Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a correspondent in 2012.  He covers the statehouse when the legislature is in session, and reports on a variety of topics the rest of the year. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations across the country. He’s also a regular contributor to NPR’s arts desk, covering indie music news.

Clay is a Nebraska native and worked for Nebraska Public Radio and Television (NET) before coming to IPR. He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the CPB-funded Local Journalism project covering agriculture in the Midwest.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

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Health
9:22 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Iowa's Healthcare Compromise

The state's healthcare compromise.
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River to River
2:11 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Gronstal and Paulsen Praise Statehouse Compromises

Iowa State Capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Lawmakers from both political parties are calling the 2013 legislative session successful. They were able to find compromise on three big issues: education reform, commercial property tax relief, and expanding health insurance coverage. Host Clay Masters talks about the deals with Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. Then, Statehouse reporters discuss how unusual political compromise is in the current climate.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:08 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Branstad: 2013 Legislative Session 'Best He Can Remember'

The 2013 Iowa legislative session ends after the House of Representatives adjourns one day after the Senate.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

 Iowa’s 2013 legislative session ended Thursday morning. Democratic and Republican leaders called the session historic as bipartisan compromises on insuring low-income Iowans, reforming the state’s education system and property taxes were passed. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports. 

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River to River
3:09 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Inside The Gold Dome

John Pemble / IPR

Lawmakers at the Statehouse have received their final payments, pages and interns have left for summer, but the legislative session continues into May. It’s legislative day today on River to River.

Host Clay Masters discusses two bills still up for discussion: a state online sales tax bill and a bill requiring DNA testing for certain convictions. Masters also takes a look at the day-to-day in the capitol, by talking with statehouse employees that work alongside Iowa’s representatives.

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Business and Economy
5:35 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

MidAmerican Energy Announces $1.9 billion Wind Deal in Iowa

Credit flickr

Iowa’s biggest economic development deal was announced Wednesday. As Governor Terry Branstad puts it… it’s all about wind energy. Mid-American Energy will in invest 1-point-9 billion dollars in Iowa to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation. That’s about 656 new wind turbines IN IOWA by 2016. Branstad says Iowa’s wind energy industry is a good selling point for high-tech companies like Facebook which just announced it would build a data center in Altoona, just outside of Des Moines.

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Health
7:18 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Veterans Home Leadership Questioned

Credit John Pemble / IPR

At least one state senator is calling for the person in charge of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown to step down so a more thorough investigation can be conducted. This follows repeated complaints over management of the Veterans home. The Senate Veterans Affairs committee held a meeting Monday  to hear testimony. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

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River to River
2:17 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Livestock Inspections and Teen Driving

Iowa Statehouse 5-6-13
Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio
  • River to River 5-6-13

Under an agreement with the EPA, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have to inspect 1,600 livestock facilities each year, for the next five years.  Debate at the Iowa Statehouse is centering around how many inspectors are needed to do the job.  Then, Iowa was one of the first states to approve a graduated driver's license system for teens. Since then, the state has dropped to 49th in rankings of teen driving safety.  A new Iowa law puts more restrictions on the youngest and most inexperienced drivers.

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River to River
2:40 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

The Future of Medicaid in Iowa

Governor Branstad's Healthcare policy aide Michael Bousselot, Senator Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) and IPR Statehouse Correspondent Clay Masters on "River to River" from IPR's Des Moines studios.
John Pemble IPR

All this week, IPR’s Clay Masters has been talking with Iowans who receive Medicaid services to get their input on the debate between Governor Branstad and the Democratic-controlled state Senate over expanding Medicaid.

River to River wraps up the series with host Ben Kieffer sitting down with Clay and several Medicaid recipients, as well as the Governor’s healthcare policy advisor Michael Bousselot and Democratic state senator Pam Jochum.

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Health
5:30 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Iowans on Medicaid Part 4

Rachel Fredericksen and her son Gage sit in their car outside her son Shawn's elementary school in Clinton on April 5, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

There’s a showdown of sorts between Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad and the Democratic-controlled Senate over expanding Medicaid. Under federal law all states have to decide whether or not they’ll extend enrollment in the joint state and federal healthcare program for the poor. The legislature’s 110-day session is set to end  Friday, but the dispute over Medicaid is one of the issues that’s likely to keep lawmakers from going home.

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Health
5:34 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Iowans on Medicaid Part 3

David Van Ahn says having Medicaid services available for his disabled daughter is a blessing.

