Iowa Republicans’ Workers Comp Bill May Be Cruelest Yet

Throughout this year’s Iowa legislative session, Republicans have introduced and passed a myriad of bills restricting workers’ rights and protections, as well as finding new ways to cut Iowans’ wages. This week the focus is on Republicans’ workers compensation proposal, which would gut most of the ways Iowans can get reimbursed for legitimate injuries sustained at the workplace. But this time the Republicans may have gone too far, and rumors of division in their ranks have percolated up at the Statehouse. The workers compensation bill was expected to be brought up in the House as early as late last week, but the […]

Branstad/Reynolds Tax Giveaways Cause New $131 Million Shortfall

Legislators were bracing themselves for today’s Revenue Estimating Conference, where the newest update on the state’s revenue forecasts were released. The news was worse than some had predicted, giving another black eye to the Branstad/Reynolds fiscal management record. Iowa now faces an additional $131 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, a new blow after the earlier nearly $118 million budget hole in January. Republicans quickly announced that a new round of budget cuts would not be implemented. “We not must cripple our schools, public safety and many other essential services with further cuts this year,” Senate Majority Leader Bill […]

Waterloo Legislator Ras Smith Demonstrates Danger Of Stand Your Ground

The Iowa House passed the Republican omnibus gun bill yesterday, but not before many Democratic legislators made impassioned pleas to vote it down. The most striking moment came when first-term Representative Ras Smith showed his colleagues how he could easily be seen as a “threat” under the new law, donning a grey hoodie and headphones. The 29-year-old Smith hails from Waterloo, where racial tensions continue to be a problem. “While I agree that we are created equal, I do not agree that all Iowans are treated equal, or protected equally,” Smith said Tuesday afternoon. “While as a young man playing […]

As Voter ID Bill Advances, Iowans Slam Paul Pate For 5,842 Uncounted Votes

Secretary of State Paul Pate’s “election integrity” bill is scheduled to come to a vote in the Iowa House tonight, though a long-running discussion on the gun omnibus bill may push it into tomorrow. Either way, passage is coming soon for the wide-ranging election legislation that adds voter ID requirements, signature verification, shortens the timeframe for absentee ballot requests, and adds electronic poll books and a new election auditing system. At a public hearing last night, many Iowans pointed out the disconnect between Paul Pate’s focus on nearly nonexistent fraud when 5,842 votes went uncounted in Dallas County in 2016. Matt […]

Residents Warn Water Works Bill Will Lead To Flint, Michigan Conditions

Hundreds of worried Central Iowa residents flooded the Iowa Statehouse Monday morning for a public hearing on the Republican bill to dismantle Des Moines Water Works. Opponents to House File 848 outnumbered supporters 177 to 8 on the speakers list beforehand. Dozens of Des Moines-area residents, local elected officials and water board members – both from Central Iowa and around the state – blasted the legislation as dangerous and as a retaliation for the Des Moines Water Work’s federal lawsuit against polluting Northwest Iowa counties. “Iowa has serious water pollution problems and there is widespread consensus that agricultural pollution is a significant […]

Here’s The Forums You Can Find Your Legislator At This Weekend

Funnel Week has come and gone at the Iowa Statehouse, but that doesn’t mean every piece of legislation that made it through committee will become law. And there’s certainly plenty of Iowans who want to voice their opinion on what has already passed. Once again, legislators will host forums and listening sessions throughout Iowa this weekend. Here’s where you can find them:   Saturday March 4th 9 – 10am  Legislative Coffee – Clinton (Clinton Chamber) Clinton Chamber Office, 721 S. 2nd Street 11 – 12pm  Legislative Coffee – DeWitt (Clinton Farm Bureau and DeWitt Chamber) DeWitt Community Center, Small Room, 512 10th Street […]

Mark Chelgren Has No One To Blame But Himself For Sizzler-Gate

Once again, Iowa is back in the national news. This time it’s thanks to our lovely state senator from Ottumwa, Mark Chelgren. NBC News revealed that Chelgren mischaracterized holding a business degree from Forbco Management school that was actually a six-month management class certificate. Forbco only operated a Sizzler restaurant, which led to immediate ridicule all across the internet on Wednesday. National reporters and political watchers from coast to coast made Chelgren Sizzler jokes as dozens of stories ridiculing the senator piled up. Now, look. Politics is a tough business. Often times an unfair one where the consequences outweigh the purported crime. […]

Coming Up Next At The Iowa Statehouse: School Vouchers

Guest post from House Leader Mark Smith According to the special interests running the show for Republicans at the State Capitol these days, the next priority of the Iowa Legislature will be vouchers that siphon funding from public schools and give it to home schools and private schools. They convinced a Republican State Senator to introduce their bill and it may get a hearing yet this week.  Their plan will take away over $200 million from public schools and shift it to home schools and private schools instead.  If it’s approved, the end result will be a disaster — school […]

College Students Concerned New Voter ID Law Will Disenfranchise Them

Secretary of State Paul Pate’s voter suppression bill is making its way through the Statehouse this week. It passed through a House committee late last night after Democrats attempted to overwhelm Republicans with amendments, dragging the vote to just before midnight. Iowa’s college students have been particularly concerned about how it will impact their right to vote in the state. A group of Simpson College students sent the following letter to legislators this week:   Dear Chair Rizer and Ranking Member Mascher: As Vote Everywhere Ambassadors with the Andrew Goodman Foundation at Simpson College, we would like to express our […]

Breakout Stars From Iowa’s 2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 Iowa legislative session has been disheartening for many Democrats, progressives and people who care about a fair, just Iowa. But there is one silver lining: tough people step up in tough times, and Democrats have had several leaders to rally behind in these fights. For a state party that has lacked a central, natural leader for several years, the emergence of several strong, inspiring voices has given many activists hope for the future. Let’s take a look at just a few of the leaders and activists who have stood out so far this session.   Nate Boulton Those behind […]