Updates from the Hill.
RAIDING IPERS WON’T FIX REPUBLICAN BUDGET MISTAKES
Efforts by legislative Republicans to balance the budget have included many bad ideas. Breaking promises made to IPERS members may be the next bad idea on the list.
The Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) is a retirement plan used by many teachers, nurses, police officers and firefighters, and other local and state public employees. Their monthly contributions and contributions from their employers are invested and managed by a non-partisan board. Those investments provide 70 percent of payments to retirees.
IPERS is in good financial shape and is nationally praised for its non-partisan, long-term approach. This January, Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds acknowledged this, saying, “It’s the long-term performance that’s important and indicates financial health. IPERS is secure, strong and sustainable.”
So why are we suddenly hearing rumors that changes are imminent?
On March 27, Governor Branstad called for IPERS changes. A week later, during a television interview on Iowa’s budget crisis, the Republican chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee said IPERS should be reviewed as part of Iowa’s budget discussions.
Some may think raiding the IPERS trust fund could help “fix” Iowa’s budget mess, but that would be a big mistake.
Iowa’s state budget problems are due to a failure to grow family incomes and increase jobs. The Governor, Lt. Governor and legislators need to leave IPERS alone, and instead work with Democrats to strengthen Iowa’s economy.
APRIL IS SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
Many of us know someone who has been sexually assaulted. After all, one in five women and one in 33 men experience rape, and 60,000 children each year are victims of sexual abuse, according to the Iowa Department of Human Rights.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It’s a national effort to raise awareness about sexual assault, promote survivor support and solidarity, and celebrate consent. This is also a time to consider how we can better fight sexual assault and assist victims.
Bills in the Iowa House and Senate can help. Senate File 401/House File 375 would allow survivors of sexual assault to get a sexual abuse civil protective order to keep abusers away from them. This has been a long-time priority of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Currently, only victims of domestic violence and elder abuse can go to court to get a protective order that requires abusers to stay away from them, their home and their place of work. In sexual abuse cases, criminal charges are not always filed against perpetrators, so victims often need a protective order to help them feel safe.
Please contact your legislators and encourage them to support Senate File 401 and House File 375, so we can show the many victims of sexual abuse that their safety and peace of mind is a priority. Find your legislators’ contact information at www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find. Then e-mail them, or call and a leave a message at the Senate switchboard (515-281-3371) and House switchboard (515-281-3221).