legislature

Medical Marijuana
7:43 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Advances

Sally Gaer is the mother of a 24 year old diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome. Gaer says medical marijuana would help her daughter.
Credit John Pemble/IPR

A bill to allow Iowa families to travel to other states and bring back a form of medical marijuana advanced   in the Iowa Senate.   Mothers of epileptic kids pushed  hard for the legislation, saying  cannabis oil can help relieve  their children’s seizures.

    

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DAS Secret Payments
7:02 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Administrators Grilled Over Secret Payments

The Iowa legislature’s oversight committee questioned top administrators at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services over payments made to laid-off state workers for keeping their settlements with the state confidential.   But lawmakers still don't know where the authorization for the so-called hush money came from.

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River to River
3:13 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Which Bills Survived Funnel Week?

Iowa's Capital, Feb. 25, 2014.
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Last week was "funnel week" at the statehouse.  Now bills that couldn't make it through committee stand little chance of becoming law this session as lawmakers shift their focus to legislation that has more momentum to pass this year.  However many of these issues might be revived in future legislative sessions.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:41 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Iowa Lawmakers Push Forward At Least 100 Bills

Credit John Pemble / IPR

Last week was funnel week at the Iowa Capitol, a time when lawmakers need to get their priority bills out of committee and into either the Iowa House or Senate. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to talk about the week ahead in the legislature.    

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River to River
2:11 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

News Buzz: Funnel Week and Northwood Evacuation

Pictured above is the Worth County Courthouse in Northwood, Iowa. Yesterday, about 300 people where evacuated from Northwood after a fire broke out at the city’s municipal airport.
Jimmy Emerson / jimmywayne

Residents of Northwood are back in their homes after being asked to evacuate yesterday due to an explosion and fire at the city's municipal airport.  Iowa Public Radio statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell discusses which bills in the legislature might become laws in 2014.  The Blank Park Zoo's Amur tiger has died, and what Iowa City is doing about a recent rash of sexual assaults in taxicabs.  Also, an Olympics update from the Des Moines Register's sports columnist Bryce Miller in Sochi.

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Wellmark Profits Questioned
5:12 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Democrats Target Wellmark Reserves

On a strict party-line vote, a committee in the Iowa Senate today addressed  what they say may be  excessive reserves  at the state’s leading health insurance company.   The bill would give the state insurance commissioner authority to order Wellmark to give profits back to consumers depending on the results of an audit of the company’s bottom line.     An earlier audit showed the company’s reserves might be too low.     

    

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Statehouse and Politics
7:29 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Legislative Preview: 04/22/13

Iowa's Capitol
John Pemble

IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins 'Morning Edition' Host Sarah McCammon for a weekly conversation about legislative news.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:51 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Lawmakers Dispute Tax Return Question

As Iowans are  filing their state income tax returns, there’s a controversy at the statehouse over one of the questions on the tax form.       The question  aims to locate working Iowans who may be eligible for subsidized health insurance for their children.   Some  Republicans in the Iowa House say that  goes beyond what the government needs to know when you file your taxes.

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Teacher Evaluations
11:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Teacher Evaluations Under Fire

Whether student performance should be considered  when teachers are evaluated has once again become a divisive issue at the statehouse.    The Department of Education proposes scrapping Iowa’s current teacher evaluation standards, and writing new ones to satisfy the federal government.   Otherwise, they say, Iowa will remain under the demanding requirements of federal education law.

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River to River
1:07 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Education Reform from the Statehouse

Iowa's Capitol
John Pemble

Education reform is front and center at the statehouse. Iowa Public Radio's statehouse correspondent, Joyce Russell, talks with Governor Terry Branstad's Special Assistant on Education, Linda Fandel, in the first half of this session of River to River about the governor's plans for Iowa's schools this year.

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Politics
6:43 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Legislative Preview: 1/28/13

Credit John Pemble / IPR


IPR's Sarah McCammon and Joyce Russell catch up on the week's news from the Iowa General Assembly.

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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.   

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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.

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Education
3:15 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Iowa Educators Could See Pay Increase

Iowa Department of Education

Iowa teachers would see their base pay bump if new recommendations from an education task force are put into place. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

River to River
1:06 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Retiring from the Statehouse

At a time in our politics when every debate seems to be dominated by rancor and partisanship… retiring Representative Kurt Swaim of Bloomfield got up on the floor of the Iowa House last month and proclaimed his love for his colleagues, their staffs and the political system.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Rep. Swaim and Representative Lance Horbach as they prepare to leave lawmaking behind.  He also speaks to Mike Glover, who recently retired as Senior Legislative and Political Correspondent for the Associated Press in Des Moines, about his long career covering Iowa politics.

River to River
1:06 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Author Erik Larson and Statehouse Update

History offers the benefit of hindsight. But New York Times Bestselling author Erik Larson tries to transport readers back in time, before the outcome of events was known.  In his latest book, In the Garden of Beasts he takes us to pre-war Berlin with the family of the first U.S. Ambassador to Nazi Germany, William E. Dodd.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with him about narrative non-fiction in advance of a visit to Des Moines.  And Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell tells us how close Iowa lawmakers may be to adjournment.

