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Capitol Notebook: Appointment refills state agency for blind Iowans
Also, Iowans plan to rally against anti-LGBTQ legislation Sunday at the Capitol
Mar. 3, 2023 6:02 pm
DES MOINES — The state agency that develops programs and services for Iowa’s roughly 54,000 blind residents will soon be able to again meet and take action, with a new appointment to the agency’s board.
Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office on Friday announced the appointment of Amy Salger, of Vinton, to the Commission for the Blind.
The three-member commission had been down to just one after Geneva Jacobsen retired last August and longtime chair Sandra Ryan died of cancer in November.
Reynolds did not move to fill either position until this week. Because of that, with just one active member the commission could not meet formally and take any action for its quarterly meeting in December.
The commission’s next quarterly meetings is scheduled for March 14.
Salger will join the commission’s only current active member, Ryan Brems. Salger can begin her work immediately, but her appointment also will be subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate.
The Iowa Commission for the Blind determines policies and programs executed by the Iowa Department for the Blind. Its members serve three-year terms.
Iowans honored for heroism
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds presented Iowans with awards for lifesaving and heroism from first responders in a ceremony Friday.
Ten Iowans received the Governor’s Lifesaving Award, which recognizes Iowans who gave help to others in an emergency.
“I look forward to this event every year. It’s powerful to hear each unique, incredible story … and it’s an honor to congratulate the heroes personally,” Reynolds said.
Four Iowa police officers received the Sullivan Brothers’ Awards of Valor, which is given to first responders who act heroically. The awards honor the Waterloo-native five Sullivan brothers, who died when the ship they served on was attacked during World War II. Kelly Sullivan, the granddaughter of the youngest of the brothers, joined the ceremony.
“These Iowans intentionally and selflessly provided aid and assistance in times of need. It’s an honor to celebrate those who placed the needs of others above their own and answered the call to serve,” Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said.
A full list of award recipients can be found here.
Anti-LGBTQ bills rally
Iowans opposed to LGBTQ restrictions by state lawmakers will rally at the state Capitol on Sunday to protest the dozens of bills that have been introduced during the legislative session that target LGBTQ Iowans and youth.
The event is organized by a coalition of LGBTQ rights, education and liberal advocacy organizations, including One Iowa, Progress Iowa and Iowa Safe Schools.
Iowa Republicans have moved bills through the Legislature this year that ban gender-affirming care for minors, block transgender students from using a school restroom that aligns with their gender identity, require schools to notify parents if they believe a child is transgender, and banning teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in elementary schools.
The rally is scheduled for 2 p.m. on the west steps of the Capitol.
“Iowans have had enough,” Progress Iowa said in a news release Friday. “We understand that our friends, neighbors, and family members are under attack and their rights are being stripped away. And Iowans are unified against anti-LGBTQ bills.”
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau