Broken Promises: GOP Attempts End Run On IPERS

Do you recall all the Republican promises about protecting Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) during the Hubbell/Reynolds campaign in 2018? Democrats warned repeatedly that Reynolds and the Republican legislators couldn’t be trusted. Nevertheless, Reynolds and her Republican legislative buddies vowed over and over during that campaign that they would never touch IPERS or the Iowa Police and Firefighters Retirement Fund (411) this year. It was very difficult for Democrats to believe them since Senator Brad Zaun introduced legislation on the first day of last year’s session to replace IPERS and 411 with a 401-K plan. But, they all claimed […]

Republican Statehouse Emboldened To Move Further Right

Iowa Democrats expected the Republicans in the Legislature would continue their far-right agenda in 2019. Following the experience from the 2017-18 session, Democrats anticipated more of the same this year. The Republicans didn’t disappoint. They didn’t moderate their radical, take-no-prisoners scheme to impose their one-party rule on Iowans. Having taken control of the Iowa Senate in 2016 and reelected Governor Reynolds in 2018, they have been emboldened to move even further to the right. The specific Republican-sponsored bills define a broad ideological assault on good government, basic democratic principles, public education, worker rights and the environment. It’s a continuation of […]

College Sports Want It Both Ways With Athletes And Coaches

A few days ago, a friend repeated a maxim about what it’s like at his work these days: When the company wants him to do something after hours for no pay, the boss points out this is his calling. But when he asks for a raise, the boss winces and reminds him this is a business. It’s like that with the NCAA, too. The organization wants it both ways. The NCAA reminds us about the glorious thing that is amateur athletics — the competition against rival schools, rabid fans wearing their team’s colors, alumni coming back to campus. It’s all […]

Joni Ernst Pretends Climate-Enhanced Flooding Is Natural

Iowa and the Upper Midwest have suffered unprecedented flooding on the Missouri River. It is of historical proportions exceeding the previous 1952 record by 51% and smashing a 67-year-old record. The latest cost estimates have spiked to over $2 billion dollars, and the Corps of Engineers is warning that there will be continued flooding through the fall. In addition, the Corps cites a 2012 climate change report on the Missouri River that predicts an additional 6% increase in upper-basin runoff and a 10% increase in lower-basin runoff by 2050. 2018 was the third wettest year in the Missouri Basin since […]

Hey Lawmakers, Let Local Government Govern

When members of the Iowa Legislature show up at coffee shops in their districts on weekends, you won’t hear them talking about not trusting local government officials. But that is at the heart of a bill that would turn city and county government topsy-turvy and place a straitjacket on the governments that are closest to the voters. House Study Bill 165 is the product of Republicans who hold a majority of seats on the House Ways and Means Committee. A subcommittee has recommended approval of the bill. If that doesn’t occur this year, don’t assume for a minute the idea […]

Rob Sand Calls On MCOs, Reynolds To Keep Promise To Medicaid Patients

Once again, hundreds of thousands of Iowans dependent on Medicaid have been thrown under the bus as another Managed Care Company (MCO) abandoned them. Last Friday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that United Healthcare is terminating their contract for the care of over 425,000 poor and disabled Iowans. Reynolds and Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Jerry Foxhoven are busy arguing with United Healthcare about who is at fault. While they waste time pointing fingers and blaming one another, State Auditor Rob Sand and House Democrats are demanding action. Iowa’s new State Auditor Rob Sand has stepped in to tell Iowans […]

Will Joni Ernst Rip Healthcare Away From Thousands Of Iowans?

The Trump Administration decided this week to ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Trump Justice Department said it supported the Texas Judge who ruled in December to end the ACA in its entirety. The case will most certainly go to the Supreme Court, and it will put millions of Americans’ heath care at risk. Hundreds of thousands of Iowans would lose their pre-existing condition protections, including Iowans that receive their insurance through their employers. Senator Ernst has been a cheerleader for the Republican ACA repeal crowd, and she will own this […]

The Lawsuit Fight To Save Iowa’s Voting Rights

Iowa Democrats owe a debt of gratitude to the Asian and Latino Coalition, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa, and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair for continuing their fight to overturn the Republicans’ 2017 voter suppression ID law. In May of 2018, LULAC and Blair, assisted by Priorities USA, successfully sued Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate, preventing Pate from fully implementing the ID law. The Asian and Latino Coalition helped initiate the process, and got LULAC involved to lead it forward. The LULAC/Blair suit significantly aided Democrats in 2018 elections by maintaining important absentee ballot […]

Which Republicans Top Iowa’s Extreme 16 Contest?

Progress Iowa released their ranking of Iowa Republicans’ Extreme 16 contest for the year, highlighting which elected officials have had the worst impact on Iowans. Following the Progress Iowa press release, Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton) responded to his inclusion in Progress Iowa’s annual listing of the most extreme Iowans. Kaufmann wrote an email from his state legislative email address to Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic stating that, “I’ll add 3rd-rate comedian to your list of credentials right behind known liar and political hack.” Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement in response to Kaufmann: “If Rep. Kaufmann […]

Bloom Where You’re Planted: Thoughts On A College Admissions Scandal

The altar at the First United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls was decorated with bouquets of beautiful flowers last week. Dozens of people gathered there to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman at the conclusion of her 84 years on this Earth. Those blossoms offered especially poignant symbolism. Ruth was a true treasure — to her family, to her friends, to her community where she lived, and, when you stop to think about all of the people like her, to the world around us. Like the phrase encourages us, Ruth bloomed where she was planted. But sitting in that […]