Joyce Russell

Correspondent

Joyce Russell is a correspondent based at the Iowa Statehouse.  She also hosts River to River on Mondays from the State Capitol during the legislative session. Joyce has been covering the Iowa Statehouse since shortly after joining the news staff at WOI Radio in 1988.    Her earlier broadcasting experience included news reporting at commercial stations in Oklahoma City and Fort Wayne, Indiana.   Joyce’s reports can be heard on National Public Radio and American Public Media programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace.  She covered the last six Iowa caucus campaigns and interviewed numerous candidates for president, including some who went on to attain the highest office in the land.   

Joyce  has a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Louis University and  a master’s degree in English from the University of Oklahoma.   

Joyce’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.

Pages

Governor Speech
5:33 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Governor's Agenda Unveiled

Governor Terry Branstad delivers his Condition of the State
John Pemble

  

Governor Branstad highlighted tax cuts, education, and health care in his condition of the state speech.    Earlier he  unveiled the outlines of a six point five  billion dollar budget for next year.  Now begins the hard work of getting his agenda through the divided legislature.

Read more
Legislature Returns
6:15 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Opening Day at the Legislature

Credit John Pemble

150 state legislators were sworn into office at the capitol  as the 85th Iowa general assembly convened for their 2013 session.    Governor Branstad stole a little thunder on opening day by unveiling his plans to pay teachers more and improve Iowa schools.

Read more
Statehouse
11:00 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

2013 Legislative Session Begins

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa General Assembly reconvenes Monday, Jan 14. It’s a new year, with some new faces after the 2012 election. Iowa Public Radio Statehouse Correspondent Joyce  Russell sat down with Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon for a look ahead at the 2013 session.

Read more
Statehouse
11:00 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

2013 Legislative Session Begins

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa General Assembly reconvenes Monday, Jan 14. It’s a new year, with some new faces after the 2012 election. Iowa Public Radio Statehouse Correspondent Joyce  Russell sat down with Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon for a look ahead at the 2013 session.

Read more
Immigrants in College
6:04 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Undocumented Immigrants at University

Credit flickr

Two young Mexican immigrants living in a small northeast Iowa town are defying the odds by  pursuing degrees  from the University of Northern Iowa. Because they are undocumented they are working their way through college without the help of student loans or other benefits of citizenship.      A new Obama administration order granting them temporary work permits is helping to ease the  way.

Read more
Immigrant Licenses
6:46 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Immigrant Licenses Denied

Immigrant Testimony at the Statehouse

The Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation was in the hot seat at the statehouse.   Critics turned out to rally against the DOT’s recent policy decision denying  driver’s licenses  for young undocumented immigrants in Iowa.   That’s even though the Obama administration recently approved work permits for immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children years ago.  

Read more
School Shooting React
8:03 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Iowans React to School Shooting

Statehouse News Conference

The Branstad administration as well as school districts all over the state are reacting to Friday’s school shootings in Connecticut.   One official  is  encouraging schools to review their security procedures.       But the governor and key lawmakers aren’t jumping to any conclusions about needed legislation to prevent such a tragedy here.       

Read more
Education
8:45 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

New Tests for New Teachers

Starting next year, graduates  of Iowa’s teacher preparation programs will be required to pass exams with a minimum score in order to get a license to teach.   Iowa is one of the last  holdouts in the country in not requiring  testing of new teachers.  But at a statehouse committee meeting  today  there were complaints that this year’s graduating seniors  didn’t get enough advance warning.   

Read more
EPA and Iowa Water
4:31 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

More Money for Livestock Inspectors

The head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources  asked the governor and his budget advisors for  more than a million dollars to hire new inspectors for the state’s livestock facilities.  But that  may not be enough to prevent the federal Environmental Protection agency 

from taking over enforcement of clean water standards.

Read more
Politics
4:10 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Republicans Regroup

Republicans in the Iowa House re-elected their top leadership in a closed-door meeting  at the statehouse.     They’ll return to the capitol on January 14th with a far slimmer majority following the 2012

elections.

Read more
Parole Board
4:31 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Parole Board Votes

Behind Bars

A new rule at the Iowa Board of Parole scheduled to go into effect next month is giving  some victims advocates heartburn.    A panel of state lawmakers declined to delay a new guideline to 

grant parole to high-risk inmates with a simple majority vote.

Read more
Politics
4:11 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Wiggins Stays on Court

Credit Facebook

An effort by religious conservatives to oust  another Iowa Supreme Court Justice has failed.  Iowans voted yesterday to retain Justice David Wiggins on the court. Iowa Public Radio's Joyce Russell reports.

Read more
Senate Battle
7:24 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Battle for the Iowa Senate

A battle is underway for control of the Iowa Senate where Democrats hold a slim one-vote majority.   After next  month’s elections, religious  conservatives are hoping a  new Republican majority will  vote their way on social issues including same sex marriage and abortion.     They say defeating the Senate’s top Democrat would be their biggest prize.

