Lack Of Transparency In Police Videos Isn’t Helping With Trust

Much of the relationship between the people and their governments is built on trust. But that relationship is fragile — especially when it appears government is going out of its way to keep the public in the dark. That’s what is occurring in Iowa too often with video recordings made by law enforcement agencies — especially when an officer has taken someone’s life or when an officer’s actions are questioned. The lack of public access to these videos is the central issue that was back in the news last week — and the Iowa Legislature needs to end these unwise […]

Fireworks, Guns, Tax Credits And The “Speed Limit Phenomenon”

My wife and I were driving down Interstate Highway 80 on Sunday, and we experienced one of the cardinal rules of law-making. You don’t read about this in the textbooks. But it’s as certain as death and taxes. The rule amounts to this: When politicians give us something, it’s not long before we want more of the same. On Sunday, we were humming along at 70 miles per hour. Even at that speed, more cars and trucks were passing us than we were passing. I’m old enough to remember when the nation grudgingly went to “double nickels” — a national […]

Congress Doesn’t Need Hypocritical Housing Allowance

Timing is everything in life. For U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, he picked an especially poor time to pitch an idea last week. The politician from Alpine, Utah, said it is difficult for members of Congress who are not wealthy to maintain a residence back in their home state and also have a second home or apartment in Washington, D.C. Chaffetz said taxpayers should provide senators and representatives with a housing stipend of $2,500 per month — that’s $30,000 each year — to offset the extra housing expense. I don’t want to come across as cold-hearted, but it’s hard to muster […]

Medicaid Cuts Could Bring Back Scenes From Bygone Era

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, that’s a sure sign summer is here. And summer traditionally means vacation season. A summer vacation that is riveted in my memory was in August 1962 when my parents, my two brothers and I piled into our Dodge and headed for Washington, D.C. There were no water parks, thrill rides or giant ball of twine to tempt us. This vacation was all about history — the U.S. Capitol, the White House, monuments and memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. For an 11-year-old kid who had memorized the names […]

Tax Cuts Popular; The Consequences Aren’t

Iowa has had a peek at our future, but too few people have noticed. And that’s unfortunate. In case you missed the headlines last week, moderate Republicans in the Kansas Legislature finally became fed up with the fiscal mess created by Gov. Sam Brownback’s massive tax cuts. They joined with Democrats and reversed course in dramatic fashion. Lawmakers voted to restore $1.2 billion in income taxes — that’s billion, with a “b” — that Brownback and the Legislature’s Republican-majority enacted in 2012. The tax cuts five years ago were based on Brownback’s belief, and the philosophy of many conservatives elsewhere, […]

Will Iowa Republicans Push Drug Testing For Medicaid Recipients Next?

Watch out Iowa. Our political leaders seem to get many of their ideas from our neighbors in Wisconsin, and the latest idea being considered there is a real doozy. A few years ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature went after collective bargaining by teachers and other state and local government employees. They succeeded in 2011 and restricted the ability of public workers to negotiate with government entities that employ them. Earlier this year, the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Terry Branstad picked up the Wisconsin playbook on collective bargaining and quickly implemented wholesale changes […]

Disparity In Funding For Rural Schools Getting Worse

We all want to believe that our children have an equal shot at opportunity and success. And we all want to believe that Iowa will deliver that equal shot. Who doesn’t remember Iowa sitting atop the national rankings year after year in college entrance exam scores? Who doesn’t remember Terry Branstad’s promises during the 2010 campaign for governor that he would make Iowa’s K-12 schools world class? But a report last week shows that Iowa lawmakers have repeatedly dropped the ball when it comes to providing funding equity for the state’s public schools. Because of disparities in the way the […]

The First Amendment Is Dead In Muscatine

It was quite a week last week with the buzz about impeachment. Relax. I’m not referring to President Donald Trump. I’m talking about the mayor of Muscatine. Diana Broderson was removed from office by a 7-0 vote of the city council on Thursday. The meeting lasted 3 minutes. There was no discussion by the council members, and they offered no explanation of their votes. Earlier this year, the council directed the city attorney to prepare a statement of impeachment charges against the mayor. Then the council heard two days of testimony during a “trial” this spring. The charges involved an […]

Evans: You Won’t Beat Steve King With A Former Psychic

Two of my friends are polar opposites when it comes to politics. One is oh so liberal. Excuse me, oh so progressive. The other is conservative. Quite so. They don’t often agree on issues. On other topics, they are fine. Just not on politics. That’s the reason it was so unusual earlier this month when these two found themselves agreeing on one of the most-talked-about news developments in Iowa politics since Bruce Braley made those stupid, derogatory comments about the possibility “a farmer” — read that, Chuck Grassley — might end up chairing the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The latest […]

Big Business Wins Again Over People On Internet Privacy

It’s an unusual day when Congress can bring together the disparate factions in the United States. But our lawmakers in Washington have done just that. And it has largely slipped past public view because of cable news’ fixation on all things Trump. This is unfortunate, because the actions that occurred in the past three weeks in Washington amount to an unwarranted assault on the privacy of everyday Americans. The U.S. Senate and House votes, coupled with President Trump’s signature last week, erased a Federal Communications Commission regulation that had required internet service providers to get your permission before they provided […]