Senate Vote On E15 Could Be Early Test For 2020 Democrats In Iowa

An upcoming vote on a little-known EPA rule on E15 ethanol could pose an early first test for potential presidential candidates looking to come through Iowa. The U.S. Senate’s Environmental and Public Works committee will soon consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which allows E15 fuel to be sold during the summer months. Renewable fuel advocates see it as a key priority for expanding ethanol usage. Currently, you can only sell E15 for eight and a half months out of the year. The issue has to do with Reid vapor pressure restrictions, which sees fuel evaporation rates climb […]

Bernie Sanders’ Progressive Movement Lives On, Grows In Iowa

You could have mistaken the packed hall of Citizens for Community Improvement’s annual gathering yesterday for one of the larger Bernie Sanders rallies during the 2016 Iowa Caucus. Or you might have thought it was the Democratic Party’s state convention (it was held in the same room) – except this might have had more people. Well over 1,000 progressive activists filled the chairs for Bernie Sanders’ afternoon keynote address, but it was nearly just as crowded for the early morning issue advocacy training sessions. Saturday’s event highlighted the exponential growth that progressive advocacy groups like CCI have seen since the […]

Democrats Roll Out Plan To Protect Children’s Safety In Iowa

Following Governor Kim Reynolds’ appointment of Jerry Foxhoven to head Iowa’s Department of Human Services, Democrats have continued to press the agency to take larger steps to protect the safety of foster children. Foxhoven replaced Chuck Palmer, who resigned after controversy built over the death of two girls living with foster families. The department and legislative Republicans had pushed back against Senator Matt McCoy’s effort to institute more oversight following those deaths. Only one legislative oversight hearing was held, however, and the state has contracted an outside consultant to investigate department practices, a process which Democrats contend is going too […]

Iowa Democratic Leaders Embracing Progressive Healthcare Ideas

As debate in the country has raged on over Republicans’ terribly unpopular ACA repeal bill, those on the Democratic Party’s left have argued that now is the time to push for ideas like universal healthcare, single payer and/or a public option. They charge that the lack of a public option in Barack Obama’s ACA was a serious mistake, gave the health insurance companies too much power and helped lead to the situation in Iowa where the three major insurers are pulling out in 2018. They should be encouraged then by what Democratic leaders in Iowa are proposing. Last week Senator […]

On “Midwest Nice” And Our Not-Nice Politics

A guest post from a fellow campaigner and native Wisconsinite, who’s officially retired from politics but unofficially comments on political news and more at A few years ago, over some now-forgotten holiday, a younger cousin still in college mentioned the homeless people near her apartment building in Milwaukee. “Gross,” she said. “I wish they’d go away.” After a beat or two of uncomfortable silence, my uncle shushed her: “That’s not nice; don’t say that.” He didn’t say it was wrong of her to say that, or note that the people she so clearly disregarded were suffering, too, and over a […]

How Many More Young Girls Must Die Before Iowa Acts?

I have seen a lot of political inaction in my time here in Iowa, but nothing that has perplexed and infuriated me as much as the state’s inability to respond to the starvation deaths of two adopted girls. You would have thought something may have changed after 16-year-old Natalie Finn died from starvation and torture last October in her West Des Moines home. Police found Finn on a floor wearing an adult diaper, laying in filth from herself and the many animals that roamed the house. Her adopted siblings apparently faced similar physical and mental abuse from Nicole and Joseph Finn. […]

Women In Southeast Iowa Left Behind After Planned Parenthood Closures

The options for women’s healthcare services are being dramatically reduced in Southeast Iowa thanks to the actions of local Republican lawmakers like Mark Lofgren, Tom Greene and Gary Carlson. Planned Parenthood announced today that they will close four clinics by the end of June, including their Eastern Iowa locations of Bettendorf, Burlington and Keokuk. Sioux City’s clinic will close as well. There are no Planned Parenthood clinics on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, nor are there any in Missouri or Illinois near the border of the Southeast Iowa corner. Keokuk residents now face a nearly 100-mile drive to the […]

Consumer Rights Eroding Under GOP And Trump Administration

In the first ninety days of Donald Trump’s presidency, his actions speak more to his business background than of politics. He has been frank about his disapproval of government laws, which are oftentimes burdensome to businesses but essential for the safety of consumer rights. He has followed through on his campaign promise of cutting funding for the EPA and has started process of streamlining multiple government agencies by cutting regulations for the FDA, CDC, and EPA. “I will ask each and every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on Americans which are not […]

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 […]