Two Cruel Iowa Senate Bills Sucker Punch Working People Again

Guest post from Matt Chapman on the workers compensation and minimum wage preemption bills that passed the Iowa Senate this week. At this point I don’t even see these as separate bills. They are all running together in a nightmare for the working class folks. No raise for the working poor. Busting unions in the public sector. Taking negotiating rights away. And if you get hurt while working, well that got cut some too. Unemployment is also in their sights. It was in committee on Thursday so there is still some way to attack workers. We shouldn’t think that these […]

From Surplus To Deficit: Branstad And Reynolds’ Sad Legacy

A mere four years ago, Iowa’s budget sat at a healthy $927 million surplus. Fiscal Year 2013 saw the state in a very strong budgetary position. Now? Fiscal Year 2017 is estimated to bottom out at a $130 million deficit. So what happened? Well, it turns out that four years of huge property tax cuts for corporations does a number on how much revenue Iowa can bring in, and they clearly haven’t stimulated Iowa’s economy in the way Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds promised. House Democrats this week pointed to that deficit as further proof of the Republican administration’s fiscal mismanagement. “First, the […]

Does Iowa GOP Think Miscarriages Should Be Brought To Term?

A very bizarre moment occurred during last night’s committee hearing over Iowa House Republicans’ 20-week abortion ban. Republican Representative Shannon Lundgren, during an exchange with Democratic Representative John Forbes, suggested that a woman who suffered a miscarriage would need to carry that fetus to term. Forbes posed the question to Lundgren in relation to his daughter, who is in her 21st week of pregnancy. He said that while everything is going well with the pregnancy, he worried what would happen if she were to miscarriage, whether this new legislation would force her to continue on with the fetus until her own […]

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. […]