Republicans Target Students, Rural Iowans In New Voting Bill

A bill sponsored by Republican Senator Roby Smith is proposing a wide range of new voting restrictions in Iowa, including ones that would specifically make it harder for students, rural voters, and veterans to vote. Smith’s Senate Study Bill 1241 seems to take extra effort to make it harder for college students at the state regents universities to cast a ballot. The bill would ban satellite voting at any state-owned building: That would mean no more early satellite voting options at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, or the University of Northern Iowa. Those locations are used each year […]

An Open Letter To The Senate President

Dear Senate President and my senator, Charles Schneider, I heard from a friend that an Americans For Prosperity (AFP) lobbyist was at the recent Waukee forum and shared something along these lines of their recent messaging: We believe that public assistance programs should be narrowly tailored to those who need them and for those who don’t, we should be encouraging those folks to get back into the workforce. I went to four subcommittees on the model legislation AFP’s sister organization “Opportunity Solutions Project” introduced. OSP, AFP, and Iowans for tax relief were the only organizations supporting these bills. There was […]

Amy Petersen Announces Run For Danielson’s Senate Seat

A Cedar Falls Democrat just announced her candidacy for the Senate District 30 special election, and it’s hard to imagine anyone with a better profile for public office. Amy Petersen, a professor of special education and a labor activist, wrote on Facebook this morning that she will seek the party’s nomination to replace Jeff Danielson, who resigned two days ago. She is a: Professor of Special Education at the University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls native Disabilities rights activist First-time candidate Union activist and former executive board member for the UNI faculty union Researcher/writer on inclusive education and the challenges […]

For Senate Democrats, A Tumultuous Three Years

Jeff Danielson’s decision to resign from the Iowa Senate yesterday was the latest reminder of how much upheaval the Senate Democrats have experienced in recent years. The Democratic side of that chamber is a very different place than it was a little over two years ago in mid-2016. A slew of departures – both voluntary and not – have resulted in a complete reshuffling of their membership. Of the 26 Democratic senators who were serving through 2016, only 11 remain today. Seven were defeated over the course of two campaign cycles, but eight others left for a wide variety of […]

Jeff Danielson Resigns From Iowa Senate, Opens Up Swing District

Democratic State Senator Jeff Danielson is resigning effective immediately from both the Iowa Senate and the Cedar Falls Fire Department, Starting Line has learned. That will trigger a special election for Danielson’s Cedar Falls-based Senate District 30 in the middle of this year’s legislative session and Iowa Caucus campaigning. “I would not be leaving the Senate if I were not leaving the firehouse,” Danielson told Starting Line this afternoon. “I’m forever thankful to the Cedar Valley and the citizens who have supported me in my service both at the firehouse for 25 years and in the Senate for the last […]

Key GOP Lawmaker Sounds Favorable On OTC Birth Control

Republican State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Dubuque County described Governor Kim Reynolds’ over-the-counter birth control proposal as a “good concept” this afternoon. Lundgren made a number of seemingly favorable comments on the legislation during a taping of ABC 5’s This Week In Iowa political show. “Republicans in the House and the Senate, we certainly want to limit abortion, and one good way to do it is to prevent pregnancy,” Lundgren said, while noting that she had only recently gotten the bill language. “I think the Governor’s initiative is to make sure there is access for women.” Lundgren is the chair of […]

A Long Legislative Session Ahead For Nate Boulton

State Senator Nate Boulton won’t have a lot to do this legislative session after being named to no committee spots this week, and it doesn’t really get any better for him from there. Boulton was left off Senate Democrats’ committee assignments for the 2019 session as part of the ongoing fallout from allegations of sexual misconduct that drove him from the gubernatorial race. “I will defer making any committee assignments for Senator Boulton until the Senate Ethics Committee completes its ongoing investigation into the complaint filed against him,” Senate Democrats Leader Janet Petersen said in a statement. Petersen had called […]

Dems Score First Legal Victory In Getting Winneshiek Absentee Ballots Counted

Democratic candidate Kayla Koether has won an important first step in the legal battle to get 33 absentee ballots counted in the House District 55 race, an election where she trails Republican Representative Michael Bergan by nine votes after last week’s recount. This morning a judge ordered the Winneshiek County Auditor to take the ballots in question to the Waterloo Post Office to have their barcodes scanned. The 33 ballots arrived at the auditor’s office after the election with no postmark, and Auditor Ben Steines refused to count them. The Secretary of State’s office backed up that decision. However, an […]

Post-Election Soap Opera Unfolds In Warren County “Hit Piece”

Several Iowa Republicans are facing a serious ethics investigation after a participant in their self-described “hit piece” against Representative Scott Ourth ratted them out to the Iowa Ethics Board. The case revolves around Republican candidate Rebel Snodgrass, his volunteers and former Democratic Representative Dan Kelley’s involvement in a slanderous mailer sent to households in Warren County. Late this week, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board gave its director, Megan Tooker, subpoena power to launch a full investigation into the actions of Kelley and Snodgrass’ campaign. At issue is who and which committee actually paid for the anti-Ourth mailer. A […]

Todd Prichard Elected Leader Of Iowa House Democrats

House Democrats elected Todd Prichard as their new minority leader this afternoon. The Democratic legislators gathered in Des Moines at the Statehouse for their post-election caucus, choosing their new leadership group for the next session after Mark Smith decided to not run for reelection for the party’s top spot in the House. Democrats also elected Jo Oldson of Des Moines as the Minority Whip, a new position they hadn’t had in recent years. The new assistant leaders are Wes Breckenridge, John Forbes, Brian Meyer and Sharon Steckman. “House Democrats are ready to get to work in January to improve the […]