Iowa legislature

Legislative Day
2:48 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Shifting Views on Medical Cannabis in the Iowa Legislature

Sally Gaer is mother of a 24 year old diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome who says medical marijuana would help her daughter. She is standing in the Iowa Capitol Law Library, 3/31/2014
John Pemble

Views on medical marijuana appear to be shifting in the Iowa Senate and among the GOP.

Today on River to River - what this may mean for cannabis in Iowa moving forward.

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Legislative Day
3:26 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Bullying Bill Moving Forward, Funding and Cyber-bullying are Sticking Points

JLM Photography Flickr Creative Commons

Republican Governor Terry Branstad identified legislation to combat bullying as one of his top priorities for this legislative session.  However, a bill has stalled in the Iowa House, bogged down by 17 amendments.  Concerns have arisen in the Republican-controlled chamber over whether schools should be responsible for bullying that occurs online or off school grounds.  In his weekly news conference Monday, Governor Branstad said he plans to talk with Iowa House members about moving the legislation forward.  In the meantime, a bill is advancing in the Democratically-controlled Iowa Senate th

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News Buzz
2:18 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Fireworks, Finding Exo-Planets, and More

Daniel R. Blume http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

On this News Buzz edition of the program, hear about a legislative shouting match, legalizing fireworks, the ACLU lawsuit against the Iowa Secretary of State, a survey of Iowans' thoughts on gay marriage, the Kepler mission, and a push to increase studying abroad.

Legislative shouting match and and other legislative fireworks:

ACLU lawsuit:

Same-sex marriage opinions:

Finding exoplanets:

Studying abroad:

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Education
3:13 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Learning English in Iowa

Vinh Nguyen, English Language Learners Program Coordinator for the Des Moines Public Schools
John Pemble/ Iowa Public Radio

Iowa schools are becoming more diverse, and English Language Learning services are in greater need.  Districts are trying to adapt, and the Iowa legislature has some ideas for addressing the issue.  On this Legislative Day River to River program, guests include Des Moines Senator Janet Petersen, Council Bluffs Representative Mary Ann Hanusa, Legislative Analyst for the Urban Education Network Margaret Buckton, English Language Learners Program Coordinator for the Des Moines Public Schools Vinh Nguyen, and Director of Refugee Services at Lutheran Services in Iowa Nick Wuertz.

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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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iowa Juvenile Home
4:18 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Compromise Sought on Juvenile Home

Iowa's Capitol on a snowy morning
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

As the legal battle over whether Governor Terry Branstad had the authority to close the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo plays out in court, lawmakers are coming to agreement over what changes are needed to establish a place for the state's female juvenile delinquents.  A bill in the Iowa Senate provides for a state run facility for girls, much like the one in Eldora that serves boys.  But changes to state law are needed to ensure that girls will not again be held indefinitely in isolation cells, without access to education and services.  Host Clay Masters talks with Jerry Foxhoven who served a

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Iowa Statehouse
3:52 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Plans to Provide Affordable Broadband Access to all Iowans

Iowa's Capitol during a snowy winter day, February 7 2014
John Pemble

A large majority of Iowa households have broadband access, but less than half of Iowans have access to speeds at 50 Mbps or greater. This creates disparity among certain demographics and can be exceedingly expensive for the increasing number of people who work online from home.

Two proposals, from Governor Branstad and the Iowa Senate, aim to lower these gaps and provide affordable broadband access to all Iowans. Today on River to River, host Clay Masters sits down with representatives to find out more about rural broadband expansion plans being considered at the Iowa Capitol.

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Iowa Statehouse
3:54 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Iowa Lawmakers Disagree on Flexible Funding for Education

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The state cost per student in Iowa’s K-12 public schools is over six thousand dollars per year - increasing steadily over the past couple decades.

The Iowa legislature is supposed to set the amount of state aid for K-12 school budgets more than a year in advance. Schools say they need the budget in advance so they can plan teacher salaries, but republican law makers are hesitant to plan the budget too far ahead.

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Iowa Statehouse
10:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Should Iowa Increase its Minimum Wage?

