Civic News & Info
Braley Announces Long Overdue FEMA Funds for Cedar Rapids PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 06 April 2012 08:23
FEMA overturns previous denial; approves $13.8 million for hydroelectric project


Cedar Rapids, IA - Today, Rep. Braley announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $13.8 million dollars for the City of Cedar Rapids, to help recover from the floods of 2008.


The approval overturns a previous denial of these same funds. Rep. Braley has been pushing FEMA for months, including on calls with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, to reverse their earlier decision and approve these funds.


"These recovery funds are long overdue. I'm glad that after years of fighting through government red tape, we're seeing real progress in getting federal funds to Cedar Rapids to help with the recovery," said Braley. "This investment will create jobs and further help the Cedar Rapids community move forward after the tragic disasters four years ago."


The funding will allow the City to repair the hydroelectric power plant, which was initially damaged in severe weather in 2007, and then further damaged during the floods of 2008. FEMA also announced today that funding has been denied for a second, much smaller project, to remove concrete slabs.


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This Week in the Senate by Senator Shawn Hamerlinck PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Shawn Hamerlinck   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 12:15

April 3, 2012

The 2012 Legislative Session is quickly coming to a close as debate begins on how to align budget bills and move the body to conclusion.  The calendar is designed in a way to limit the amount of legislation which can be sponsored in a year and also push politicians to pass budget bills and go home.  Notice, the longer politicians have time to mess with policy, the longer it takes to clean up in the future.  Only bills dealing with taxing and spending are now available for consideration.

The key is finding the size of the entire pie and then working in baseline appropriations for key projects like education, the prison system, and care of the poor.  Leftover funds are either saved for a rainy day, used for additional one-time projects or used to grow and create new, ongoing expenditures.  History shows using one-time money for ongoing expenses is rarely wise.  The total size of the pie for House Republicans is 1% larger than last year’s total budget.  Governor Branstad has a budget proposal 4% larger than last year, and Senate Democrats have a budget 5% larger than last year.

House Republicans appear to spend 1% more due to their desire to fully fund property tax credits.  Historically, both parties have underfunded tax credits in tight budget years as a means of freeing up cash from the general fund.  Otherwise, they hold the line on spending less than they take in.

The only budget bill which was agreed upon and passed by the House and Senate is the transportation budget bill.  This legislation covers expenditures for roads and bridges from the Road Use Tax Fund.  Since this account is constitutionally protected, it is difficult for politicians to scoop funds; therefore the bill is usually the first to move.

The second bill moving towards passage is the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIFF), which largely spends gambling revenue for vertical infrastructure like the maintenance of buildings.  This bill caused consternation as it appeared in the Senate with funds for a Des Moines Social Club, water and recreational trails, the zoo in Des Moines, and $2 million for buses in Des Moines.  Apparently, it’s not an earmark for some when the money goes to Des Moines.  I beg to differ.

Sound budgeting practices and a fiscally responsible mindset by Iowa politicians will ensure we don’t find ourselves in the same self-destructive path as some of our neighboring states.

Thank you for letting me serve you in the Iowa Legislature.

For more information please visit

hamerlinck signaturesmall.jpg
Shawn Hamerlinck
State Senator
District 42

Simon advocates for rape crisis funding in Moline PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Kara Beach   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 11:56

Touts strip club fee to save critical counseling services


MOLINE – April 3, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month today by visiting a rape crisis center in Moline where she advocated for a new funding stream to protect services for sexual assault survivors and save jobs.


Simon is backing Senate Bill 3348, which would require all strip clubs that permit alcohol to pay a $5-per-patron fee. The revenue would help fund community-based sexual assault prevention and response programs, such as the one run by Family Resources in the Quad Cities.


Like other agencies statewide, the Rape/Sexual Assault Counseling and Advocacy Program of Family Resources has seen its state funding drop 28 percent since 2009 and staff decline, while demand for crisis and counseling services has increased.


