This week’s update actually encompasses two weeks of visits and news. I took a week off from the update because of some big news in my family. Before we get there, last week was the second deadline for legislation to remain alive for the year. Bills stayed alive only if approved by the full Senate or House and a full committee in the other chamber. The bottle bill, immigration reform, and increasing the compulsory attendance age for schools all made the funnel.
In This Issue
1. It’s a Boy!
2. Quitline Call Volume Already Surpasses 2007 Total
3. Two Identity Theft Bills Pass House Committee
4. Capitol Visits
5. Coming Attractions
It’s a Boy!
Last Thursday marked the arrival of my first child, Leo Halbrook Olson. He was born March 20 weighing 8 pounds and measuring 20 inches. He is named after his great-grandfather and Sarah’s maiden name. Sarah and Leo are doing well and have been home from the hospital for a week. Sarah and I are a little sleep deprived, but enjoying every second of parenthood. Thank you to everyone for your well-wishes and hopefully you will get a chance to meet Leo soon.
Quitline Call Volume Already Surpasses 2007 Total
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced this month Quitline Iowa received more than 10,000 calls in the first eleven weeks of 2008. Call volume in the first eleven weeks surpasses last year’s total of 8,760. The increase is likely due to a new service offered by the IDPH, giving any Iowan age 18 or older a free two-week course of nicotine patches and gum.
The IDPH Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control urges Iowans wanting to quit smoking to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. According to recent data, 74% of Iowans using tobacco want to quit. Most try to quit cold turkey, which only succeeds less than 5% of the time. Quit aids, such as nicotine patches and gum offered through Quitline Iowa, and working with a counselor greatly increase the likelihood for success.
Two Identity Theft Bills Pass House Committee
The House Commerce Committee approved two bills this week to protect Iowans from identity theft. Senate File 2308 requires notification of consumers of a security breach involving personal information by the one who owns, maintains or otherwise has the information. Current law requires only the consumer’s financial institution disclose the breach, even if it is not the fault of the institution.
Senate File 2277 allows a consumer to request credit reporting agencies to freeze future release of their credit information. The request must be sent by certified mail with proper identification and an application fee, if applicable. The freeze remains in effect until the consumer request it be removed. Agencies cannot charge a fee to someone who has been the victim of identity theft. The senate files now move the full House for consideration.
Two weeks ago Gary Wolbers with the Boys & Girls Club and Gary Streit with the American Cancer Society visited Des Moines. Gary visited for the release of a study showing the high level of dangerous particulates in the air in public places that allow smoking. You can read press coverage of the announcement here.
Brian Lynch, Harvey Fascher and others from the Linn County Farm Bureau also visited the Capitol. Members of the Cedar Rapids Physician Hospital Organization Mark Tyler, Julie Thomas, Jeanette Werling and Cindy Roehr made the trip to Des Moines to talk about the health care reform bill and increasing the Medicaid provider reimbursement rate.
Last week saw visits from Steve Carroll with the Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative, Doug Neumann with the Cedar Rapids Downtown District, and Doug Wagner with Vernon Research Group. Steve talked with me about LCREC’s energy safety and efficiency education efforts, Doug Neumann visited about Cedar Rapids’ downtown project, and Doug Wagner was following up on an application to the Iowa Power Fund. Pat Baird with AEGONUSA talked with me on Thursday about a number of topics, including legislation to outlaw stranger-originated life insurance.
Wednesday, April 2nd The Santa Cruz River Band will play at CSPS (1103 Third Street SE). Recent engagements include the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Fold Festival, and Center Stage. Performing in multiple languages, the Santa Cruz River Band is known for presenting a beautiful, intriguing and powerful program filled with history and the mystical lore of the Great American Southwest. Tickets are $12 to $15 by calling 364-1580.
I want to close by thanking the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Cedar Rapids for presenting me its Lincoln Excellence in Governing Award at the 80th annual Allen Lincoln Douglass Banquet last night. It was an honor for me to receive the award at an event recognizing three great men in American history. I believe state government should be a partner in strengthening communities, and the Bethel A.M.E. Church is doing just that through its work in Cedar Rapids.
Have a great week!