Statehouse and Politics

Statehouse and Politics
8:00 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Psych Patient Transfer Called "Inhumane"

Rep. David Heaton (R-Mount Pleasant)
iprimages

Sheriff’s officers and other officials report a shortage of psychiatric treatment beds across the state.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:16 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Lawmakers Concerned Over Fast-tracking Medicaid Modernization

Iowa capitol
John Pemble IPR

The Iowa Department of Human Services is seeking bids to outsource parts of the more than $4 billion  Medicaid program. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:11 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Court Hears Case Against Governor Branstad

Iowa Judicial Branch Building
John Pemble IPR

Attorneys in a lawsuit over the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home for Girls in Toledo presented oral arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court.   

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Statehouse and Politics
4:06 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Gas Tax Hike Headed for the Governor's Desk

Senator Tod Bowman (D-Maquoketa)
Joyce Russell/IPR

With broad bipartisan votes, the Iowa House and Senate approved a bill raising Iowa’s gasoline tax by 10 cents a gallon.

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Statehouse and Politics
8:17 am
Mon February 23, 2015

More Privacy Sought for Public Employees

Iowa State Capitol
Photo by John Pemble

Iowa public employees would have more privacy while forming a union under proposed legislation in the Iowa House.  

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Statehouse and Politics
8:15 am
Mon February 23, 2015

A Hike for the Gas Tax Likely, Not for Minimum Wage

Iowa capitol
John Pemble IPR

Iowa lawmakers pushed a hike to the state’s gas tax even further along last week. A bill to raise the state's gas tax by ten cents a gallon is on the fast track at the statehouse. 

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Statehouse and Politics
5:14 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Democrats: Lesser Marijuana Penalties Still Tough

State Senator Steve Sodders
Iowa Senate Democratic Staff

Senate Democrats want to reduce the number of African-Americans in prison.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:54 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Republican Lawmaker: Freeze Teacher Salaries

Amazing Teachers
Karina/flickr

There was an angry debate in the Iowa House Education Committee.

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Politics Day
5:39 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

2016 Contenders Looking to Build Iowa Connections

401(K)2012 / flickr

Political action committees (PACs) for presidential hopefuls are focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire - with some groups channeling up to 95% of their political donations to local politicians in the two states.

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Statehouse and Politics
9:35 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Delinquent Girls' Treatment Debated

Judicial branch spokesman David Boyd says girls need a treatment option simillar to the boys' home in Eldora, now that the girls home in Toledo is closed.
Joyce Russell/IPR

Juvenile court officers are painting a bleak picture for delinquent girls since the state’s training school closed.   

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Statehouse and Politics
3:14 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Branstad: Pass Tax Hike Fast

Governor Terry Branstad at his weekly news conference.
Photo by John Pemble

Gov. Branstad today gave his clearest signal to date that he is prepared to sign a gas tax increase into law. 

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Statehouse and Politics
8:19 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Softer Penalties for some Marijuana Charges, Gas Tax Talks Continue

Iowa Capitol
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Talks about an increase of ten cents a gallon to the state’s gas tax have really been the dominant topic to come out the statehouse this session. 

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Statehouse and Politics
3:06 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

"Do Not Hire" List Under Scrutiny

State Sentors Matt McCoy and Janet Peterson before Senate Oversight Committee, August 2014
Joyce Russell/IPR

Democrats in the Iowa Senate fought back against the Branstad administration’s hiring and firing practices.

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Politics Day
2:43 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

World Leaders Meet in Ukraine for "Last Chance Negotiations"

Karl-Ludwig Poggemann

Leaders around the globe are meeting in Minsk in an attempt to ease the fighting between pro-Moscow rebels and Ukrainian forces over ground in Eastern Ukraine. 

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Statehouse and Politics
10:17 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Republican Lawmaker: Ease Marijuana Penalties

Marijuana
Tomas de Aquino/flickr

A bipartisan senate committee voted overwhelmingly to ease the penalties for some cases of first-time marijuana possession.  

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Legislative Day
4:31 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Rastetter: New Regents Funding Model Free of Political Motivations

President of the Board of Regents Bruce Rastetter
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter denies that there’s a political agenda behind a new proposed funding formula for Iowa's three state universities.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:54 am
Mon February 9, 2015

A Difficult Session and Playing Nice with the Gas Tax Bill

Iowa capitol after a recent snowstorm.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Democrats who control the Iowa Senate are proposing a big push for school funding. But it could be a tough sell. It’s just one of the issues being discussed up at the statehouse. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about that as well as challenges in the overall proposed state budget and continued talks about a hike in the state's gas tax to pay for the state's deficient roads and bridges. 