“Whenever a sexual assault survivor calls for help in Moline, we need to know an advocate is ready to respond,” Simon said. “Budget cuts are putting these critical services and jobs at risk in the Quad Cities and statewide. That’s why I’m supporting a common sense way to fund rape crisis centers that will not affect most Illinoisans’ pocketbooks, but help many people receive the counseling and legal advocacy they need.”


The Family Resources program provides comprehensive services to victims and survivors of rape and sexual assault and their non-offending family members in Rock Island County and parts of Henry and Mercer counties.


The center provided services in the forms of counseling, advocacy, crisis response, prevention education and training to 30,000 individuals last year through the domestic violence and sexual assault services. In Illinois alone, the program responded to more than 300 crisis clients by phone or in-person and provided medical or legal advocacy to another 74 people.


“These services are vital to the health and well being of the Quad Cities community,” said Family Resource Director Nicole Cisne Durbin. “Sexual violence is a community issue, not just an issue for victims, survivors and social services. It affects everyone. The revenue raised from this proposed tax would allow our program to continue to provide these critical services to the community in a consistent manner without constant fear of losing more funds.”


Senate Bill 3348, sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), counts among its co-sponsors Sen. Tim Bivens, who served as the Lee County sheriff for 20 years and is a past president of the Illinois Sheriff's Association. R.T. Finney, president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, supports the bill as do more than 30 rape crisis centers and Dr. Richard McCleary, a University of California-Irvine professor and leading adult entertainment business researcher. Read testimony on SB 3348 from Finney, McCleary and Simon here.


Last year, the Texas Supreme Court upheld legislation that funded crisis centers through a $5 entrance fee at strip clubs that permit alcohol based on the correlation between alcohol, live nude dancing and negative secondary effects, such as sexual assault. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge of that decision, effectively opening the door for other cities and states to purse similar measures. California is among the states seeking legislation; it is considering a $10-per-patron fee.


Simon’s visit to the Quad Cities comes after stops at rape crisis centers in East St. Louis and Carbondale last week. Read Simon’s editorial on SB 3348 here.



News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Annie Nugent   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 08:09
Board Room, 1st Floor, Scott County Administrative Center,
600 West Fourth Street, Davenport, Iowa
April 5, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.

  1. Roll Call: Gallagher, Gluba, Lehman, O’Boyle, Sunderbruch, Ex officio members: Bruemmer, Frederiksen, Malin, and Ploehn
  2. Pledge of Allegiance
  3. Approval of Minutes
  4. Resolution Proclaiming National Telecommunicators Week
  5. Approval of award of bid for general construction for the SECC Emergency Equipment Storage project. (Bid due date is April 3rd. Dave will be emailing bid results prior to Thursday’s meeting). (Dave)
  6. Approval of award of bid for general construction, radio system modifications, and 911 system modifications for the SECC Back-up project. (Dave)
  7. Director’s report
  8. Next meeting date – May 3, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
  9. Adjourn

Loebsack, Schilling Prioritize I-74 Bridge in Transportation Negotiations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 07:49

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bobby Schilling (IL-17) have sent a joint letter in support of the Quad Cities’ I-74 bridge to United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Victor Mendez.  The Congressmen met with members of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC in February, when they discussed issues of importance to the region including the Rock Island Arsenal and the need to replace the I-74 bridge.


“[The Illinois Department of Transportation] has previously stated that the I-74 Bridge is a high priority for the state of Illinois, but that they require federal funding to complete this project with the state of Iowa,” the Congressmen wrote.  “We encourage you to place the I-74 Bridge as a high priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Bridge Program.  Doing so will not only address the safety of our citizens, but will also support the commerce that goes through our country and boost our economic viability.”


Previously, Loebsack has met with representatives from the Iowa DOT about the importance of the I-74 bridge.  He has also expressed the need to replace the bridge to Secretary LaHood, and urged the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to take action.  Schilling and members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation on February 29 had the opportunity to meet with IDOT Secretary Ann L. Schneider, who confirmed that IDOT is well aware of the need to replace the I-74 bridge.


A copy of the letter can be found here.

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