In an earlier post titled “Five senate bills target Iowans on public assistance,” we took a deep dive into legislation that was designed to kick Iowans off the roles in various programs. They are the working poor, disabled, children, and the elderly. Many would be destitute if not for this assistance.

The messaging is that those on public assistance are somehow taking advantage of the system, a wedge issue that is propagated to create conflict among constituents. That distracts them from who the legislators who drive these wedges are working for, and it isn’t the voters.

Senate Study Bill 1131 is the real goal of these five bills, so it is important that we recognize the percentage of constituents in each Senator’s district the legislation would impact. If SSB 1131 gets to the Senate floor, a yes vote would make removing vulnerable Iowan’s from the roles much easier.

The vendor that wants this contract has incentive to increase their profits the more Iowans they exclude from the programs.

Rural Iowa would be the hardest hit

You can see from the map below the poverty rates in rural areas can be extremely high as a low minimum wage and limited jobs like convenience stores means that low skilled workers have no choice but to apply for assistance. An interactive map that has more precise percentages can be found here.

This data shows the percent of Iowans below the Federal poverty level. Medicaid, SNAP, and other programs allow a much higher threshold to qualify. To qualify for Medicaid, you can earn 138% of the Federal poverty rate. That means those earning 38% more than those represented in the map above are most likely on Medicaid as it is their only option for healthcare. This increases these percentages dramatically.

The Senator that sponsored this bill, Republican Jason Schultz, lives in Crawford County. If this legislation is enacted, one out of four of his constituents in Crawford would be impacted.

The table below shows the federal poverty levels as of 2019

Senators’ votes are what will make things worse, not the current poverty levels

SSB 1131’s sponsor Senator Jason Shultz, Republican from Crawford County, lives in one of the counties with the highest poverty percentages in the state, 18.5%. That translates into at least 18.5% of his constituents in Crawford facing two to three times as many chances to be removed from assistance if SSB 1131 passes. DHS is an already overburdened system, and when mistakes are made it can take months to be reinstated. That is the strategy behind this legislation.

It’s important to recognize that a county with a high poverty percentage does not mean the Senator who represents it supports this legislation. Senator Herman Quirmbach, Democrat from Story County, represents Ames in Story county. Story counties’ percentage of Iowans below the poverty level is 22 percent, the highest level in the State. It’s a safe bet that Quirmbach will be voting against SSB 1131 if it’s brought up for debate.

A portion of Story county is also represented by both Senator Jerry Behn, Republican from Boone, and Senator Annette Sweeney, Republican from Hardin. If SSB 1131 gets to the Senate floor, we will see if they vote to make things harder for their constituents in Story.

Call to action to contact your Senator

Senators are represented below with a link to contact information on the left and an email address on the right. The far-right number is the percentage of constituents that are below the poverty level in their district to illustrate just how many Iowans are already struggling. This puts into perspective the level of cruelty Senators would be inflicting on their own constituents with a yes vote.

Please contact your Senator and ask them not to pass SSB 1131 that would take away lifelines to struggling Iowans. And you can contact Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and Senate President Charles Schneider and ask them not to bring this legislation to the Senate floor for a Vote!

