Civil society groups have urged the House of Representatives to halt the deliberation of a controversial omnibus bill and focus on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country during its current sitting session, which was opened on Monday.”We demand the House stop deliberating the bill, which particularly endangers poor families, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) said in an Instagram post on Sunday.The omnibus bill, which is aimed at amending 73 existing laws and consist of 15 chapters and 174 articles, has gained criticism from activists who argue that the bill will harm the interests of workers. Read also: Guide to omnibus bill on job creation: 1,028 pages in 10 minutesSimilarly, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) also urged the House to stop deliberating the bill, saying that lawmakers should focus on demanding that the government ensure supplies of basic needs for the public during the outbreak.”This includes ensuring food supplies, access to clean water, sanitation and financial assistance for poor people,” Walhi campaign coordinator Edo Rakhman said.The House opened the new sitting period on Monday after having been in recess for a month since Feb. 28 amid the government’s policy of physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus.House Speaker Puan Maharani previously said that all House activities would be directed to the handling of COVID-19 during the health crisis.As of Monday, Indonesia had reported 1,414 coronavirus infections in the country, with 122 cases that have turned fatal.Topics : The Federation of Independent Workers Unions said the bill would significantly relax outsourcing restrictions and eventually make employees “contract workers during their whole lives.”The YLBHI also urged the House to keep watch on the government’s measures to handle the rapidly escalating health crisis as to avoid further social, economic and health impacts.”The House, together with the government, should reallocate state funds for COVID-19 relief,” the YLBHI said, adding that among spending that could be reallocated included salaries of the House members and government officials.The legislature should also assure that the public get fast, accurate and reliable information from the government regarding the pandemic.
IMCA Stock Car and Hobby Stock Division Director and Marshalltown High School art teacher Kirk Niehouse accepted the Western Region Secondary Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association earlier this month in New York City. Niehouse is pictured with Cindy Todd of the NAE.MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa – Kirk Niehouse has helped present awards to IMCA drivers at countless banquets during his 20-plus years as director of the Stock Car and Hobby Stock divisions.He was the recipient of a regional award at the most recent banquet he attended, however, early this month in New York City.An art instructor at Marshalltown High School, Niehouse received the Western Region Secondary Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association. He’d been nominated for the regional award after receiving the Outstanding Secondary Art Educator award from the Art Educators of Iowa.“It was just ‘Wow!’ I never expected to get an award like this,” said Niehouse, who teaches pottery and graphic design to students in grades 9-12. “I didn’t get into teaching for this kind of thing. A lot of my fellow teachers helped me get to this point. It’s not something you accomplish by yourself.”He had been nominated for the state award by another teacher. A Marshalltown High School graduate himself, Niehouse has taught in the district since 2001.Both his work in the classroom and at the race track are about education.“I’ve been with IMCA since 1995,” said Niehouse, a former Stock Car driver. “My job as a division director is about educating track officials and racers about our rules and following them.”His Art Educators of Iowa award is on a bulletin board at school. Niehouse is mulling putting the national award in a china hutch at home where his best of show award from the Iowa State Fair is already on display.“When I started teaching, I never dreamed I’d win a national award like this. It was an honor just to be nominated,” he said. “I’m all for kids and helping people learn about art. Getting this award is just about as good as winning Super Nationals is how I feel about it.”“Not a lot of our drivers realize that Kirk is an art teacher or that he taught driver’s ed. Not everyone who works for us is full-time,” IMCA President Brett Root said. “Kirk has been a great part of our staff. He’s very knowledgeable about the divisions and very good on rule enforcement.”“I think his teaching parleys well into his teaching drivers about our rules,” added Root. “Our Stock Car and Hobby Stock drivers are very fortunate that Kirk has been involved with IMCA for as many years as he has.”
Governor Kim Reynolds will hold her Monday news conference at 11:00 AM. You can listen on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com, or via the video link here