legislature

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill backers say would benefit African-Americans in the criminal justice system failed to advance in a Republican-dominated panel in the Iowa House today.    

The NAACP favors the bill to expunge the criminal record when charges against a defendant are dropped.  

Currently online court records don’t indicate a charge was dropped.    So an employer can go online and see only that a job applicant was charged with a crime. 

Clinton Democrat and defense attorney Mary Wolfe says she hears from young African-Americans who had unfounded charges dismissed.

John Pemble / IPR

Five Republicans and five Democrats met again at the statehouse Tuesday without resolving an ongoing conflict over how much state money K-12 schools should get next year.  While districts around the state await word, the House and Senate remain 100 million dollars apart. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen couldn’t say what the resolution will be.

”We didn't have it today obviously,” Paulsen says.  “Educators are looking for us to get this resolved and my hope is that we can get that done.” 

Iowa Public Radio

Republicans would dominate on the Iowa Board of Regents if three new nominees are confirmed, and one Senate Democrat says Governor Branstad is not following the intent of the law with the appointments.  

The governor nominated Vermeer executive Mary Andringa, Des Moines community volunteer Patty Cownie, and UNI student Rachel Johnson.  

Coralville Democrat Bob Dvorsky says with the appointments the nine-member board will include five Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents.    

Jess Calhoun

Members of a gun safety group that formed after the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut were at the Iowa statehouse today. They’re lobbying against a bill awaiting debate in the Iowa Senate that critics say will expand access to firearms. 

Jess Calhoun of Ames is with the Iowa affiliate of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“We want to work to see more common sense solutions to gun violence in our country,” Calhoun says.

Joyce Russell/IPR

After a roughly nine hour debate, Republicans in the Iowa House today voted strictly along party lines to scale back Iowa’s collective bargaining law for public employees, but only for teachers and other school employees. Dozens of education groups lobbied hard against the bill, which could make it more likely that teachers would get smaller raises when the school and teachers union disagree. Mason City Democrat Sharon Steckman calls the bill an attack on public schools.

John Pemble/Ipr

More than a thousand documents about the delayed opening of the new Fort Madison prison have arrived at the Capitol at the request of the House Oversight Committee .   The committee chairman says the documents reveal construction issues that prison officials have not previously discussed.   

The documents from the Department of Administrative Services include contracts and bills covering the months of construction.    Oversight Chief Republican Bobby Kaufmann is asking his nine-member committee for help sifting through the information.

Joyce Russell/IPR

A bill to raise the state sales tax for natural resource protection is being revived at the statehouse, and dozens of environmentalists and wildlife advocates crowded a committee room Tuesday in support.   The bill would raise the tax by three-eighths of a cent for the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, a constitutionally protected fund approved by Iowa voters in 2010.    

Ocheyedan Republican David Johnson says the new tax would bring in roughly 150 million dollars a year.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad’s appointee to head the Iowa Workforce Development Agency was questioned by a panel of State Senators. They are charged with confirming or denying the appointment.      

Joyce Russell/IPR

The bill would allow the production and dispensing of marijuana in Iowa for the treatment of certain medical conditions.  

alamosbasement/flickr

After an hour and a half of emotional debate, the Iowa Senate Tuesday on a bipartisan vote, agreed to let school districts decide when to start classes in the fall.   

House Republican Caucus

By a wide margin and without debate, the Iowa House today approved a wide-ranging gun rights bill. 

John Pemble/IPR

How to sentence teenagers who’ve committed heinous crimes continues to elude state lawmakers.

Joyce Russell/IPR

School choice advocates flooded the Iowa statehouse Tuesday.

John Pemble/IPR

A standoff between Democrats and Republicans over funding for K-12 schools next year continues at the statehouse.

Wes Thorpe/flickr

Cell phone companies are going head to head at the statehouse with Iowa’s towns and cities.

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.

Joyce Russell/IPR

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

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. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

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

Photo by John Pemble

Junior high and high school students from across the state rallied at the capitol today.

Barnaby Wasson/flickr

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

Ben McLeod/flickr

Where to put cell phone towers in Iowa towns will be on the agenda when state lawmakers reconvene next week.