Civic News & Info
Olsen's Observations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Steven Olsen   
Thursday, 26 January 2012 15:48

Governor Branstad is sticking to his pledge to not propose a fuel tax hike this session. Instead, he’s looking at alternative ways to sustain Iowa’s road construction projects and staying  away from raising the state fuel tax. The Governor has laid out 13 cost efficiencies as way to save $50 million. The efficiencies include:

  • better overall management,
  • merging government functions,
  • and reforming how our Road Use Tax Fund is administered.

House Republicans have pledged to not spend more than we take in. This demonstrates a commitment to commonsense budgeting and economic health. It appears budget targets will be out shortly, and while Iowa’s budget OUR GOAL SHOULD BE TO seems to be in good condition, it looks like the Bush tax cuts will end. This will cause Iowans to pay more federal tax and HAVE A STATE AND FEDERAL less state tax. This in turn will reduce Iowa’s revenue by approximately $175 million. Our goal should be to have a BUDGET THAT  CONTRIBUTES state and federal budget that contributes instead of takes INSTEAD OF TAKES AWAY FROM away from economic, family and community health.

The Senate approved $1.3 million additional dollars ECONOMIC, FAMILY AND for Iowa National Guard tuition aid for members attending COMMUNITY HEALTH. Iowa colleges and universities as thousands of troops have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Before spending this money, Republicans want to be certain $1.3 million is the correct amount and that this new expense fits within the budget already approved by Republicans and Democrats and signed by the Governor. Iowa National Guard members can be confident that this  issue is a priority for House Republicans.

On Wednesday the Iowa House passed the first bill of the 2012 Legislative session, House File 2042, a bill that requires all administrative rules created by state agencies to be  accompanied by a jobs impact statement which sets out in detail the impact of the proposed rule on state agencies, local governments, and public and Iowa businesses. Additionally, it must determine whether a proposed rule would have a positive or negative impact on private sector jobs and employment.

If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Braley, Loebsack Discuss Key Flood Recovery Issues with President Obama PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 13:44

Eastern Iowa lawmakers reiterate importance of continued support 

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack today spoke with President Obama about the importance of continued support to ensure Cedar Rapids, and all communities affected by the Floods of 2008, fully recover.  Following the floods, the Congressmen worked on a bipartisan basis with the entire Iowa delegation to secure disaster assistance to start the rebuilding process.  During their meeting with the President, Loebsack and Braley discussed the challenges many families, businesses and communities are still facing.

“Four years later, Cedar Rapids is still recovering from some of the worst flooding in Iowa history,” said Braley.  “That’s why Congressman Loebsack and I made sure to discuss with President Obama the challenges the people of Cedar Rapids are still facing, and urged him to ensure FEMA expedites the approval of projects to help rebuild and prevent future disasters.”

“As the recovery from the Floods of 2008 continues, it is as important as ever that we don’t lose sight of the needs of the families, businesses and communities that were so badly damaged,” said Loebsack.  “The flood struck right at the beginning of the current economic downturn, making a bad situation even worse.  When I spoke with the President, I stressed the need for continued support in order for Iowa to rebuild stronger and more resilient than before.”

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Governor Quinn Announces $21.7 Million Award to Create “Safe Routes to School” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Nafia Khan   
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 10:25

Program Supports Safety Instruction, Infrastructure Development and Encourages Alternative Modes of Transportation

SPRINGFIELD – January 24, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced $21.7 million in Illinois Safe Routes to School grants to schools and communities across the state. The federally-funded program is designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school safely.


“These projects enhance roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure within communities, which is important in keeping both drivers and pedestrians safe,” Governor Quinn said. “Encouraging children to walk and bike to school not only makes school routes safer, but also improves the quality of life for Illinois residents by easing traffic congestion and reducing emissions.”


The 229 funded projects support sidewalk repair and equipment for police and crossing guards. The funding includes $1.5 million to assist communities with safety training, educational materials, and public service announcements encouraging safe walking and biking to school. This will help ensure a consistent statewide program and favorable outcomes from the Safe Routes to Schools projects.


“The Illinois Safe Routes to School grants help us build pedestrian-friendly roads and sidewalks while educating students and families on the importance of alternative forms of transportation and the benefits of an active lifestyle,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “With these funds, we are also able to help communities implement projects aimed at lowering fuel consumption and air pollution.”


“This is exciting news for the entire state,” said Ron Burke, Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance, an advocacy organization that works to improve conditions for biking, walking and public transportation. “When we make bicycling and walking to school safer and more convenient, we are making our air cleaner and helping more kids get active and healthy.”


Illinois Safe Routes to School is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, designed to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school and encourage a healthy lifestyle from an early age. The program also facilitates projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and middle schools.


For more information about the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program and to view a list of funded projects, visit


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Tentative Agenda Scott County Board of Supervisors PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Chris Berge   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:11

SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11:00 A.M.

January 27, 2012:  (Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Davenport)

Roll Call:  Hancock, Minard, Sunderbruch, Cusack, Earnhardt

1. Legislature Forum for State Legislators and Local Governments.

2. Other items of interest.

Center for Rural Affairs calls for Rural State of the Union PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:04

rural organizations sign letter urging President Obama to remember
rural America tomorrow in his State of the Union Address

Lyons, NE -
Today the Center for Rural Affairs urged President Obama, in his State
of the Union address, to speak to the challenges facing America’s rural
communities by publicly
committing to work with Congress to reauthorize the Farm Bill in a way
that revitalizes the rural communities that form the backbone of our

urge the President to remember the nearly 50 million people who live in
Rural America, not just today but throughout the Farm Bill debate.
America’s rural communities need a robust Rural Development Title, not
just a return to the failed farm and rural policies of the past,” said John Crabtree with the Center for Rural Affairs.

week, a coalition of 28 rural organizations including the Center for
Rural Affairs, sent a letter to the President urging him to address
these issues in the State of the Union (

The organizations to sign the letter included:
Rural Community Assistance Partnership  
American Public Works Association
Center for Rural Affairs
Coastal Enterprises Maine
Corporation for Economic Development
Forest Guild
Homestead Affordable Housing
HomeStretch Nonprofit Housing Corporation
Housing Assistance Council
Illinois Rural Partners
League of Rural Voters
National Association of Counties
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Towns and Townships
National League of Cities
National Network of Forest Practitioners
National Rural Development Partnership
National Rural Health Association
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
NeighborWorks Umpqua
PathStone New York
South Delta Regional Housing Authority
Stand Up for Rural America
The Support Center North Carolina
Watershed Research and Training Center
Wyoming Rural Development Council
YouthBuild USA

For a copy of the letter and complete list of signatories visit:

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