2019 Issue #11

Issue 11, 12/29/2019

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The 2020 Iowa Legislative Session will begin on Monday, January 13, 2020.  Your State Senator and State Representative will be in Des Moines working at the State Capitol every Monday through Thursday until the 100-day session ends.  The "100 days" is just a target; it is the last day legislators get expenses for living in and commuting to Des Moines.  They can, and sometimes do, go longer.  

Looking ahead at the session, we wanted to get these dates on your calendar!

  • January 10:  Special Issue of infoNET (Guardianship law changes)
  • January 13: First Day of the Iowa Legislative Session
  • January 14: Governor's Condition of the State Speech/Release of Budget 
  • January 15: Condition of the Judiciary Speech/Release of Judicial Branch Budget
  • January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no session; legislators back in district)
  • January 24: Final day for legislators to sponsor bills (request bill drafts)
  • January 25: infoNET Issue #1
  • February 3: Iowa Caucuses (no session; legislators back in district)
  • February 8: infoNET Issue #2
  • February 21: First "Funnel" Deadline - House bills must be voted out of House committees; Senate bills must be voted out of Senate committees; all other bills are dead.
  • February 22: infoNET Issue #3
  • March 7: infoNET Issue #4
  • March 20: Second "Funnel" Deadline - House bills must be voted out of Senate committees; Senate bills must be voted out of House committees; all other bills are dead.
  • March 21: infoNET Issue #5
  • April 4: infoNET Issue #6
  • April 18: infoNET Issue #7
  • April 21:  100th Day of Session (target date to end session)
  • May 1: infoNET Issue #8 (End of Session Review)
  • Mary 21, or 30 days after end of session: Governor's Deadline to Sign Legislation into Law
  • June 2: Primary Election 
  • June 12: infoNET Issue #9 (Final Session Report; Primary Election Results)

Iowans with Disabilities in Action will provide eight Capitol Day grants up to $500 each for advocacy training and support to local advocacy groups who are interested in meeting with their legislators at the Iowa State Capitol and advocating on behalf of disability-related issues. If you are a member of a group that would like to come to the Capitol to advocate, you can apply or find out more information at idaction.org/get-involved/capitol-days/.

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This year, we will be hosting monthly call-ins to give advocates with disabilities a chance to ask questions about the issues being discussed at the Capitol, the legislative process, or general advocacy questions. We'll start each call with a quick update, and leave the rest of the time for you to ask questions.   

You can call in or join us by computer at the following links:

Friday, January 17 @ Noon

To join by phone:  (646) 558-8656  or (669) 900-9128 
When asked, enter the following webinar ID: 100 147 285

To join by computer or iPhone/Android device:
Please click this URL to join. https://capture.zoom.us/j/100147285


Friday, February 14 @ Noon

To join by phone:  (646) 558-8656  or (669) 900-9128 
When asked, enter the following webinar ID: 781 041 837

To join by computer or iPhone/Android device:
Please click this URL to join. https://capture.zoom.us/j/781041837 


Friday, March 13 @ Noon

To join by phone:  (646) 558-8656  or (669) 900-9128 
When asked, enter the following webinar ID: 104 444 278

To join by computer or iPhone/Android device:
Please click this URL to join. https://capture.zoom.us/j/104444278


Friday, April 10 @ Noon

To join by phone:  (646) 558-8656  or (669) 900-9128 
When asked, enter the following webinar ID: 911 690 911

To join by computer or iPhone/Android device:
Please click this URL to join. https://capture.zoom.us/j/911690911



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We all have them - lose weight, exercise more, get a better job, be more kind - New Year's Resolutions.  This year, consider adding one or more of these advocacy resolutions to your list:

  1. Go to a local legislative forum (we will list them here).
  2. Find out who represents you at the State Capitol (you can find out here).
  3. Email your legislators and the Governor about an issue (you can do that here).
  4. Sign up for your legislators' newsletters (click here for Senators, click here for Representatives; click on your legislator and you'll find the sign-up link at the bottom of the page).
  5. Introduce yourself to your legislators at a forum or a local event (or come see them at the Capitol).
These are only a few ideas. Be creative, but be proactive.  It takes time to pass laws, so it is never too late to start!

