As battle lines are drawn on Capitol Hill over the coming battle over
health care reform, Progressive States Network is putting state
legislators in the middle of the national debate. On Wednesday, PSN led
a delegation representing over 700 state legislators to Washington D.C.
to deliver a letter to the Obama Administration and Congress urging
them to pass comprehensive health care reform with a public insurance
option by the end of the year. The letter, which was signed by a
bipartisan group of over 700 legislators from 48 states, called for any
federal reform bill to include a public health insurance option, strong
affordability protections, and shared employer responsibility for
health care costs.
With Iowa lawmakers facing not only fiscal problems similar to many
states, but the need to pass flood and tornado recovery bills,
lawmakers met both challenges by the end of the session. However, the
rest of the agenda for progressives saw a mix of wins and losses, with
most high profile reforms falling short, but many good progressive
policies becoming law. And, the leadership of Iowa legislators stepped
up to support the Iowa supreme court decision support marriage equality
for same sex partners, refusing to advance a proposed constitutional
attack on the groundbreaking decision.
Iowa State Senator and PSN board member Joe Bolkcom shares his experience pushing for progressive initiatives on wage standards, election reform, anti-war resolutions, and integrative immigration policy, as well as a the promise of state legislators using their growing ranks to form a national coalition for change.
The number of states giving full state marriage rights to same-sex
couples has doubled in under a week as first Iowa and then Vermont
joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in achieving marriage equality.
Additionally, the District of Columbia City Council recently voted to
recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.
Prior to last Monday's White House health care forum in Des Moines, Iowa, one of fiveregional forums being held across the country, the Iowa Senate passed two significant
health care reform measures - one symbolic and one substantive.