News Buzz
2:22 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Shaping Our Galaxy: What the Milky Way Really Looks Like

Spiral galaxy M81, which is similar in shape to our Milky Way
Hubble Heritage

Today we bring you four stories. First, the Iowa legislative session kicks off this week. IPR's Joyce Russell brings us inside the statehouse to give us an idea of what will and won't be worked on this year.

An otherwise healthy young boy died from the influenza virus. Patricia Quinlisk talks to host Ben Kieffer about why this flu season is different than previous years and how to limit spread of the virus.

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Statehouse and Politics
2:41 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Condition of the State 2014

Governor Terry Branstad delivering his Condition of the State address in the Iowa House chamber
John Pemble IPR

Governor Terry Branstad outlined legislative and spending priorities in his annual Condition of the State address in the House chamber at the Iowa State Capitol.  He is proposing measures to attract veterans, prevent bullying and expand broadband access in the state.  Host Charity Nebbe talked with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, IPR's Clay Masters and listeners about what was and was not included in the speech.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase and Income Tax Cuts hoped for in 2014 Session

The Iowa State Capitol
John Pemble IPR

Host Clay Masters sits down with legislative leaders on opening day of the 2014 session, to discuss priorities.  Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, leads the only democratically-controlled chamber in Iowa's divided state government.  Representative Linda Upmeyer is Majority Leader in the republican-controlled House.  Each said lawmakers are not likely to tackle major issues this session, but also left open the possibility of taking up some big ideas.  We've listed those ideas below.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs

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Transportation
3:03 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Legislative Priorities and Roundabouts

Washington State Deptartment of Transportation

This program includes  hearing from one Iowa community that has incorporated new roundabouts aimed at easing traffic flow, and state lawmakers talk about what projects might be in store for the state, and how they might want to fund those projects. A House Republican and a Senate Democrat find agreement on one aspect of the issue: the gas tax.

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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
7:55 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Legislative Preview: 05/20/13

Photo by John Pemble

Iowa lawmakers are returning to Des Moines for a third week of overtime. The session was scheduled to wrap up May 3, but legislators continue to negotiate education reform, property taxes, Medicaid expansion, and other key issues.

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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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Statehouse and Politics
6:58 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Legislative Preview: 05/13/13

Iowa's Capitol
Photo by John Pemble
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
3:51 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Statehouse Sticking Points and Other Politics

Spring at the Iowa Statehouse
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Friday is the last day lawmakers are scheduled to be at the Iowa Statehouse, but adjournment seems unlikely.  Host Ben Kieffer talks about the issues and the sticking points dragging out the 2013 session with Chris Larimer, University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, University of Iowa.  They also discuss the President's renewed push to close the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay and the likely Republican candidates for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin's seat.

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Statehouse and Politics
9:59 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Legislative Preview: 04/29/13

Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins Sarah McCammon for an update on legislative news.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:07 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Legislative Preview: 04/15/13

Iowa Statehouse
Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

IPR "Morning Edition" Host Sarah McCammon and Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell look ahead to the upcoming week in the Iowa Capitol.

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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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River to River
4:33 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Commercial Property Tax Reform

The Iowa Capitol 4/1/13
Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

It's spring, at the Iowa Statehouse and lawmakers are turning attention to one of the big priorities of the session - reforming commercial property taxes.  Host Joyce Russell runs down the details of the competing plans, and talks with businesspeople, city leaders and taxpayers' rights representatives about how the differing bills would impact them, their businesses and their constituents.

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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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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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Politics
7:04 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Legislative Preview: 03/11/13

Credit John Pemble / IPR

Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins IPR "Morning Edition" Host Sarah McCammon for a preview of this week's Iowa legislative news.

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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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Politics
6:59 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Legislative Preview: 03/04/13

Credit John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Sarah McCammon and Joyce Russell discuss the latest news from the Iowa Statehouse.

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Politics
6:58 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Property Tax and the Democrats

Credit John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Democrats in the Iowa Senate and Governor Branstad’s office are exchanging barbs  as the two sides promote competing plans to reduce commercial and industrial property taxes.  Both sides agree the taxes are disproportionately  high, but the rhetoric Monday made compromise look elusive. 

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