We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in. Des Moines. The wait times are getting longer, while deals are being made between the senate and the house, and budget bills are coming out for debate more regularly.
Debates on the bills tend to be a little longer—and later into the evenings, with crucial funding for so many worthy programs that we want to make sure are getting it.
One of the highlights of this week has been a decade plus in the making.
I had the pleasure of ushering HF 604 through the house for its final passage to be signed by the governor. This bill is known as LEAD- K and has a significant importance to a group of people that have been left behind far too long in the educational settings.
This bill will ensure that all children who are born deaf or hard of hearing, will receive services necessary to help them and their parents navigate the system for language acquisition so that the kids are prepared to enter school with the language skills they need to be successful. More often than not, deaf children and hard of hearing children come to school lagging behind their peers upwards of five years— and that is a gap that is nearly impossible to close by graduation.
This bill has been worked on for well over a decade by many people. Representative Art Staed got the ball rolling years ago, and I got to carry it over the finish line. As an educator, I know the importance of school readiness, and this will help a group of marginalized students get a much better start on their education. I am proud to have been put on this bill twice in my four years, and getting it on it’s final passage this week.
My floor comments this week on LEAD-K:
Vania Kassouf of Linn County, organized a local meeting to discuss the shortage of qualified sign language interpreters in Iowa and the lack of a 4-year degree program in ASL.
Pictured with me are Vania Kassouf, Shirley Hampton, President, Iowa Association of the Deaf- Chris Konsbruck; Robert Vizzini, Iowa LEADK Chairperson- Holly Shannon, former President of the IA State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf-Susan Tyrrell, CEO of Hands Up Communications- Ryan Wise, former Director of Iowa Department of Education, Nancy Boettger, Iowa Board of Regents-Senator Rob Hogg, and Representative Art Staed.
This group has worked tirelessly to make sure that LEAD-K bill was passed and will help so many children in the future.
Last weekend the American Legion Post 555 in Ely held a pancake breakfast fundraiser for the All Veterans Memorial fund. This is Ely’s 150th anniversary year and they kicked off the festivities with the pancake breakfast and raffle for a golf cart. Stay tuned for more fun activities for the 150th anniversary of a great Iowa town and ways to win that golf cart.
Events coming up around the district:
For more information check out the link:
It may not feel like it today, but event season is right around the corner!! Would you like to help plan Marion’s next big event? The City is looking to create a volunteer events committee that will provide input and hands-on assistance for events like the annual Fireworks & Fireflies event, Uptown Artway concerts and more.
If you’re interested, please take this quick survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSffOfcXDA5SNUBKFMNn8qzG8iJEKsZwBzboz4wGmgfztSIOgQ/viewform
Save the dates!