There’s one issue that will likely help keep state lawmakers from adjourning at the end of the week; that’s healthcare. Thousands of low-income Iowans will be kicked off a healthcare program that expires at the end of the year and there’s disagreement over how to cover them. Republican Governor Terry Branstad is at odds with Democratic-controlled Senate who want to expand Medicaid. The governor doesn’t want to rely on the feds… so he’s introduced his own plan.

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Health
12:57 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Iowans on Medicaid Part 2

Ginger Klingenberg has lunch with her son, Andy at the Johanson Cafe & Pizzeria in Armstrong, IA on March 19, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

    

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River to River
2:13 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Legislative Day: Iowa's Gas Tax

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Crumbling roads and bridges are fueling renewed debate over raising the gas tax in Iowa.  That’s despite polling that shows a majority of Iowans do not support an increase.  Hear the pros and cons and why some who would pay the most are the ones pushing for the increase.

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Health
5:03 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Iowans on Medicaid

Jacob and Sarah Garvin, owners of Warrior Crossfit gym in Mustcatine, talk about their expected baby on March 28, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Right now, under federal law states have to figure out how to insure the poor. They can either expand the joint federal/state healthcare program for low-income people called Medicaid… or they can get waivers and devise their own plans. Democrats who control the Iowa Senate are at odds with Republican Governor Terry Branstad has introduced his own plan. IPR Statehouse correspondent Clay Masters wanted to get away from the politics and talk to Iowans who receive these services. 

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River to River
2:13 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Social Media and Education Reform in the Legislature

Iowa State Capitol
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Social media is influencing debate in Iowa's capital.

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Statehouse and Politics
11:11 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Debate on Expanding Medicaid in Iowa Continues

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate wants to expand Medicaid in the state. Republican Governor Terry Branstad does NOT and has introduced his own plan. Medicaid is the joint federal-state healthcare program for low-income people. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the Republican-controlled House held a public hearing on the Senate’s expansion bill Tuesday night.

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River to River
2:42 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Sex Offender Parole Sentencing

John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa sex offender registry includes people within a wide range of offenses, and some lobbyists here at the capitol are asking the question: Should all sex offenders be put under lifetime parole sentences?

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River to River
1:17 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Legislative Leaders and Radon

View of the Iowa Capitol 4-8-13
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Bills awaiting approval during the 2013 legislative session faced another funnel deadline last week.  Host Clay Masters talks with Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Kraig Paulsen about the proposals still standing.  And, a plan to require schools to test for, and mitigate against, radon exposure stalled in a House subcommittee last week despite overwhelming support in the Iowa Senate.  We hear from Des Moines Senator Matt McCoy, Gail Orcutt a radon-induced lung cancer survivor and Gaylen Howsare from the Iowa Association of School Boards about the possibility of comprom

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Statehouse and Politics
12:04 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Senate Passes Medicaid Expansion in Iowa

Sen Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) introduces bill to expand Medicaid in the state before the full Senate on Monday March 25, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Republican and Democratic Senators clashed over a bill that would expand Medicaid in the Iowa. That’s the joint federal-state program that provides healthcare for low-income people. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under the Affordable Care Act… sometimes called Obamacare... it’s optional for states to expand Medicaid. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the senate passed the bill along party lines.

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River to River
3:18 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Instructional Hours and Regents Nominees

A blanket of snow on the capitol lawn, one week after the beginning of Spring.
Credit John Pemble

There were some fireworks last week at the State Capitol as two of Governor Terry Branstad’s nominees to serve on the Iowa Board of Regents came before the Senate Education Committee.  Host Clay Masters talks with Senator Herman Quirmbach, Chair of the Senate Education Committee about lawmakers’ concerns.  And a discussion of whether the time students spend in school should be counted in days or hours.  A proposal making its way through the legislature would count instructional time in hours.

