Democrat Tracy Freese Will Have Head Start In Race To Replace Dix

Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s abrupt resignation from the Iowa Senate following Iowa Starting Line’s article sets up a hurry-up-and-win special election for his now-vacant seat. When vacancies occur during the legislative session, the governor must schedule the election “at the earliest practical time” and give at least 18 days notice. It’s likely the special election will be held in the first or second week in April. Democrat Tracy Freese, a small business owner from Grundy County, has been running since last year for what she originally thought would be a matchup with Dix. She announced yesterday afternoon that she […]

Senator Bill Dix Resigns Following Iowa Starting Line Article

Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix announced this afternoon that he was resigning both from his leadership position and from the Iowa Senate following this morning’s publication of a Starting Line article that showed him in what appeared to be a romantic relationship with a Statehouse lobbyist. Senate Republicans announced they would hold a vote for a new leader this Wednesday. Senators Jack Whitver, Randy Feenstra and Charles Schneider are rumored to be potential candidates. Dix had weathered previous controversies over his leadership and handling of the Kirsten Anderson sexual harassment reporting and trial, but today’s new controversies proved to […]

Video Appears To Show Bill Dix In Romantic Relationship With Lobbyist

A video recently obtained by Iowa Starting Line appears to show Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix in a romantic relationship with a Statehouse lobbyist while out at a Des Moines bar. The evening the two were together happened on Thursday, March 1 at Waveland Tap on University Avenue. The people who captured the moment on their camera phone say they recognized Dix from media reports, including those surrounding the Senate Republican sexual harassment trial and settlement. They observed Dix flirting with and occasionally kissing a younger woman at the bar in the evening. They are not affiliated with a campaign […]

Mark Chelgren Leaving Senate, Mariannette Miller-Meeks Announces Run

Democrats won’t have “Senator Sizzler” to kick around anymore. But Democrats’ chances of making up ground in the Iowa Senate also got a little harder today with Senator Mark Chelgren’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for reelection in 2018. Three-time congressional candidate, ophthalmologist and former state public health director Mariannette Miller-Meeks declared she would run instead. The handoff occurred this morning at the Wapello County Republican convention. Senate District 41, which covers Ottumwa, Fairfield and Davis and Van Buren counties, has been a top target for Democrats since Chelgren won the blue-collar district in an upset in 2010. Chelgren ousted […]

GOP’s Campus “Free Speech” Bill Actually Targets LGBTQ Students And More

Guest post via Keenan Crow of One Iowa “There’s something insidious about this bill,” warned Independent Senator David Johnson during the Senate floor debate on SF 2344, a bill which purports to be about free speech on Iowa’s college and university campuses. “I can read the lobbyist declarations for myself,” Johnson continued. “The Family Leader and Americans for Prosperity are for this bill. Those against it include the ACLU and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund. Think about this ladies and gentlemen, what is this really?” Iowa’s only independent Senator is unfortunately correct. While protecting free speech on campus is […]

You May Soon Be A Felon If You Lose An Injury Claim Against Your Employer

If you sue your employer after getting injured on the job and fail to win your case, you might end up as a felon under a fraud case thanks to the bill Senate Republicans passed last night. Senate File 2305, floor managed by Senator Jake Chapman of Adel, would create a new unit within the Iowa Insurance Division to prosecute workers compensation fraud. It also makes committing such fraud a felony – a Class C felony if its for a claim more than $10,000 and a Class D felony if its for a claim under $10,000. Workers would also have […]

House GOP Blocks Mental Health Gun Safety Amendment

Republicans in the Iowa House threatened to pull the entire mental health omnibus bill from the floor today to kill debate and a vote on a Democratic amendment on “extreme risk protective orders” that could keep guns out of the hands of potential mass shooters or suicidal individuals. Representative Art Staed of Cedar Rapids offered up H-8117 as an amendment to HF 2456, a wide-ranging mental health omnibus bill. It would have implemented a process in which a court could have considered removing weapons from the possession of someone deemed a “significant danger” to themselves or others in the “near future.” The amendment […]

Iowa Candidate Filing Begins – Who’s First And What They Need

The three-week filing period for Iowa candidates to appear on the ballot for the June 5 primary date began today. It runs through March 16, and you can check online each day which new candidates running for the state legislature, Congress and statewide offices filed their paperwork at this link: Primary Candidate List. Of note: everyone files for and appears on the primary ballot even if they don’t face a competitive primary. Most candidates wait until the final week to turn in their papers, but the first day always sees a group of people eager to be the first ones […]

Students Warn GOP Budget May Be “Final Nail In The Coffin” For College Affordability

Iowans gathered in a Statehouse conference room this morning to sound off in front of legislators about another year of deep budget cuts implemented by the Republican majority. Half of the speakers at the public hearing were college students from one of the three regent universities. At issue was Republicans’ Senate File 2117, which cuts about $34 million from the current fiscal year to address the continuing revenue shortfalls. Democrats have assailed runaway tax credit programs and tax cuts as causing the budget problems. The largest mid-year budget cuts come from higher education. $14.56 million was originally planned to be […]

Iowa Republicans’ Copy-And-Paste ALEC Constitutional Convention Bill

Iowa Republicans are pushing a sneakily dangerous resolution through the Iowa Legislature that could upend the nation’s constitution in unpredictable ways if successful. A Senate subcommittee recently moved forward Senate Joint Resolution 8 to full committee, which would add Iowa to a national movement calling for a convention of all 50 states to amend the U.S. Constitution. It’s part of an effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Iowa’s bill is literally word-for-word the same as their proposed legislation, as Progress Iowa discovered recently. Compare the introduction of both documents for yourself. Here’s the text of Iowa’s Senate […]