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The Iowa Caucuses are just a few short weeks away on Monday, February 3, 2020.  Remember that you need to be in line by 7:00 p.m. on caucus night to participate.  Here is a quick caucus checklist:

  • You must be at least 18 years old by November 3, 2020.  That means you can participate in the caucus if you are 17 years old, but will turn 18 before the General Election on November 3, 2020.
  • You must be registered to vote.  You can register on caucus night, but it will be crowded and chaotic and registering voters takes a lot of time.  For your sake (and the sake of other caucus goers who want to have the caucus end quickly) - register right now!  You can check if you are registered here.  You can find more information on registering to vote on the Secretary of State's website (www.sos.iowa.gov).  They have information in written form and have several videos to explain the voter registration process. You can also go to your county auditor's office, which is usually (but not always) located in your county courthouse.  A list of county auditors is available here.
  • You do not need an ID to participate in the caucuses.  These are party functions, so voter ID laws do not apply to the caucuses.
  • You must declare a party to participate.  Only registered Republicans can participate in the Republican caucuses, and only registered Democrats can participate in the Democratic caucuses. You can change your party at or before the caucuses if you want to participate, then change back the next day if you want (or any time you want).  Again, these are party-run events, so you need to be a member of the party to participate, even if you are a member for only one day.
  • If you need accommodations, it is a good idea to call or email your county chair ahead of time.  Both parties have been working hard to make sure their caucus locations are accessible to all, but it is always good to give them a heads up if you need to have someone help you participate, need a site that is accessible, need to make sure there is available seating, or need interpreter services. A list of county chairs can be found in our caucus guide listed below.
  • Once you are registered to vote, have become a member of the party where you want to caucus, and have let your county party chair know of any accommodations needed, make sure you have transportation lined up and plan to be at your caucus site early (remember, you must be in line by 7 p.m. to participate).  Getting to your caucus site in February may mean snow, and it'll be dark at 7 p.m.  If you are not sure how to get there, talk to the county party chair or campaign staff for the person you want to caucus for (they will have volunteers lined up to help get you there).  Remember, campaigns need your vote, so they will do anything they can to get you to the caucuses!
 Still unsure about the caucuses? Here are some resources to help you get ready:

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There is much more to the Iowa Caucuses then picking a Presidential candidate. Many people do not know that the caucus is a great place to advocate for issues, and to get more involved in their party's activities.

The caucuses are the starting points for the Democratic and Republican Party "Platforms."  A "platform" is a list of positions that the party is taking on issues.  Party members offer resolutions at their local precinct caucuses, which are discussed, adopted, and forwarded on to the county, district, and state conventions for further discussion.

  • Click here to read the current Republican Party platform.
  • Click here to read the current Democratic Party platform.

If you have an issue that you want to see the party take a stand on, bring it up at your caucus.  They will call these "resolutions" at the caucus, but they can be very simple.  If you care about employment of people with disabilities, you might bring something like the statement in the box to the right.  

It is a good idea to have it written on a piece of paper, and you should include your name and contact information in case someone wants to follow-up with you later.  More tips can be found in our caucus guide (starting on page 17).

We mentioned earlier that these resolutions get adopted and forwarded to the county, district, and state conventions.  The caucuses are also a time when you can get more involved with your party as a volunteer.  You can become a delegate to the county, district, and state conventions.  You can volunteer to serve on a committee, like the "Platform Committee" which decides which issues to forward to the next level.  Think about volunteering your time and getting more involved!

If you have an issue you care about, write it down and bring it to the caucus with you.  Offer it as a resolution, and volunteer to be on the platform committee, be a delegate, or help out in some other way.  It's a great way to advocate for your isssues.

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Iowans with Disabilities in Action wants to hear your caucus stories!  Take pictures at your caucus and send them to us with your own personal thoughts about the caucus.  Did it go as you expected? Did you volunteer to be a delegate or serve on a committee?  Did you offer a resolution we should know about?  You don't need to share your name if you'd rather not, but we do want to hear how it went, and would love to share your photos!   Send them to us at infonetiowa@gmail.com.

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