River to River
1:13 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Legislative Monday: Funding for Higher Education / Government Transparency

Funding for Iowa’s public universities is still up for debate at the statehouse. Join guest host Jonathan Ahl as we discuss a multi-million dollar budget gap between what Senate Democrats and House Republicans have proposed for higher education. Later in the conversation we’ll talk about government transparency and about the pros and cons of a longtime effort to create an Iowa Public Information Board.

River to River
1:00 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Legislative Issues on the Campaign Trail

As we enter the waning days of the legislative session, behind-the-scenes negotiations on the big issues remaining to be resolved begin in earnest.  Lawmakers have yet to agree on budget targets, education reform or commercial property tax relief.  But, how will upcoming elections impact those negotiations?  Host Joyce Russell  talks with Democratic and Republican leaders about the issues lawmakers want to take on the campaign trail this fall… and how that may impact debate over issues yet to be decided. 

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Legislative Monday: School Start Date / Direct Care Workers

Iowa law prevents school districts from starting classes before September first but the Iowa Department of Education routinely grants waivers. Join host Joyce Russell as we discuss a proposal in the Iowa House that would make it harder for schools to start in mid-August. School superintendents say it should be a local decision while the tourism industry says an early start date hurts business. Later, we’ll have a discussion about professionalizing direct care workers.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun April 1, 2012

Legislative Day: Property Tax Reform

One of the top priorities heading into this year's legislative session was property tax reform. With scheduled adjournment only weeks away time is once again running out for lawmakers to act. Host Joyce Russell examines the long history of the property tax debate in Iowa, and the Democratic and Republican plans to fix the system. Among the guests- Democratic Senator Joe Bolkom from Iowa City, Republican Representative Tom Sands from Wapello and Des Moines City Manager Rick Clark.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

Legislative Monday: Education Reform

Governor Terry Branstad has proposed sweeping reforms to Iowa’s education system and the debate is likely to intensify now that the Republican-controlled Iowa House has approved its reform package.  The measure now goes to the Democratically-controlled Iowa Senate.  Host Joyce Russell discusses topics ranging from third grade retention and online learning to new teacher probation and end of course exams on our next legislative show from the law library at the state capitol.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun March 11, 2012

Legislative Monday: State Support for Local Projects

A flood bill making its way through the legislature would provide a sales tax rebate to communities to prevent future flooding. The bill is still alive despite Cedar Rapids residents, who were expected to benefit most from the legislation, voting down a sales tax extension designated for flood mitigation. Then, new owners of the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Dyersville want to build a softball and baseball complex on the property and are seeking state support.  We’ll discuss the project and why there’s some support and opposition to it.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Legislative Monday: Health Exchanges and K2

States are forming health insurance exchanges in advance of a mandate from the federal government.  Host Joyce Russell talks about the bill to set up Iowa’s exchange.  Then, we talk about efforts to put further restrictions on synthetic marijuana, or K2.  That comes after a death, and several hospitalizations involving Iowa teenagers.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

Legislative Monday: Traffic Cameras

Iowa lawmakers are considering a bill to ban traffic cameras. Host Joyce Russell leads a discussion of the bill, which would give the eight Iowa cities now using cameras until July to remove them.  Local officials say cameras improve safety.  Critics say they violate privacy.  Guests include State Representative Walt Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls, Captain Steve O'Konek of the Cedar Rapids Police Department and Matt Lindholm a Des Moines attorney and Board Member of the Iowa Association for Justice.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun February 5, 2012

Legislative Monday: Ag Compromise and Gun Legislation

Gun Rights advocates are back at the statehouse.  Host Joyce Russell talks with Representative Matt Windschitl and Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner about several bills expanding gun rights. They follow up on the 2010 law clearing the way for more weapons permits.  Also a compromise in the Iowa Senate over documenting practices at large scale livestock facilities.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun January 8, 2012

Legislative Monday: 2012 Priorities and Education

Iowa lawmakers are getting ready to convene for the 2012 legislative session.  Statehouse Reporter Joyce Russell looks ahead to priorities of Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Kauffmann.  Then we talk with Senator Herman Quirmbach and Representative Greg Forristall who Chair the Education committees of their chambers, and will oversee the Governor's education reform plans.  It's part of our weekly series from the Law Library at the Iowa Statehouse.

River to River
11:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Legislative Session Preview

Iowa’s 85th General Assembly convenes in Des Moines at the state capitol Monday. We take this hour to check in with a few of the state’s representatives and senators and ask what is on their agendas for the 2012 session. In the first half, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Representatives Josh Byrnes from Osage and Tom Sands from Columbus Junction. Then in the second half, we'll hear from Senators Matt McCoy from Des Moines, Randy Feenstra from Hull and Rob Hogg from Cedar Rapids.