Read more
Year-Round School
2:28 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Year-Round School Considered

A state task force wants Iowa schools to move toward  air-conditioning their classrooms.   It’s part of a drive toward year-round schedules  which experts say can boost student achievement.

Teacher Salaries
4:15 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

School Administrator Warning on Teacher Raises

Advocates  for higher teacher pay better be upfront about just how much it’s going to cost, and who’s going to cover it, if they want to achieve their goal.    That's according to a representative of Iowa’s school administrators who’s serving on a task force on teacher salaries.

Wiggins Battle
2:48 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Wiggins on the Ballot

Advocates for and against an Iowa Supreme Court Justice are wrapping up their bus tours across the state.   Critics of the court’s same-sex marriage ruling  urged voters to reject Justice David Wiggins.   The other side is advocating a yes vote for all the judges on the ballot.   But one justice who was thrown off the court two years ago worries that might not work.

It's All Politics
5:26 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Another Iowa Judge Faces Ballot Box Battle Due To Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, right, faces a retention vote Nov. 6.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:27 pm

A battle is under way in Iowa over whether a state Supreme Court justice can keep his job.

Critics have launched an all-out campaign to throw him off the bench because of his ruling three years ago clearing the way for same-sex marriage. The judge's supporters are fighting back, but they may need to get over their reluctance to mix politics and the judiciary.

Read more
Dueling Buses
6:54 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Dueling Bus Tours Launched


Two statewide bus tours begin in Des Moines with stops planned in more than a dozen communities.    They’ll be promoting opposing views on whether Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins should stay on the court.     
Politics
7:08 am
Fri September 7, 2012

King, Vilsack Meet for First Debate

The Democratic challenger in Iowa’s new Fourth Congressional District, Iowa's former first lady Christie Vilsack, came out swinging in the first face-to-face debate of the campaign.   Incumbent Republican Congressman Steve King was caught a little off guard.   

Romney in Des Moines
5:51 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Romney blasts Obama in Des Moines

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a two-day campaign trip to Iowa Wednesday.   At a rally in downtown Des Moines, he did not back off a controversial claim that President Obama wants to end work requirements for welfare recipients.   Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell reports:

Teacher Test
2:57 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

New Teachers to Take Required Exam

State education officials are laying the groundwork for an  exam prospective teachers will have to take before they are licensed in Iowa.   Those graduating from teacher preparation programs  this summer may be the last to squeak through without facing the new requirement.  Joyce Russell reports.

Politics
6:27 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Iowa Secretary of State Checking Voter Rolls for Non-Citizen Immigrants

League of Women Voters of California Flickr

Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz  hopes to match  Iowa voter registration lists  against a federal database to purge non-citizens from the rolls.   Critics  call it  a solution in search of a problem.   

Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:55 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Iowa Officials Cracking Down on Con Man Posing as ... Them

Iowa’s Democratic Attorney General and Republican Secretary of State have joined forces to stop an unusual kind of identity fraud.   A California con man tried  to collect fees from Iowa corporations by pretending to be the Secretary of State.        

River to River
1:43 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

New Laws Take Effect & Swimming Tragedy

Iowa State Capitol

The Iowa legislative session ended in May but many of the new laws took effect earlier this week. To begin the hour, we listen back to a conversation IPR’s Joyce Russell had with Senate Majority Leader Democrat Mike Gronstal and House Assistant Majority Leader Republican Steve Lukan. Speaking soon after the legislature adjourned, they talk about the accomplishments of the session, what didn’t get passed, and what legislative issues might be on tap for next year. Then, host Ben Kieffer talks with guests about other new laws including changes in liquor regulations and rules of the road.

Politics
8:21 am
Wed June 6, 2012

State Races in Iowa Primary

Most incumbents in the Iowa legislature have held on to their jobs for now  following yesterday’s primary voting.   Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell reports .

River to River
1:35 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Legislative Wrap-up

Iowa lawmakers have adjourned for the year… and now they’ll be hitting the campaign trail armed with accomplishments.  Host Joyce Russell talks with legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Assistant Majority Leader in the House Steven Lukan, about what they’ll highlight in legislative races.  Then, statehouse reporters, James Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register, offer their takes on what did and did NOT get done.

Statehouse
6:04 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Legislature Adjourns

Several weeks behind schedule, the Iowa General Assembly brought its 2012 legislative session to a close with promises to return next year to complete their unfinished business.   Lawmakers say they helped put unemployed Iowans back to work.   But the Republicans signature job creation effort…tax cuts for business and industry….failed in spite of eleventh hour talks at the capitol.  

Statehouse
8:02 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Property Tax Debate

It was another day of partisan debate at the statehouse.  Advocates with  competing plans for tax cuts for business and industry appear to be dug in on their positions.  That’s throwing into question whether the legislature will meet its goal of lowering commercial property taxes to attract more jobs to the state.  

Pages