Protecting Voting Rights
Legislators should oppose any efforts that would intimidate voters or create unnecessary barriers to this basic constitutional right. Iowa does not have a problem with voter impersonation at the polls. To require voters to show a state-issued photo ID will disenfranchise the poor, college students, minorities, persons with disabilities, and others. The funding needed to enact this could be put to better use in addressing the real problems this state faces (the Iowa State Association of County Auditors estimated the cost to be $1.7 million in document costs alone). We advocate strongly for all appropriate, duly considered measures which may include, but are not limited to, a constitutional amendment and which are: consistent with our current positions on campaign finance reform and individual liberties: allow Congress and the States to set reasonable regulations on campaign contributions and expenditures: and ensure elections are determined by the voters.
Guarantee Iowans have access to mental health services where they live, when they need them. Legislators should fully fund the state’s ongoing redesign of the mental health and disability services system so that both targeted populations and non-targeted populations are able to receive the services they need, provide adequate funding to reduce or eliminate waiting lists for Medicaid waiver services, and combine regional core and core plus services into a single menu so programs such as jail diversion and crisis intervention are recognized as an important part of the mental health services system.
Environment and Water Quality
Strengthen Iowa’s environmental programs, especially efforts to prevent pollution in our water sources, and to clean up state waterways. Many Iowa cities are facing high nitrate levels in their drinking water. River trails are becoming more popular, and drawing more out-of-state visitors to cities that have created whitewater trails like Charles City. Iowa’s waterways are an important part of the state’s economic development, attracting both tourists and businesses that want to offer workers a high quality of life. The Legislature needs to provide the resources needed to clean up Iowa’s waterways and expand Iowa’s Bottle Bill to include additional containers.
Criminal Justice Reforms
Increase public safety by decreasing the overuse of incarceration and provide funding for offender substance abuse and mental health treatment. Legislators should reduce mandatory minimums, modernize penalties for HIV transmission, reduce crack cocaine sentences to powder cocaine penalty, eliminate requirements of persons convicted under code section 709.4(2)(4) to register as a sex offender, repeal the requirement that county mental health dollars be returned to the State general fund in order to facilitate the development or expansion of jail diversion and crisis intervention services, and increase funds for mental health and substance abuse treatment and resources in order to successfully treat offenders in the community and divert individuals from the criminal justice system.
Guarantee access to women’s health services and protect women’s reproductive health choices. Women should have access to contraceptive services, including emergency contraception, and other reproductive health services. One in five women are uninsured, making access to high quality, comprehensive care even more difficult. Legislators should continue to develop and implement strategies at the state level to improve the health of women, and incorporate these strategies into the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan and health home initiatives. Legislators should also adopt common sense legislation that prohibits the shackling of pregnant women in correctional systems, following the practice guidelines set out by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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