Statehouse and Politics

John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Joyce Russell and Sarah McCammon check in on news from the Iowa Statehouse.

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.

As Iowans are  filing their state income tax returns, there’s a controversy at the statehouse over one of the questions on the tax form.       The question  aims to locate working Iowans who may be eligible for subsidized health insurance for their children.   Some  Republicans in the Iowa House say that  goes beyond what the government needs to know when you file your taxes.

John Pemble / IPR

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

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  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.

It was  Environmental Lobby Day at the statehouse.   The Iowa Environmental Council is  pushing for more  inspectors to make sure Iowa’s large animal confinement facilities are following clean water rules.    At the same time the  Iowa Department of Natural Resources is locked in a battle with the federal environmental protection agency over how much inspection is enough.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Democrats in the Iowa Senate and Governor Branstad’s office are exchanging barbs  as the two sides promote competing plans to reduce commercial and industrial property taxes.  Both sides agree the taxes are disproportionately  high, but the rhetoric Monday made compromise look elusive. 

John Pemble / IPR

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

Clay Masters / IPR

A plan to add 150,000 Iowans to Medicaid, the joint federal-state healthcare program for the poor is advanced today in the Democratic-controlled Senate. That comes the day before Republican Governor Terry Branstad meets with President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services to talk about healthcare options. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Reining in the Regents

Feb 20, 2013
John Pemble / IPR

A bill intended to rein in the power of members of the Iowa Board of Regents drew various degrees of support from Iowans Wednesday at the statehouse. The proposal follows controversy over Regent Bruce Rastetter. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell for a look at the week ahead at the Iowa Legislature.

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:

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An Iowa Senate committee has dismissed an ethics complaint for now against State Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Milo), who was accused of taking money from Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) presidential campaign.

Sorenson was the state chairman of Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa.  State Sen. Sandra Greiner (R-Washington) says the committee needs more information. 

“We cannot cite anybody for an ethics violation unless we have clear cut proof. So it’s on the complainant’s shoulders to provide us with the proof," Greiner says. "Sen. Sorenson is innocent until proven guilty.”

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The names of Iowans who obtain permits to carry a weapon would not be public record under a proposal introduced to a committee in the Iowa House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Windschitl (R - Missouri Valley), is a leading gun rights advocate. He sees keeping private the names of Iowans who get permits to carry or acquire weapons as a matter of public safety.

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

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

Some high-profile Republicans are saying it’s time to “let go” of one battle in the culture wars — the fight against same-sex marriage.

David Kochel was an advisor to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Kochel says he wants to begin a conversation about changing the Republican Party’s idea of family values.

“I like to think of it as my Republican values, and my conservative values—being pro-marriage, pro-family, and believing in intact families as the best place to give children a hope for the future,” he says.

John Pemble / IPR

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

Dozens of union members  crowded  a committee room at the statehouse, objecting to a resolution  to enshrine Iowa’s right to work law  in the Iowa constitution.   All 53 Republicans in the House have signed on to the measure they say is needed to ensure that Iowa workers are never forced to join a union.

John Pemble / IPR

Iowa lawmakers have completed the first week of the 2013 legislative session. They’ll return for the second week beginning Tuesday; they’re off Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King, Junior holiday.

IPR Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon spoke with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about how the session is shaping up so far.

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.

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

Citizens throughout Iowa gathered  by video-conference Thursday for a Des Moines-based public hearing to voice their opinion on Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s proposed voter purge rule. The proposal would allow the removal of voters from registration rolls if citizenship can’t be proven. The rule has drawn fire from civil rights and immigrants’-rights groups who say it would intimidate new citizens from voting.

Iowa’s Secretary of State Matt Schultz was in Washington today to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports the committee was tackling the contentious issue of voters rights.

Office of Governor Branstad / Facebook

Governor Branstad continues to say the Iowa Straw poll is losing its importance in the presidential race. Branstad says the candidates will ultimately decide whether or not it stays.

Republicans Regroup

Nov 14, 2012

Republicans in the Iowa House re-elected their top leadership in a closed-door meeting  at the statehouse.     They’ll return to the capitol on January 14th with a far slimmer majority following the 2012

elections.

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