolds to appoint a new Director with the experience and proven track record necessary to write a new chapter. The Department must establish higher expectations than what we’ve seen over the past several years.

“It’s unclear at this time whether she has accomplished that goal with the appointment of Mr. Kurtenbach.

“The Governor and Mr. Kurtenbach will need to explain to Iowans how his background is suitable for this new job. We have seen numerous problems in recent years – multi-million dollar harassment settlements, hush money payments, understaffing that puts at risk the safety of state workers,  and unfair bargaining tactics, and biased hiring and procurement practices – that need to be addressed, not ignored.

“Mr. Kurtenbach must explain to Iowans what specific plans he has for addressing those problems and ensuring that all state employees and Iowans are safe and treated with dignity, and that tax dollars are not abused.”


The May 29 letter from Sen. Petersen to the Governor outlined problems that previous Directors either created or failed to address:• Denied Iowans access to basic public information about the number of harassment complaints in state government and how much taxpayer dollars have been spent to compensate harassment victims.• Taken a restrictive, punitive approach to negotiating contracts with state employees.

• Put the health and safety of state employees and Iowans at risk through dangerous staff reductions, overtime policies, and other employment practices that were previously protected under collective bargaining.

• Mishandled a sweeping scandal at the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) that included rampant harassment of employees, a failure by IFA staff and DAS staff to address complaints, and pay raises and promotions that were based on cronyism rather than merit.

• Approved secret settlements – described by some as “hush money” – to outgoing state employees.

• Endangered the rights of workers by maintaining a “do-not-hire” list without due process for workers to challenge their inclusion on the list.

• Failed to adequately update and enforce harassment policies in the executive branch.

• Conducted hirings, firings and promotions across state government that appear to be based on political connections rather than qualifications.

Statement on Governor’s explanation of DHS shakeup

Iowa Senate News Release
For Immediate Release:  18 June 2019

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen
on Governor’s latest statement on departure of DHS Director

“The Governor’s latest statement on the departure of Jerry Foxhoven is as clear as mud.

“If the Governor has been working behind closed doors for nearly six months on a new direction, a new team and a new vision for the Department of Human Services, she needs to back up her rhetoric with positive action. This includes outlining her specific plans to:

  • Fix a privatized Medicaid system that is unsustainable, unaffordable and unaccountable.
  • Reverse course on policies that decimated the state’s successful family planning network, resulting in more unintended pregnancies, more risky births, more teenage mothers.
  • Present a comprehensive plan for adequately funding mental health services for children and adults.
  • Stop dangerous practices and procedures at Glenwood, Eldora and other at state-operated facilities.
  • Rebuild the child protective safety net instead of putting dangerous holes in it.
  • Explain to Iowans why she made the decision to replace Foxhoven (a) when her Administration is in the middle of negotiations with both out-of-state managed care organizations (MCOs) and (b) when hundreds of thousands of Iowans are two weeks away from transitioning to a new MCO.

“Finally, I repeat my call for the Governor to immediately launch a nationwide search for a new Director of the Department of Human Services who is truly committed to watching out for the most vulnerable children and adults in Iowa.

“When then-Director Chuck Palmer resigned in 2017, the Governor posted the opening on the website of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services ( and that should be her first step to take in 2019.”


2019 Weekly Bill Tracking, Thurs. April 4 – Wed. April 10

WEEKLY BILL TRACKING Thurs. April 4 – Wed. April 10, 2019 HOUSE DEMOCRATIC RESEARCH STAFF Appropriations HF 674        Automated Traffic Enforcement. Establishes traffic camera regulation for local cities and law enforcement (passed House Appropriations 15-9) to House Calendar. HF 756         Federal Block Grants. Allocates Federal block grant appropriations to various State Agencies. (Passed the House 96-0) […]

2019 Weekly Bill Tracking, Thurs. March 28 – Wed. April 3

WEEKLY BILL TRACKING Thurs. March 28 – Wed. April 3, 2019 HOUSE DEMOCRATIC RESEARCH STAFF Agriculture SF 170          Agriculture Extension Offices.  Changes the dates and process for filling vacancies on ag extension councils.  (passed Committee 21-0) to House Calendar SF 548          Land Purchase Prevention. Prohibits the use of non-point source water pollution control projects that […]