Next Friday is “funnel” day at the Iowa legislature; with a few exceptions, all bills that haven’t been approved by at least one committee by March 4 are dead for the 2011 session. The coming week is therefore a particularly important time to contact your legislators about issues important to you. I believe lawmakers find phone calls more difficult to ignore than letters and e-mails, but by all means make contact in writing if that’s how you prefer to communicate. While contacts from their own constituents are the most meaningful, lawmakers often pay attention to contacts they receive from Iowans outside their districts too.
Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer used to lobby for the Iowa Nurses Association before she was elected to the legislature in 2002. A few years ago she wrote up some helpful hints for persuading lawmakers, which I posted here.
Details on a few lobby days and many other events are after the jump. As always, please post a comment or send me an e-mail to let me know about something going on that should be on this calendar.
Friday, February 25
Republican state legislators are looking for business owners and local officials to tell them about supposedly burdensome government rules and regulations. It would be helpful for members of the public to attend these forums and speak up for meaningful regulation of business. Dozens of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members attended similar forums earlier this month in Ames and Newton.
Schedule for February 25:
Sioux City 10:30 am – 12:30pm Morningside College 1501 Morningside Ave Sioux City, IA
Council Bluffs 3 – 5pm Council Bluffs Public Library 400 Willow Ave, Council Bluffs, IA
February 25 is also the new deadline for ordering repurposed rain barrels to benefit the non-profit 1000 Friends of Iowa. Proceeds will “support the development of an educational exhibit which focuses on land use and water as it relates to run-off from non-porous surfaces as well as to bring attention to the many uses for collected rain water.” Those uses include watering gardens, washing cars and general housecleaning. Click here for more information about the rain barrels and here to order.
Ed Fallon is leading a discussion on “Raising Vegetables & Chickens in the City” at a potluck dinner to be held at a Woman’s Place in Des Moines. Limited to the first twelve RSVPs. Cost is a $5 donation to a Woman’s Place and a potluck dish to share with others. RSVP to a Woman’s Place.
Saturday, February 26
Various labor unions and organizations are holding a rally to show solidarity with protesters in Wisconsin. The event is happening on the west steps of the Iowa State Capitol (1007 East Grand in Des Moines) beginning at 12 pm.
Francis Thicke, who was the Democratic candidate for secretary of agriculture in 2010, is discussing local foods and his book “A New Vision for Iowa Food & Agriculture” at Beaverdale Books, 2629 Beaver Avenue, Suite 1, Des Moines, from 1 pm to 2:30 pm.
GOP state legislators are holding more meetings to bash government rules and regulations. Today’s schedule:
Cresco 9am CS Bank 111 North Elm St, Cresco
Cedar Falls, 1 pm, Hurst Center for Arts 304 W Seerley Blvd, Cedar Falls
Dubuque 5 – 7pm Best Western Conference Center 3100 Dodge St, Hwy 20 W, Dubuque
Sunday, February 27
The Iowa Farmers Union is meeting in Cambridge at White Oak Vineyards from 4:00-7:00 pm. Event includes supper and legislative updates from IFU lobbyists. The featured speaker is Francis Thicke, who ran for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2010. It’s a fundraiser for IFU’s work at the Capitol and costs $30 per person. RSVP to sue AT iowafarmersunion.org
From the Iowa Citizen Action Network:
Enjoy a Great Meal for a Good Cause!
Sunday, Feb. 27, 5-9 pm
Who: Friends of ICAN, Foodies, People who like to Buy Local, Supporters of Small Business, & YOU!
What: A benefit to support the economic & social justice work of Iowa Citizen Action Network & the Iowa Main Street Alliance.
Where: Devotay, 117 North Linn St, Iowa City (between Market and Jefferson streets) Reservations recommended: 319-354-1001
This is an opportunity to patronize a great local business with a social conscience. Devotay has been included in “best of” lists for Iowa City restaurants (including best wine list!) since its opening, and it was recently profiled in the Cedar Rapids Gazette as the top pick for “small plates” (tapas-style) dining in the area. While the quality is “fine dining” the atmosphere is warm, quirky, and casual. And they are not just gourmet, they have a conscience: Devotay features locally grown and produced menus. You can feel great about supporting this award-winning local small business that also supports local farmers.
ICAN is dedicating the funds raised at this benefit to support the work of the Iowa Main Street Alliance – and they will even be eligible for the matching funds from the national MSA funders. The percentage of the night’s proceeds that Devotay will donate to ICAN increases with the total sales – so plan to join us for a great evening of great food… and tell all your friends!