District 1 Zach Whiting Republican zach.whiting@legis.iowa.gov 8.66
District 2 Randy Feenstra Republican randy.feenstra@legis.iowa.gov 9.65
District 3 Jim Carlin Republican jim.carlin@legis.iowa.gov 11.55
District 4 Dennis Guth Republican dennis.guth@legis.iowa.gov 11.12
District 5 Tim Kraayenbrink Republican tim.kraayenbrink@legis.iowa.gov 13.75
District 6 Mark Segebart Republican mark.segebart@legis.iowa.gov 12.6
District 7 Jackie Smith Democrat jackie.smith@legis.iowa.gov 14
District 8 Dan Dawson Republican dan.dawson@legis.iowa.gov 11.2
District 9 Jason Schultz Republican jason.schultz@legis.iowa.gov 12.8
District 10 Jake Chapman Republican jake.chapman@legis.iowa.gov 10.23
District 11 Tom Shipley Republican tom.shipley@legis.iowa.gov 12.82
District 12 Mark Costello Republican mark.costello@legis.iowa.gov 12
District 13 Julian B. Garrett Republican julian.garrett@legis.iowa.gov 6.75
District 14 Amy Sinclair Republican amy.sinclair@legis.iowa.gov 13.11
District 15 Zach Nunn Republican zach.nunn@legis.iowa.gov 10.4
District 16 Nate Boulton Democrat nate.boulton@legis.iowa.gov 11.7
District 17 Tony Bisignano Democrat tony.bisignano@legis.iowa.gov 11.7
District 18 Janet Petersen Democrat janet.petersen@legis.iowa.gov 11.7
District 19 Jack Whitver Republican jack.whitver@legis.iowa.gov 11.7
District 20 Brad Zaun Republican brad.zaun@legis.iowa.gov 11.7
District 21 Claire Celsi Democrat claire.celsi@legis.iowa.gov 11.7
District 22 Charles Schneider Republican charles.schneider@legis.iowa.gov 8.55
District 23 Herman C. Quirmbach Democrat herman.quirmbach@legis.iowa.gov 22
District 24 Jerry Behn Republican jerry.behn@legis.iowa.gov 13.4
District 25 Annette Sweeney Republican annette.sweeney@legis.iowa.gov 11.3
District 26 Waylon Brown Republican waylon.brown@legis.iowa.gov 10.18
District 27 Amanda Ragan Democrat amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov 12.1
District 28 Michael Breitbach Republican michael.breitbach@legis.iowa.gov 10.65
District 29 Carrie Koelker Republican carrie.koelker@legis.iowa.gov 11
District 30 open seat 15.9
District 31 William A. Dotzler Jr. Democrat bill.dotzler@legis.iowa.gov 15.9
District 32 Craig Johnson Republican craig.johnson@legis.iowa.gov 15.9
District 33 Robert Hogg Democrat rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov 11.05
District 34 Liz Mathis Democrat liz.mathis@legis.iowa.gov 9.5
District 35 Todd E. Taylor Democrat todd.taylor@legis.iowa.gov 9.5
District 36 Jeff Edler Republican jeff.edler@legis.iowa.gov 9.5
District 37 Zach Wahls Democrat zach.wahls@legis.iowa.gov 11.5
District 38 Tim L. Kapucian Republican tim.kapucian@legis.iowa.gov 11.55
District 39 Kevin Kinney Democrat kevin.kinney@legis.iowa.gov 9.73
District 40 Ken Rozenboom Republican ken.rozenboom@legis.iowa.gov 12.67
District 41 Mariannette Miller-Meeks Republican mariannette.miller-meeks@legis.iowa.gov 13.74
District 42 Rich Taylor Democrat rich.taylor@legis.iowa.gov 14.98
District 43 Joe Bolkcom Democrat joe.bolkcom@legis.iowa.gov 13.2
District 44 Thomas A. Greene Republican tom.greene@legis.iowa.gov 17.7
District 45 Jim Lykam Democrat jim.lykam@legis.iowa.gov 12.27
District 46 Mark S. Lofgren Republican mark.lofgren@legis.iowa.gov 12.3
District 47 Roby Smith Republican roby.smith@legis.iowa.gov 11.4
District 48 Dan Zumbach Republican dan.zumbach@legis.iowa.gov 12.3
District 49 Chris Cournoyer Republican chris.cournoyer@legis.iowa.gov 8.9
District 50 Pam Jochum Democrat pam.jochum@legis.iowa.gov 11.9

 

by Matt Chapman
Image via Iowa Data Center
Posted 3/4/19

One thought on “GOP Senators Push Poverty Bill That Hurts Their Constituents

  1. Everyone I know in rural Iowa thinks those getting assistance are lazy and cheating the system. These areas are deep red, and they are cheering for this legislation. They don’t care that it would hurt people.

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