Will Reynolds Step Out From The Shadows Of Trump & Terry?

Last week, Governor Kim Reynolds took over the reins of state government. As the new Governor, she has a unique opportunity this summer to rise above politics and break out from the over-sized shadows of both Trump and Branstad. I went to the transition ceremony and heard her outline her top priorities in her first speech as Governor. Reynolds said her top priority was reforming Iowa’s tax structure to make it more “fair.”  While I agree it should be fair, the path of the Iowa GOP today is massive corporate tax giveaways that have already led to a slowing state […]

Republicans Show No Fear After Divisive Legislative Session

If Iowa Republicans were concerned about a voter backlash in response to the deeply conservative agenda they passed in the Iowa Statehouse this year, they’re not letting on. After a legislative session in which new GOP majorities passed sweeping rightwing reforms that transformed the very nature of Iowa government and society, Republicans are promising to go even further next year. As Speaker Linda Upmeyer and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds explained in the days after Saturday’s adjournment, Republicans will consider large tax cuts, pension reform and school privatization efforts in 2018. And some abortion opponents want to revisit a “heartbeat bill” that would […]

Mark Chelgren Compares Abortion To Time Shares

The Iowa Senate engaged in a passionate debate last night over the 20-week abortion ban and 72-hour waiting period legislation. Republicans sent the bill to the governor’s desk after a 30-20 party-line vote, but not before a few senators made some interesting comments during debate. Senator Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa expressed his dismay that the bill didn’t go further, and then made a curious comparison when defending the 72-hour waiting period provision, which he called the “time share” clause. When the bill is signed into law, Iowa will become the sixth state in the nation to impose the three-day waiting […]

Democrats’ Plan To Retake The Iowa House Starts With You

As the 2017 legislative session draws to a close, many Iowans want to know what they can do to hold Republican legislators accountable and win back the Statehouse for Democrats. Many eyes are focused on the big gubernatorial race, but the battle for control of the Iowa House will be a prominent fight as well. And for activists who want to make GOP legislators pay for their votes, there’s no shortage of vulnerable swing district House Republicans they can impact. This week Leader Mark Smith and House Democrats are rolling out a new effort to begin targeting those districts early on. Calling it their House Builder […]

Round 2: Konfrst To Hold Hagenow Accountable For Broken Promises

House Republican Majority Leader Chris Hagenow campaigned for reelection last year on a platform that bore no resemblance to his voting record in the Legislature just a few months after. So Jennifer Konfrst has decided to give Hagenow a rematch in 2018, announcing today she’d run for House District 43 again. “I love this community, and I’m running to fight for all families in our district,” Konfrst said in a press release. “As a mom and an educator, I’m deeply troubled by politicians at the Capitol who put special interests ahead of Iowans. The residents of our district deserve a representative whose policies […]

The Three Months That Changed Iowa

When Iowa became the third state in the nation to legalize gay marriage eight years ago, I was working in Washington, D.C. My coworkers were taken aback by what they thought was a conservative, red, rural Midwestern state taking such an important leap forward in equal rights. They were even more surprised when I informed them that, actually, Iowa often has a progressive streak on social policies and we’re a very purple state politically. That was true then. It’s not anymore. Just over three months ago the Iowa Legislature gaveled in with a fully Republican-controlled Statehouse. For the first time in 20 years, […]

Iowa Passing Abortion Restrictions Worse Than Deep South

Just a few short years ago, Iowa was leading the way in safe and legal abortion access with the new telemedicine process that provided options to women living in rural areas. Now, after this year’s legislative session at the Statehouse, Iowa will join just a handful of states in enacting some of the most stringent restrictions on abortion rights in the entire country. This week the Iowa House passed a 20-week abortion ban, supported by all but one Republican in the chamber. The Iowa Senate approved their version of the bill a week prior, but will have to vote on it […]

Iowa Legislator Proposes “Masturbatory Emissions” Fine

Iowa State Representative Lisa Heddens of Ames is simply looking to achieve “equality” in Iowa’s laws on men and women’s health procedures with a new amendment she proposed to Republicans’ 20-week abortion ban. Heddens is encouraging her colleagues to pass her “Men’s Right to Know Act,” which would allow doctors to refuse prescribing erectile dysfunction drugs on moral grounds, require rectal exams for men seeking such medication, and impose an $100 fine on every “masturbatory emission.” It’s all in response to a series of Republican bills this session designed to vastly restrict women’s healthcare options, abortion rights and funding for Planned […]

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 […]