IPR News Stories

Mid-Prairie Community School District / https://www.mphawks.org/midprairie-high-school

A southeast Iowa superintendent is standing by his decision to let a convicted sex offender volunteer in his district. Amid pushback from parents and former students, the issue could cost the official his job.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Reynolds Monday took questions on an upcoming outside review of the Iowa Finance Authority, where Director Dave Jamison was fired after serious allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.  

Reynolds announced Friday that Des Moines attorney Mark Weinhardt will investigate the conduct that led to Jamison’s firing and any similar incidents during his tenure as executive director.

Initially Reynolds implied that firing Jamison was enough to address the allegations.  

She says she now seeks an outside review on the advice of the attorney general.

Drake University

A former president of Drake University in Des Moines has died. Wilbur Miller played a significant role in shaping the Drake campus we see today.

Miller was a Des Moines native and attended Drake for two years in the early 1940s.

Much of his academic career was spent at the University of Denver, where he taught psychology and eventually became dean of faculty and acting chancellor.

He was named Drake’s ninth president in 1972 and stayed in the job for 13 years.

John Pemble / IPR

Lawmakers are in the third week of overtime at the Iowa capitol. Late on Friday afternoon, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced she and the House and Senate had reached a tax cut deal. It came on the heels of new information regarding sexual harassment at the Iowa Finance Authority.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Iowa is rolling out a new plan to combat harassment and sexual violence on campus by expanding education and training for students, faculty and staff and supervisors. The effort draws on a findings from a survey of nearly 7,000 students’ experiences with sexual misconduct.

The Fair Housing Act is marking its 50th anniversary this month. It was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson just days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in April of 1968, and it prohibits discrimination based on the race, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability of the person wishing to buy or rent a home.

traffic camera
Adrian Pingstone / Wikipedia

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Iowa Department of Transportation does not have the authority to regulate cities’ traffic cameras.

In a 6-0 opinion, Supreme Court justices agreed the IDOT cannot order Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine to remove or relocate traffic cameras. The state legislature would have to pass a law specifically granting the IDOT the authority to make and enforce rules for cities’ traffic cameras.

John Pemble / IPR

Fred Hubbell is an Iowa businessman who was also tapped by Democratic Governor Chet Culver to chair the Iowa Power Fund and be interim director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development amid the film tax scandal. He has been active in Democratic politics for years, donating to many campaigns and candidates. But, he says listening to Republicans talk about the success of the 2017 session after defunding Planned Parenthood, rolling back collective bargaining rights and privatizing Medicaid was the tipping point that pushed him to become a candidate himself.

nate boulton
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Editor's note: Nate Boulton suspended his campaign for governor on May 24, a day after the Des Moines Register published accusations of sexual misconduct from three women.  This interview with Boulton was conducted in late April.

Two women wheel a grocery cart across the parking lot to a white van, open the door and shove kids’ toys out of the way.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds Thursday released a redacted letter from a state employee describing overt sexual harassment over three years by former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison, who is also a longtime friend of the governor. 

Jamison was fired on March 24th, less than 24 hours after the employee came forward.  

Requests have mounted since then for more information about the case, which the letter released Thursday provides.

In the small city of Fort Morgan, Colorado, 33-year-old Verónica delicately stacks cans of food into her mini shopping cart, strolling the narrow aisles of the Rising Up food pantry to gather eggs, milk, apples and an extra-large box of cereal.

Iowa Wind Energy Association / Facebook

Black Hawk County is moving forward with a plan to build 35 wind turbines, despite concerns from local residents. But an Iowa researcher says the impacts will likely be minimal.

John Pemble/IPR

This year’s legislative session, now in its second week of overtime, could set a new record for going beyond scheduled adjournment when one party controls the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s office.  

In remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) said since the Iowa legislature has met annually, there have been nine times when one party controlled both the legislative and executive branches.

It’s a challenge for people with severe mental illnesses to hold down a job or get the medical help they need. And that extends to when they try to alleviate hunger by getting on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

protesters wells fargo
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Protesters targeted a Wells Fargo shareholder meeting in Des Moines Tuesday and listed several complaints against the bank that was recently hit with a $1 billion fine for loan abuses.

“We’re gonna beat back the bank attack,” chanted protesters standing in a hotel lobby below the shareholder meeting. They cheered when they learned the people in the meeting above could hear them.