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News Buzz
4:06 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

New Distracted Driving Law Proposed

Gerry Gaffney Flickr

The Iowa Department of Public Safety has proposed legislation that would make hand-held cell phone calls while driving illegal and would make texting while driving a primary offense. 

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Politics Day
5:20 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Vaccinations Become Sticking Point for 2016 Hopefuls

Childhood vaccinations have become a hot-button issue in the last week, following a measles outbreak at Disneyland and comments made by Rand Paul
Sanofi Pasteur Flickr

Earlier this week in the midst of a measles outbreak at Disneyland, Rand Paul stated that vaccinations should be voluntary.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:48 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Iowa's African Immigrants Seek to Braid

African Hair Braiding
Heath Harris/flickr

There’s a new coalition at the statehouse of African-American Democrats and free enterprise Republicans.  

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Statehouse and Politics
9:39 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Sunset Deadline for Online Schools

Iowa Statehouse
John Pemble/IPR

A bill to allow Iowa’s two fully online schools to continue operation cleared a hurdle in the House yesterday.    

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Statehouse and Politics
6:28 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Calling All Four-Year-Olds: Preschool's For You

Preschool Colors
Barnaby Wasson/flickr

More Iowa four-year-olds could enroll in preschool under a bill in the Iowa Senate. 

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Legislative Day
4:16 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Repeat Domestic Abusers Would Serve 85% of Sentence Under Governor’s Bill

Governor Terry Brandstad talking this morning at his weekly press conference about domestic violence.
Photo by John Pemble

Today Governor Terry Branstad announced the details of a bill to toughen penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.

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Statehouse and Politics
7:47 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Gas Tax Talks Speed Along

Credit Photo by John Pemble

Lawmakers gained ground on a method to pay for the state’s deficient roads and bridges last week. It was one of the many issues likely to be an issue this week. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:23 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Gas Tax Dreams

Activists at Wallace Building for Transportation Day
Joyce Russell/IPR

A coalition of cities, counties, and economic development officials lobby lawmakers for better roads.  

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Statehouse and Politics
10:02 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Testifying to add Fine Arts to Iowa's Core Education

Leon Kuehner, executive director of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, testifies before the Iowa Senate Education Committee about amending Fine Arts to Iowa Core’s education.
Photo by John Pemble

Arts advocates made their case at the Capitol during a Senate Education Committee meeting.  They want lawmakers to make fine arts part of the Iowa Core for K-12 education.  Leon Kuehner, executive director of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education and a former band director, says the arts are a fundamental part of education. 

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Statehouse and Politics
7:53 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Rastetter: Iowa Behind the Curve

Regents President Bruce Rastetter at the House Appropriations Committee
Joyce Russell/IPR

The head of the Iowa Board of Regents says Iowa is behind other states in performance-based funding for public universities. 

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Legislative Day
3:08 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Narrowing the Skills Gap in Iowa with Specialized Training

Construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, and health services make up 54.6% of Iowa’s middle to high skill job market
Frank Guido

Iowa has a shortage of skilled workers, leaving jobs in some of the most thriving industries unfilled.

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Statehouse and Politics
1:26 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Governor Branstad Taken to Hospital by Ambulance

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad during his weekly press conference at the Capitol. Two hours later, Branstad feel ill during speaking event in Johnston & was taken to a hospital. The Governor’s spokesperson says the spell was caused by a “seasonal illness."
Photo by John Pemble

Governor Terry Branstad has been taken to a Des Moines hospital by ambulance.  Branstad's spokesman says he "fell ill" at an event this morning due to a "seasonal illness." The Governor was speaking at Du Pont Pioneer in Johnston at the time. Branstad, who is 68 years old, held his weekly news conference this morning at the statehouse. He was coughing and was quizzed by a reporter about his health.

"I've got a bad cold, and so does the Lieutenant Governor. We've had it off and on for some time... couple weeks or more."

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Statehouse and Politics
7:48 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Education Funding Dominates At the Statehouse

Iowa Capitol dome.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

  Debates over how much of a raise to give to the state's schools usually dominates early discussions at the capitol. Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell tells IPR's Clay Masters this year the debate is on time. The two discuss other education topics and what's ahead this week. 

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