Laws and Policy

The U.S. Senate reached a deal to avoid the so-called "nuclear option," which would've changed Senate rules and prohibited filibuster on nominees.  The new deal will allow nominations to face an up or down vote.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Tim Hagle of University of Iowa about the deal and what it means.  They also discuss calls to repeal "stand your ground" laws in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal.

Flickr / zamburak

On May 12, 2008 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended on Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, IA.  The raid resulted in the deportation of over 300 individuals—the largest immigration raid in Iowa’s history.  River to River looks back on the raid to examine how its affected the community of Postville and the families who were torn apart five years ago.  Also, what can be learned from Postville that can inform understanding on comprehensive immigration reform?

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.

Zach Wahls / Facebook

Just last year BSA reaffirmed its policy that gay members and gay or lesbian leaders are prohibited from participation. However, now the BSA is considering revising that policy so that each local chapter can individually decide its policy on gay membership. Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, who is one of the national leaders encouraging the Boy Scouts to be more inclusive.

Gun Laws In Iowa

Jan 11, 2013
Jessica Quinn / Flickr

This week Vice President Biden’s gun violence task force continues to meet to discuss a set of proposals about gun violence. Ben Kieffer talks about discussions on the federal and state level about gun control.

Barack Obama / Flickr

How is Barak Obama represented in popular culture? Ben Kieffer talks with two University of Iowa graduate students who’ve written a book about the 44th President as a lens through which we can see not only politics, but also art and music.Then, Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa with the latest political analysis of the Connecticut school shooting and fiscal cliff negotiations.

Mark Davitt / Flickr

Michigan is now a so-called right-to-work state, signing into law a bill that prevents unions from requiring employees to pay dues, even in unionized workplaces. It’s being called a political defeat for unions. Will the effects ripple into Iowa?

Ben Kieffer and guests examine the state of Iowa’s unions. Ben talks with leaders of three of the state’s unions, a labor historian, and a state lawmaker.

Dey / Flickr account

After this year’s November election, where voters in Colorado and Washington voted to make marijuana legal for recreational use, people in Iowa are proposing similar legislation.Two bills will be proposed in the Iowa legislature, one on making medical marijuana legal in the state, and one decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of the substance.

Ames Historical Society website

In 1971, a highway crew uncovered the bones of 28 people: Twenty-six were Caucasian. These remains were moved and reburied. Two were Native American. Their bones were sent to the Office of the State Archeologist.

Controversial voter ID laws across the country are getting a lot of attention. Here in Iowa, voter rules approved by Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz are also falling under scrutiny. The new rules could keep some of Iowa’s Latinos home on Election Day. That concern was brought up before a state rulemaking panel at the capitol Tuesday. 

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Plenty of young aspiring lawyers dream of landing at a high-powered big-city firm after graduating. So an internship in a sleepy, rural town might not sound like a dream summer job. But that’s just what three law schools in Iowa and Nebraska are encouraging their students to consider.

And with new grads facing one of the worst job markets in decades, some say working in smaller towns is looking better.

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.

A Man and a Truck

Feb 10, 2010
Gold Star Museum

Camp Dodge has one of the last, operating, Liberty trucks in the country. One story linked to the rare vehicle details one of the Iowa National Guard’s most difficult missions, enforcing martial law. Note: The new Gold Star Museum is now open for visitors.

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