Lori Young of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement—one of the groups that organized the protest—said Wells Fargo is too big.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Finance managers in the Iowa House and Senate say it is costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars for the legislature to remain in session past its April 17th adjournment date.  

Those costs are expected to rise as the session may continue well into next week, even once House and Senate GOP negotiators reach agreement on taxes and budgets. 

Chief House Clerk Carmine Boal explains that lawmakers’ expense accounts expired on April 17th, the scheduled 100th day of the session, so they are no longer being paid per diem. 

Amy Mayer / IPR

The first version of the 2018 farm bill has only minor changes to one of the programs most farmers hold dear and what’s widely seen as their primary safety net: crop insurance.

The program covers all sorts of crops, “from corn to clams,” Iowa State University agriculture economist Chad Hart said. But it’s not like the types of insurance most people are familiar with.

There’s a Republican-authored proposal in the next farm bill that would require millions more people to work or volunteer in order to receive federal food assistance.

Wikimedia Commons

A stronger form of medical marijuana would become available in Iowa for a larger number of patients under a bill that advanced in the Iowa Senate today.  

It’s the second year in a row that the Senate has tried to pass a more expansive medical marijuana law than the one Gov. Branstad signed last year.   

peggy huppert and kim reynolds
Joyce Russell / IPR

Advocates for families struggling with mental illness are applauding Gov. Kim Reynolds' signing Monday of an executive order to create a new state board overseeing childhood mental illness.   

The Children’s Mental Health Board will make recommendations for a new statewide system for children who are not covered by the state program that serves adults with mental illness.  

Activists say the new program is long overdue.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the biggest federal program aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that millions of Americans find themselves in — sometimes for a few months, sometimes for several years.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Every seat in the House and half in the Senate are up for reelection later this year.  Twenty-two legislators are choosing not to come back.  In the final days of a general assembly, many give "retirement" speeches on the floor. This week Wally Horn, Bob Dvorsky, Mark Chelgren, and Rick Bertrand are honored with Senate resolutions. 

Kate Payne

Iowa students across the state protested gun violence Friday, to mark 19 years since the Columbine shooting in Colorado. One of the demonstrations was at a gun store owned by the president of the NRA.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A gun control rally and voter registration drive was held on the west steps of the Iowa Statehouse today, part of a nationwide observance of the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.  

A youth group known as Iowa Students United organized the rally of several hundred metro area students.      

Seventeen-year old  Tyler Juffernbruch of Norwalk said Iowa Students United came together after the February mass shooting at a Florida high school. 

He said the shootings “broke a ceiling into activism.”

Iowa State University

A football coach who led the Iowa State Cyclones, the UNI Panthers and the Arena League’s Iowa Barnstormers has died.

Earle Bruce is generally regarded as the coach who revitalized the Cyclone football program in the mid-1970s. He recorded a 36-32 record at Iowa State between 1973-1978, which included three eight-win seasons in a row and two notable victories against rival Nebraska.

John Pemble

Cathy Glasson has decades of experience working as a nurse in Iowa. She’s also served as president of the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union. Now, she’s running for governor of Iowa as a Democratic primary candidate.

Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters spoke with Glasson about why she’s running for office, why she believes in a statewide minimum wage of $15, and her plans for Iowa’s Medicaid and Medicare systems. A transcript of the conversation follows:

Joyce Russell/IPR

Rank and file lawmakers adjourned for the week and went home today, leaving behind key negotiators to work out a tax deal so the 2018 legislative session can come to a close. 

There is broad agreement among Republicans in the House, the Senate, and the governor’s office that income tax cuts are needed so Iowans can take full advantage of federal tax cuts.   Each of their plans provide additional tax relief beyond that, while the Senate plan cuts taxes most aggressively of the three.

Clay / Iowa Public Radio

Kyle Munson’s last day as the Iowa Columnist at the Des Moines Register is Friday. He's worked there for 24 years. He's been the Iowa Columnist for the last 8 years. Munson is leaving for a job at Principal Financial. The first person to hold the job was reporting on World War II. Munson is just the fourth columnist to hold this position.

IPR's Clay Masters spoke with Munson about the state of journalism and the role of a columnist in the changing media landscape. 

Kate Payne

This story was updated on 4/19.

Non-tenure track faculty at the University of Iowa are demanding higher pay, better benefits and more representation. Around sixty non-tenure track professors and supporters braved the weather to deliver their demands to campus administrators Wednesday.

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