Legislative Re-cap: A Note from IFBA’s State Director
2014 Legislative Wrap-up: Missed Opportunities and Unfinished Business
Hope and Promise. These are two words that could have easily described the 2014 Iowa Legislative Session. Unfortunately, the combined work of our elected officials has forced 390,000 hungry Iowans to fend for themselves.
Two of our bills, HF2471 (Income tax check-off hunger fund) and SF2356 (sales tax exemption for food banks), received nearly unanimous bipartisan support — 94-1 and 49-0 respectively — from their originating chamber. This means that only 1 out of 143 Senators and Representatives voted against these two bills. So, how did these two bills not pass? The House simply failed to bring SF2356 to the floor for concurrence. Likewise, the Senate simply failed to bring HF2471 to the floor for concurrence. Both pieces of legislation received bipartisan support and would have brought hope and promise to the 12.7% of Iowans (nearly one in five children) struggling with hunger. Iowa missed a great opportunity simply because business was left unfinished – an outcome that would not be tolerated in most other professional settings.
During the 2013 Session, the governor approved of a $1 million state matching appropriation for food banks. Though this effort has already leveraged nearly 4.5 million meals for Iowans (with an expected total impact of 9 million meals), the matching appropriation was not renewed this session.
Still, we prefer to focus on the successes of the session. Iowa Food Bank Association and partner food bank staff, volunteers, and anti-hunger advocates stood up for our friends and neighbors. We shared the heart-wrenching stories of our children going to school hungry, the stories of the families that experienced a debilitating disaster, the story of an Iowa man who suffered a serious injury on the job and hasn’t been able to work for ten years. We shared the stories of fellow Iowans that now struggle with hunger due to common misfortunes. We shared these stories and invited people to get involved.
The lack of attention at the capitol this session has only fueled our fire. There is still unfinished business in the state and we, at the Iowa Food Bank Association, do not intend to walk away until all Iowans are recognized as valued citizens. Will you join us as we continue this fight?