Joyce Russell


Joyce Russell is a correspondent based at the Iowa Statehouse. Joyce has been covering the Iowa Statehouse since shortly after joining the news staff at WOI Radio in 1988. Her earlier broadcasting experience included news reporting at commercial stations in Oklahoma City and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Joyce’s reports can be heard on National Public Radio and American Public Media programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace.  She covered the last six Iowa caucus campaigns and interviewed numerous candidates for president, including some who went on to attain the highest office in the land.   

Joyce  has a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Louis University and  a master’s degree in English from the University of Oklahoma.   

Joyce’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.


Teacher Test
2:57 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

New Teachers to Take Required Exam

State education officials are laying the groundwork for an  exam prospective teachers will have to take before they are licensed in Iowa.   Those graduating from teacher preparation programs  this summer may be the last to squeak through without facing the new requirement.  Joyce Russell reports.

6:27 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Iowa Secretary of State Checking Voter Rolls for Non-Citizen Immigrants

League of Women Voters of California Flickr

Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz  hopes to match  Iowa voter registration lists  against a federal database to purge non-citizens from the rolls.   Critics  call it  a solution in search of a problem.   

Crime, Justice and Public Safety
5:55 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Iowa Officials Cracking Down on Con Man Posing as ... Them

Iowa’s Democratic Attorney General and Republican Secretary of State have joined forces to stop an unusual kind of identity fraud.   A California con man tried  to collect fees from Iowa corporations by pretending to be the Secretary of State.        

River to River
1:43 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

New Laws Take Effect & Swimming Tragedy

Iowa State Capitol

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.

8:21 am
Wed June 6, 2012

State Races in Iowa Primary

Most incumbents in the Iowa legislature have held on to their jobs for now  following yesterday’s primary voting.   Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell reports .

River to River
1:35 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Legislative Wrap-up

Iowa lawmakers have adjourned for the year… and now they’ll be hitting the campaign trail armed with accomplishments.  Host Joyce Russell talks with legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Assistant Majority Leader in the House Steven Lukan, about what they’ll highlight in legislative races.  Then, statehouse reporters, James Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register, offer their takes on what did and did NOT get done.

6:04 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Legislature Adjourns

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.  

8:02 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Property Tax Debate

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.  

7:41 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Legislative Preview 5/7/12

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.

River to River
1:06 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Author Erik Larson and Statehouse Update

History offers the benefit of hindsight. But New York Times Bestselling author Erik Larson tries to transport readers back in time, before the outcome of events was known.  In his latest book, In the Garden of Beasts he takes us to pre-war Berlin with the family of the first U.S. Ambassador to Nazi Germany, William E. Dodd.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with him about narrative non-fiction in advance of a visit to Des Moines.  And Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell tells us how close Iowa lawmakers may be to adjournment.

5:30 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Legislative Preview 4/23/12

A sunny day at the Statehouse
John Pemble IPR

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

River to River
1:00 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Legislative Issues on the Campaign Trail

As we enter the waning days of the legislative session, behind-the-scenes negotiations on the big issues remaining to be resolved begin in earnest.  Lawmakers have yet to agree on budget targets, education reform or commercial property tax relief.  But, how will upcoming elections impact those negotiations?  Host Joyce Russell  talks with Democratic and Republican leaders about the issues lawmakers want to take on the campaign trail this fall… and how that may impact debate over issues yet to be decided. 

5:30 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Legislative Preview 4/16/12

The 2012 session was scheduled to end this week. But lawmakers still have a lot of work to do. IPR's Sarah McCammon and Joyce Russell discuss what's left.

8:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

School Start Debate

John Pemble

After a long debate, the Iowa House today voted to put a limit on how early Iowa schools can start classes in the fall.   The tourism industry is behind the bill, including advocates for the Iowa State Fair, who say it’s hard to participate in the annual August event when kids are back in school.  But some education advocates resent talking about the school start date when weightier education issues remain unresolved.    

5:00 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Legislative Preview 4/9/12

IPR's Joyce Russell and Sarah McCammon discuss what's coming up in the Iowa Legislature this week.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Legislative Monday: School Start Date / Direct Care Workers

Iowa law prevents school districts from starting classes before September first but the Iowa Department of Education routinely grants waivers. Join host Joyce Russell as we discuss a proposal in the Iowa House that would make it harder for schools to start in mid-August. School superintendents say it should be a local decision while the tourism industry says an early start date hurts business. Later, we’ll have a discussion about professionalizing direct care workers.

5:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Tobacco Tax Dispute

Some smokers have always saved money by buying loose tobacco and rolling their own cigarettes. Now a number of smoke shops around the state are making it not just cheap but very easy. But the state’s tax police are on the case.  

5:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Legislative Preview 4/2/12

IPR's Sarah McCammon and Joyce Russell preview the week ahead at the Iowa statehouse.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun April 1, 2012

Legislative Day: Property Tax Reform

One of the top priorities heading into this year's legislative session was property tax reform. With scheduled adjournment only weeks away time is once again running out for lawmakers to act. Host Joyce Russell examines the long history of the property tax debate in Iowa, and the Democratic and Republican plans to fix the system. Among the guests- Democratic Senator Joe Bolkom from Iowa City, Republican Representative Tom Sands from Wapello and Des Moines City Manager Rick Clark.

5:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

School Start Date

Iowa’s tourism industry has mounted a last minute effort in the Iowa House to stop schools from starting earlier in the fall. Representatives from the lodging and travel sectors pleaded with lawmakers to let them ply their trade from June to late August without interference from schools. But there was bitter division within the Republican majority.  

Statehouse News
5:30 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Legislative Preview - Week of 3/26/12

IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon for a preview of legislative news.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun March 25, 2012

Mental Health Redesign

Revamping mental health care remains a work in progress at the Iowa Statehouse. Host Joyce Russell talks with advocates, providers, county officials and legislators who are working on a redesign of the mental health system. The hope is that the mentally ill will be able to get the help they need, no matter where they live in the state. One of the issues stalling progress on the legislation, is cost. Join in the conversation to discuss the system as it exists today, and proposed changes.

River to River
11:00 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

Legislative Monday: Education Reform

Governor Terry Branstad has proposed sweeping reforms to Iowa’s education system and the debate is likely to intensify now that the Republican-controlled Iowa House has approved its reform package.  The measure now goes to the Democratically-controlled Iowa Senate.  Host Joyce Russell discusses topics ranging from third grade retention and online learning to new teacher probation and end of course exams on our next legislative show from the law library at the state capitol.