From CAFOs To Fireworks, Iowa Republicans Dismantle Local Control

Republicans have long preached that the best government is the one closest to the people. Based on this basic conservative principle, one might expect that they would promote the autonomy of local governments from the overreach of federal or state rules and regulations. Historically, the GOP has been an advocate for local control and has been critical of using state and federal power to overturn local government decisions. However, Republicans in many red states have reversed their long-standing support for local control as blue state cities and counties have flexed their muscles by pursuing progressive agendas. The Iowa GOP has […]

GOP Court Scheme Is “Largest Judicial Power Grab Ever Attempted”

Republican legislators have introduced bills in the Iowa House (HSB 110) and the Iowa Senate (SSB 1101) that are a direct attack on Iowa’s merit-based judicial selection process. The Iowa group Justice Not Politics describes the proposed changes as the largest judicial power grab ever attempted in Iowa. Iowa’s current merit-based judicial selection process significantly removes politics from the choice of judges. The intent of the Republican changes is to overturn Iowa’s impartial selection system and replace it with handpicked political appointees of the governor’s party. Currently 8 of the 16 members of the nominating commission for Iowa Supreme Court […]

Iowa Republicans Take Aim At Loosening Even More Gun Laws

This week’s Moral Monday at the Capitol focused on several proposed Republican gun bills as well as the consequences of the ones they passed in 2017. The discussion was led by Representative Tim Kacena (D-Sioux City) and Scott Peterson, Chair of Iowans for Gun Safety. Over a dozen Democratic legislators attended and participated in the noon meeting. Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are continuing their goal of increasing the availability of guns and weakening gun control measures. They have again introduced a constitutional amendment that poses a serious danger to the public. It goes beyond the Second Amendment […]

Iowa Republicans Try To Revive The Death Penalty

Democrats expected that the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor would continue to be emboldened to pursue an extreme agenda in the current session.  Much of the new legislation introduced so far by Republican legislators confirms the Democrats worst fears. Ranging from abolishing the Iowa Department of Education (Sen. Zaun), ending university tenure, relaxing gun control measures to more assaults on reproductive health; it is a far-right wish list. Their agenda is based on an ideologically-driven scheme to literally take Iowa backwards. It is a rejection of common sense and fact-based solutions replaced by far-right dogma. The Republican bill to reinstate […]

Nancy Pelosi Vanquishes Donald Trump Over Wall Debate

If anyone doubted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to challenge and crush Donald Trump, the wall debate should leave little question. Pelosi dominated the debate and it ended with Trump folding after holding government employees hostage for a record 35 days. She repeatedly demonstrated her leadership by vanquishing Trump as few other politicians of either party has been able to accomplish. Pelosi confirmed her reputation in Washington as an unparalleled negotiator. Throughout the wall debate, Pelosi out-maneuvered and beat Trump at his own game as the supposed master of the “art of the deal.” Pelosi began the first White House […]

Grassley And Ernst Let Russian Gangster Off The Hook

Both Senator Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley voted to lift sanctions against three Russian companies linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Why did Iowa’s senators vote to assist Deripaska, once Russia’s wealthiest man with an estimated worth of $28 billon? Critics describe Deripaska as a thug with direct links to Russian organized crime. In the 1990s he was one of the Russian billionaires that competed in a vicious battle to take over the state owned assets of the failed Soviet Union. Allegedly, a former manager of a Russian metal smelter that Deripaska seized […]

The Iowa Labor Center Is Irreplaceable. Time To Fund It.

The future of the University of Labor Center remains in doubt after the University cut off funding last summer. For Iowans not involved in labor unions, they may not realize the value of the Labor Center at the University of Iowa. They may have the impression that the purpose of the Labor Center is limited to labor issues. It’s true the Labor Center provides direct education to over 2,500 workers per year. But in addition, they reach thousands more Iowans with continuing education programs. These continuing education students equipped with the knowledge of basic labor practices enrich each of our […]

Public Workers Demand GOP Keeps Their IPERS Promise

Current and former public employees rallied in support of the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) at the Iowa State Capitol on Monday. The speakers expressed fear that Republicans may attempt to move IPERS, the defined benefit program to a 401(k) type retirement plan. The press conference was organized by Progress Iowa. They have many reasons to be concerned as both Governor Kim Reynolds and Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer have expressed contradictory positions on IPERS. During the recent campaign they both promised IPERS is safe in the current form. “As governor, I am reiterating that this promise will be […]

Even GOP Congressman On Texas Border Says Wall Is A Waste

President Trump is going to the U.S.-Mexico border this week. If Trump really wants to get the advice of a border expert, he should meet with GOP Texas Congressman Will Hurd. What better expert on the most effective border security than a Texas Congressman whose district covers the largest section of the U.S.-Mexican border? Republican Congressman Will Hurd’s Texas district stretches 800 miles from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso. His district spans 1/3 of the total U.S.-Mexican border. Hurd in a Washington Post piece said this about the need for a border wall. “In fact, building a […]

Congressional Democrats Unite On Progressive Reform Package

While reopening the government has received the most media attention, Democrats have spent months writing a comprehensive reform bill. HR-1, the first bill to be introduced today by congressional Democrats, is designed to ignite their progressive agenda for 2019. This bill is a comprehensive combination of key issues that Democrats have identified as fundamental to their very identity. Specifically, it will leverage the power of small campaign donors, push ethics reform, strengthen voter rights and shine a light on the sources of dark money. This represents a bold progressive reform agenda that Democrats have been demanding. Perhaps just as significant, […]