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River to River
2:09 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Quality Healthcare & Workforce Development

Iowa Capitol
John Pemble / IPR

Every Iowan should be able to get quality healthcare and find a job, but getting there is the battle. Today on River to River, Governor Branstad and the Democratic controlled Iowa Senate are sparring over how best to insure Iowans. We talk with the Governor’s top healthcare policy advisor about the governor’s recently unveiled Healthy Iowa plan. In the second half we talk with an economist about job creation in Iowa and hear from a Republican and Democratic lawmaker on bills that could create more jobs.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:10 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Senate Democrats Unveil Plan to Expand Medicaid with Opt-Out Option

Flanked by Senator Jack Hatch (left D-Des Moines) Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal (right D-Council Bluffs) talks with reporters about the Democrats' Medicaid expansion plan on March 14, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Democrats in the Iowa senate say they’re extending an olive branch to Republican Governor Terry Branstad regarding their proposal to expand Medicaid in the state. The governor is opposed to expanding the joint federal state healthcare program for the poor mainly because he doesn’t believe the feds can continue to pay for it. Democrats are offering an opt-out provision in case federal funding levels would change.

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River to River
2:23 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Juvenile Sentencing

Paul "710928003" / flickr

Bills making their way through the legislative process would set sentencing options for juveniles convicted of first-degree murder.  The debate comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled juvenile offenders can not be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  But, how much time is enough?  40, 50 or even 60 years?  Today on River to River, we talk about the legislation and how the courts have ruled on the treatment of juvenile offenders.

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River to River
3:38 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Water Quality and River and Lake Restoration

Storm Lake, IA
Denise Krebs / flickr

Many of Iowa's rivers and lakes are unable to support recreation and fishing and are in need of restoration. Governor Branstad's proposed budget cuts funding for restoration projects. Today on River to River, we talk with the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as well as people in communities impacted by the cuts.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
7:24 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Sentencing Juveniles for First Degree Murder

  Juveniles in Iowa who've committed first degree murder could be eligible for parole after serving 45 years in prison. That’s according to a bill discussed at the statehouse Thursday. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, it’s in reaction with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

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River to River
2:36 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Prescription Drug Monitoring and Distracted Driving

Iowa's Capitol
John Pemble

Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing substance abuse problems in the state. What are preventive measures doctors can take to keep these drugs from getting into the wrong hands? A bill that would mandate physicians check a database before prescribing certain medication to their patients is being discussed at the statehouse. Today on River to River, we talk about ways this could possibly help or get in the way of the patient/doctor relationship.

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Statehouse
4:54 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Starts Moving in the Senate

Senators Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) and Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) advanced a bill out of subcomittee to expand Medicaid in Iowa.
Clay Masters IPR

A plan to add 150,000 Iowans to Medicaid, the joint federal-state healthcare program for the poor is advanced today in the Democratic-controlled Senate. That comes the day before Republican Governor Terry Branstad meets with President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services to talk about healthcare options. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

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Statehouse
5:12 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Reining in the Regents

Sen. Danielson (D-Cedar Falls) talks with IPR's Clay Masters on "River to River" February 11, 2013. Danielson is the sponsor of the bill that intends to make the Iowa Board of Regents more accountable.
John Pemble IPR

A bill intended to rein in the power of members of the Iowa Board of Regents drew various degrees of support from Iowans Wednesday at the statehouse. The proposal follows controversy over Regent Bruce Rastetter. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

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River to River
2:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Medicaid Expansion

Michael Bousselot, Governor Terry Branstad’s advisor on health care law issues, at the Capitol's law library.
John Pemble

Putting more Iowans on Medicaid is the center of much conversation between the governor and key legislators right now.  But is it the best option?

Today on “River to River” we’ll discuss the state’s Medicaid system and explore the virtues and future of IowaCares—a limited Medicaid benefit program that’s set to expire this year.  We’ll also hear about a bill the will expand the state’s Medicaid program.

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Politics
10:41 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Ethics Complaint Against Iowa Sen. Sorenson Dismissed, At Least For Now

Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Milo)
Credit Facebook

An Iowa Senate committee has dismissed an ethics complaint for now against State Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Milo), who was accused of taking money from Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) presidential campaign.

Sorenson was the state chairman of Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa.  State Sen. Sandra Greiner (R-Washington) says the committee needs more information. 

“We cannot cite anybody for an ethics violation unless we have clear cut proof. So it’s on the complainant’s shoulders to provide us with the proof," Greiner says. "Sen. Sorenson is innocent until proven guilty.”

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Politics
9:50 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Lawmaker Pushes to Keep Gun Permits Private

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

The names of Iowans who obtain permits to carry a weapon would not be public record under a proposal introduced to a committee in the Iowa House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Windschitl (R - Missouri Valley), is a leading gun rights advocate. He sees keeping private the names of Iowans who get permits to carry or acquire weapons as a matter of public safety.

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