Iowa Politics

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.

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

John Pemble / IPR

It looks like smooth sailing for a bill at the statehouse to let Iowa’s  job creation experts hand out more tax credits to potential employers.    Officials say the current cap on credits isn’t enough to meet the demand, as more companies are looking to expand.    But not everyone agrees with  a plan to make sure the employers  come through with the jobs they promise.  

John Pemble / IPR

IPR Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell on legislative news.

 

Two new candidates went to the Capitol for job interviews yesterday--  as new appointees to the Board of Regents, which governs Iowa's public Universities. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports one of those candidates—Robert Cramer—provoked a lot of controversy for his conservative views. 

John Pemble / IPR

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

flickr

  A Democrat-dominated panel in the Iowa Senate has  signed off on a bill to give certain young immigrants a break if they want to attend an Iowa  community college or Regents University.    The bill would mandate  in-state tuition for so-called dreamers, young people who were brought to the United States as children by undocumented parents, and who have attended Iowa primary and secondary schools.   In the meantime,  the Regents  universities say at least some dreamers are already claiming  status as Iowa residents.

John Pemble / IPR

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

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.

Medicaid Expansion

Feb 18, 2013
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.

John Pemble / IPR

Democrats in the Iowa Senate are upping the ante for property tax cuts, but agreement with Republicans still appears elusive.   Both parties say commercial property tax relief is a high priority this year.

There’s consensus that commercial property taxes are disproportionately high.   The latest Democratic plan, again  helps small main street  businesses  more than large out of state corporations.  

Des Moines Democrat Matt McCoy says a business in his own family   is a good example:

Tempers flared at the statehouse over whether Iowa should extend government health care to more low-income families.  Governor Branstad  and some  Democrats are at odds over whether to expand Medicaid as part of the federal health care program known as Obamacare.  But a key  Republican lawmaker says Democrats are politicizing the issue.

John Pemble / IPR

Governor Branstad has laid out his plan for paying and promoting the state’s teachers. Last week we heard the Branstad administration’s pitch for the plan. This week, we’ll talk with school administrators and teacher representatives for their view. Our conversation legislative show is live from the state Capitol Law Library.

John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins Morning Edition  Host Sarah McCammon for a look at the upcoming week in Iowa legislative politics.

John Pemble / IPR

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

John Pemble / IPR

Iowa lawmakers have completed the first week of the 2013 legislative session. They’ll return for the second week beginning Tuesday. IPR Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon spoke with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about how the session is shaping up so far.

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.

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.

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.

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.

USGS

  A strategy on how Iowa will cut back farm and sewage treatment pollution released today by Governor Branstad’s office is being criticized for being too friendly to farmers. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, its intent is to shrink a dead zone in the nation’s top commercial fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

Iowa Department of Education

During the last Iowa legislative session, lawmakers failed to agree on how beef up teacher evaluations. Instead they commissioned a task force to make recommendations for next year. The task force met in Des Moines on Wednesday. 

Office of Governor Branstad / Facebook

Starting Wednesday, Governor Terry Branstad starts paying 20 percent of his healthcare premium costs. He signed an executive order last month allowing other state workers to do the same. It has pushing the difference between private and public sector compensation back into the spotlight.

Right now Iowa is among only a handful of states where public workers don’t pay any of those costs.

Daniela Hartmann / flickr

July 1 is a big date for mental health care in Iowa—that’s the day funding switches over to a redesigned model. The legislature approved a plan to equalize mental health care funding for low income residents across the state.  Some counties are crying foul, saying programs will be gutted. But other’s say the change they say finally gives all counties a level playing field.

Legislature Adjourns

May 10, 2012

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.  

Property Tax Debate

May 9, 2012

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.  

IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins Sarah McCammon for a look at what's happening in the Iowa Legislature, as lawmakers begin their third week of overtime.

John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Joyce Russell and Sarah McCammon discuss the week ahead in the Iowa Legislature.

Rachel Groves

A sex offender next door at the nursing home? It could pose a very real problem as Iowa’s population ages. After a 95-year-old woman was attacked by a fellow resident at her nursing home, the legislature stepped forward to act. But there's been some heated debate in the Iowa Senate.

The scheduled date of adjournment has come and gone, at the Iowa legislature, along with lawmakers’ per diem expenses.  But are the extended hours at the Statehouse unusual?  Host Ben Kieffer looks back on memorable moments from past legislative sessions, with longtime political reporters.  They also discuss the work of the Iowa Caucus Review Commission, and the state’s looming Congressional races.  Guests include the Associated Press' Mike Glover, the Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich, and Iowa Public Radio's Joyce Russell.

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