Despite Voter Suppression Efforts, Young Voters Turned Out In Iowa

A guest post from Brit Bender, state director for NextGen Iowa, which ran an extensive youth voter turnout project in 2018. The Iowa GOP has a history of student voter suppression. In 2017, then-Governor Terry Branstad signed a law that prohibited student IDs from being used as voter IDs. This legislative session, Republicans tried to ban public universities as early voting locations and force students to sign a form stating their intent to remain in Iowa upon graduating to remain on the voter rolls. Fortunately, these tried-and-true tactics to suppress the youth vote were met with fierce opposition from grassroots […]

Setting The Record Straight On Iowa’s Sex Education Classes

A guest post on the state’s sex education programs. My name is Natalie Harwood, and I am a health educator at Planned Parenthood. I work under a public grant called the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program (CAPP). Year after year, I see anti-abortion politicians in the Iowa legislature introduce legislation that would prevent Planned Parenthood from using CAPP and other public funds for sexual health education. There seem to be a lot of false assumptions about what Planned Parenthood teaches in sex education classes. I want to set the record straight about our programs. First, here is how Planned Parenthood […]

Rob Sand Calls On MCOs, Reynolds To Keep Promise To Medicaid Patients

Once again, hundreds of thousands of Iowans dependent on Medicaid have been thrown under the bus as another Managed Care Company (MCO) abandoned them. Last Friday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that United Healthcare is terminating their contract for the care of over 425,000 poor and disabled Iowans. Reynolds and Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Jerry Foxhoven are busy arguing with United Healthcare about who is at fault. While they waste time pointing fingers and blaming one another, State Auditor Rob Sand and House Democrats are demanding action. Iowa’s new State Auditor Rob Sand has stepped in to tell Iowans […]

The Lawsuit Fight To Save Iowa’s Voting Rights

Iowa Democrats owe a debt of gratitude to the Asian and Latino Coalition, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa, and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair for continuing their fight to overturn the Republicans’ 2017 voter suppression ID law. In May of 2018, LULAC and Blair, assisted by Priorities USA, successfully sued Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate, preventing Pate from fully implementing the ID law. The Asian and Latino Coalition helped initiate the process, and got LULAC involved to lead it forward. The LULAC/Blair suit significantly aided Democrats in 2018 elections by maintaining important absentee ballot […]

Congresswoman Denied Absentee Ballot Under GOP’s New Voting Laws

Iowa Republicans’ new voting restrictions have already tripped up many voters trying to participate in local elections, including even one member of Congress. Congresswoman Cindy Axne wrote on Facebook yesterday that she got a denial letter for her request for an absentee ballot for this Tuesday’s special election. Des Moines and West Des Moines are holding a vote on a proposed one-cent sales tax increase. Axne had sent in an absentee request on February 24, and she didn’t receive the denial letter until February 28. The 24th was two days after the new cut-off date for requesting a ballot. The […]

How Midwest Farmers Can Lead On Climate Change With Carbon Farming

A guest piece from Robert Leonard and Matt Russell. Robert Leonard is an anthropologist and radio host in Knoxville/Pella, Iowa. Matt Russell is executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light and co-owner of Coyote Run Farm in Lacona, Iowa. It’s been a tough year for farmers here in Iowa and across much of America. After several years of low commodity prices, President Donald Trump’s tariffs and partial government shutdown have rocked the markets. Only the largest of operations are making any money. Land prices are down, farm real estate listings are up, younger farmers are looking bankruptcy in the […]

Iowa Republicans Take Aim At Loosening Even More Gun Laws

This week’s Moral Monday at the Capitol focused on several proposed Republican gun bills as well as the consequences of the ones they passed in 2017. The discussion was led by Representative Tim Kacena (D-Sioux City) and Scott Peterson, Chair of Iowans for Gun Safety. Over a dozen Democratic legislators attended and participated in the noon meeting. Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are continuing their goal of increasing the availability of guns and weakening gun control measures. They have again introduced a constitutional amendment that poses a serious danger to the public. It goes beyond the Second Amendment […]

This Must Be The Health Care Congress

A guest post from State Representative Liz Bennett of Cedar Rapids. Just days after the new 116th Congress began, Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been on full view for all once again. House Democrats introduced a resolution authorizing the House Counsel to intervene in a Texas lawsuit filed by Republican state officials and backed by the Trump Administration. The suit, which won in December and will likely face a number of appeals, would dissolve the ACA in its entirety, which would be worse than any repeal bill that has come before Congress. Every Democrat voted […]

Grinnell College Risks Its Reputation With Labor Dispute

What is Grinnell College thinking in its fight with its own students over a labor rights dispute? The liberal arts school located in the middle of Iowa has refused to bargain with the student workers union on campus and is trying to quash its effort to cover more students. The fallout from a National Labor Relations Board decision that Grinnell is seeking could have serious consequences for students’ union rights all across the country. If you haven’t followed the recent developments, the Des Moines Register has covered the conflict here. The gist of the story is this: student workers voted […]

68% Of Trump’s Farm Bailout Goes To Richest 10%

President Trump is forcing the nation’s taxpayers to subsidize his reckless tariffs with a $12 billion giveaway to farmers. Even though Trump’s punishing tariffs are a huge mistake, one could argue that farmers alone shouldn’t bare the resulting economic pain Trump inflicted upon them. Protecting and preserving small family farms has always been an important goal of Democrats. That’s why revelations that the bulk of the Trump bailout is benefiting rich individuals, wealthy investors, large corporations, and farm-estate heirs rather than small farmers is simply unacceptable. According to the Environmental Working Group, in the first round of bailout payments made […]