For more information visit www.devotay.net or call Jim McClanahan at ICAN 319-354-8116 x107 or jmcclanahan AT iowacan.org
Monday, February 28
From the Iowa Environmental Council’s calendar:
Sustainable Commercial Development
Location: Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust St, Suite 100, Des Moines
Using the vacant office buildings in the Des Moines metro area as its fulcrum, this new series features guest instructors and relevant topics that address ways green building principals can pay off in terms of economic, health and environmental savings as well as contributing to a community’s overall vibrancy. Join COSC, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Downtown Community Alliance’s EcoCore Program and numerous other partners as we improve the competitive profile of Downtown Des Moines by promoting environmentally sustainable investment. See http://icosc.com for more information.
Wednesday, March 2
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is holding its “Prevention First” lobby day. Note: if you can’t make it to the training/orientation in the morning, it’s ok to show up in the rotunda at the capitol anytime between noon and 3 pm.
Join fellow activists and supporters on our annual trip to the Capitol to talk with legislators about pressing issues on reproductive health care, family planning assistance programs and prevention programs.
For three consecutive years we have had a record number of participants and we want your help to make 2011 another record year.
DATE Wednesday, March 2, 2011
TIME 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
LOCATION Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, & the Iowa State Capitol
INFO Call Joe Nydle or 515.235.0418 or email.
From the Iowa Environmental Council’s event calendar:
REAP Day at the Capitol
Location: Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines
From soil and water protection to environmental education, from county parks to regional trails, the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program helps fund things you care about. Now REAP needs your help. Join others who care about our natural environment for REAP Day at the Capitol building, held throughout the day. We’ll have exhibits to showcase the program’s successes and needs. With your presence or phone call, you can let your legislator know that you support full funding for REAP.
Submitted by Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Time: 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Spring Flood Outlook public discussion
State Historical Building, 600 East Locust in Des Moines
Is the stage set for another wet spring? What is the risk of flooding in Iowa this spring? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the ISU Climate Science Program will host a public information briefing to discuss anticipated Iowa spring rainfall and flood outlooks. Attendees will have ample time to discuss the briefings with presenters during a question and answer session and a reception following the program. For more information, contact Chris Anderson, 515-294-9948, cjames AT iastate.edu or visit the website.
Time: 6 pm to 8 pm
Thursday, March 3
From the Iowa Environmental Council’s calendar:
Small Wind Site Assessor Training
Location: Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, Iowa
This workshop will help participants learn how to evaluate a site’s wind energy potential, determine wind speeds at proposed heights, make a load profile for a client’s energy needs, determine appropriate tower heights, and estimate kWh output for a system based upon wind resources. The training will lead participants through the background information required to perform wind site assessments for the Focus on Energy program and other state incentive programs, for the home or business owner to assess their site, and for taking the Wind Site Assessor Certification Test. Recommended for professionals looking to begin in the wind business, beginner wind dealers, educators, and homeowners. Go to http://www.irenew.org/Home.html for more information.
Submitted By: Steve Fugate
Time: 09:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Interactive Hunger Banquet
Location: Knapp-Storms center in Ames
Women produce most of the world’s food, yet 75 percent of hungry people are women and girls. Oxfam America believes that women farmers have the solutions we need to feed the world and protect the environment. Join us for this FREE interactive hunger banquet with speaker MMe. Morette, a Haitian farmer and leader of her women’s co-op, and show your support for the work of women farmers around the world. There will be free bus service from Drake University to Ames. RSVP required for a bus seat. Questions/ RSVP- contact Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Carolyn Uhlenhake Walker with questions at email@example.com
Time: 06:00 PM – 08:00 PM
Friday, March 4
From the Iowa Environmental Council’s calendar:
Eastern Iowa Solar Bus Tour
Location: Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City
Join the Iowa Environmental Council, Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Iowa Policy Project on a bus tour of some Eastern Iowa solar installations. We will start at UNI’s CEEE at 9:30 and then go on to visit a few sites in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. After visiting some solar spots in Cedar Rapids we will stop at the IBEW training center. We will then head to Iowa City to look at the U of I’s new solar panels around 3:00. Details are still being finalized, but if you are interested in joining us for some or all of the day please call 319.338.0773 or 319.210.0570 for more information.
Time: 09:30 AM – 04:00 PM
Saturday, March 5
The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture is holding its annual conference in Perry at the Hotel Pattee. To register and for more details, contact Linda Nelson at (515) 491-3984 or lsnelson1 AT hotmail.com.
The keynote speaker will be Bill Menner, USDA’s Director of Rural Development in Iowa. His presentation will focus on the opportunities that exist through USDA for a comprehensive expansion of local-foods production, processing, distribution and consumption. The presentation will also highlight existing regional food efforts and innovative initiatives underway in Iowa. A wide variety of breakout sessions in the afternoon offer something for everyone. Whether you grow food or are thinking about starting a small farm, are interested in learning about preserving local foods, or want to encourage the use of local foods in schools and restaurants, there is something for you. To find out more about the event and to register, please go to www.growinca.org