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20 Procedural “Irregularities” Used By Iowa Republicans

From the Facebook page of Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg  @SenatorRobHogg

While it is fresh in my mind, here is a list of 20 major procedural irregularities used by Republicans on the bill to take away workers’ rights and teachers’ rights (that were originally enacted in 1974 by a Republican Governor and a Republican Legislature after two full years of work and after 12 days of floor debate in Iowa House and a week in Iowa Senate):

(1) Republicans did not campaign on issue;

(2) Republicans told the public after election they would do “minor tweaks,” misleading the public including city, county, and school officials who said they wanted “tweaks” but did not expect or want the changes actually made – not a single city, county, or school official has told me they supported the bill as drafted or as passed;

(3) Republicans introduced the bill (HF291/SF213), without consulting with Iowans who would be affected, on Tuesday, February 7, running it out of subcommittee and committee by February 9 in both chambers simultaneously and with minimum public notice;

(4) Republicans introduced the bill one day after Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers) began advertising and mail campaign, spending over $125,000 on TV ads in a single week;

(5) Senate Republicans talked to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over the phone about the bill while over 1,000 Iowans were in the Capitol Monday to talk to them about the issue – Senate Republicans then left through side doors of Capitol to avoid speaking to Iowans;

(6) Senate Republicans brought bill up on Tuesday and expected to pass it then – just one week after initially introducing it;

(7) after breaking Tuesday night, Senate Republicans went right back to floor debate Wednesday morning, cancelling most committee meetings;

(8) House and Senate simultaneously debated the bill – this is a very unusual procedure except during the final days of a session on budget bills;

(9) Senate Democrats were drafting substantive amendments as quickly as possible, but then had to re-draft most of them to Senate Republican amendment – it was a large bill with many provisions that should not have been combined in a single bill – non-partisan legislative drafter was working all through the night – no explanation was ever given for making non-partisan staff work all through the night;

(10) Senate Republican floor manager said he could not take an amendment on university police because of an agreement he had with the House, before the Senate had ever considered amendments or debated the bill;

(11) Senate Republican floor manager said on the floor he met with people to draft the bill who he would not identify and also would not identify city, county, and school officials he claimed wanted the bill;

(12) calls to the Senate switchboard Monday through Wednesday were 2,476 against the bill, only 30 for it – with limited time and limited switchboard staff, staff were not able to write notes to individual Senators;

(13) Senate switchboard was shut down at 8 p.m. Wednesday and not re-opened until 8 a.m. Thursday, due to limited staff, but Senate Republicans decided to keep debate going through the night when calls could not be received and very few members of the public were able to watch;

(14) Senate Republicans ended Wednesday’s floor debate around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, then started Thursday’s floor debate around 9:45 a.m.;

(15) House Republicans announced the use of “time certain” in the House to end debate at noon;

(16) Senate Republicans announced they would use the “time certain” procedure in the Senate – unprecedented in my history in the Senate – and end flood debate at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, without explanation for the rush;

(17) Senate Democrats had to hurry debate on amendments, but still only got through about 10 more before 2:00 p.m. hit;

(18) Senate Republicans delayed coming into the chamber to vote, leading Democrats to have to invoke “Call of the Senate” to force members to stay in the chamber;

(19) at 2:00 p.m., Senate President Whitver implemented “time certain” and forced votes on roughly 50 amendments and the bill without allowing Senators to explain to Senators and the public what their amendments were and without any additional floor discussion; and

(20) the bill was signed by Governor Branstad less than 24 hours later in “private” except for the presence of a representative of Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers).

I know I may have left some of the procedural irregularities out, but this is a good start. I will try to add comments later if I remember more.

Sunday Funday: “And The Oscar Goes To” Edition

The Oscars Are Tonight

As awards shows go, the Academy Awards are usually one of the more entertaining shows. We don’t go to shows as much as we used to, but we will most likely watch the Awards. In this world of everything being politicized, the Academy Awards also seem to be somewhat of a time to cheer for our side. Since we only saw one movie last year I think that is the one we will be cheering for  – “Hidden Figures.”

And now for the non-award winning Sunday Funday quiz: Were you paying attention?

1) What sign was placed at the base of the Statue of Liberty Tuesday night?

2) The prime minister of Iceland said that if he could he would ban what topping on pizza?

3) The Kansas legislature gave Governor Brownback what way to get the state out of debt, but Brownback vetoed it?

4) FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub repeated her demand Tuesday that the Trump administration produce evidence of what?

5) The loser in the popular vote for president issued a statement on anti-Semitism after what incidents?

6) What controversial right wing extremist resigned as editor of Breitbart after video surfaced of him condoning pedophila?

7) The UN ambassador from what country died suddenly Monday which caused many suspicious eyebrows to be raised?

8) Who was the first African-American to win an Oscar?

9) Arizona Rep. Trent Franks claimed a border wall is needed because nukes could be smuggled in to the US in what?

10) Jackie Robinson was the first black major league baseball player. Who was the second? (hint: first in the American League)

11) Big news in science this week included the discovery of seven earth size planets around a dim star about how far from us?

12) After signing the bill to bust public unions in Iowa Terry Branstad posed for a photo shaking the hand of who?

13) In the 1860 census was the slave population of the US closer to 500,000 or 5,000,000?

14) Happy Birthday, Buffalo Bill Cody! What Iowa town was he born in 171 years ago?

15) In his first month as president, the popular vote loser spent over 2X more time doing what versus time in intelligence briefing?

16) New political term introduced at the CPAC conference! What is a “watermelon”?

17) Norma McCorvey died last week in Katy, Texas. She made a major mark in history under what name?

18) Playboy magazine announced it would bring back a feature that less than a year ago it dropped as being dated?

19) What largest Christian focused retailer announced Thursday it would be closing all of its stores?

20) In another old-line retailing cutback, what once giant retailer announced it would be closing 140 stores?

From the “black is white and night is day and up is down” CPAC conference comes this little gem. CPAC organizer Dan Schneider called the alt-right philosophically left wing. Must be really hard to live in a world that is so twisted that everyone in it has a clear view of their rear end from the inside.

Answers:

1) “REFUGEES WELCOME”

2) pineapple

3) the overwhelmingly Republican legislature voted to raise income taxes.

4) voter fraud

5) a spate of bomb threats to Jewish organizations and vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis

6) Milo Yiannopolous

7) Russia. Seems to be something going around in that country

8) Hattie McDaniel for supporting actress in “Gone With the Wind”

9) bales of marijuana (he really said that)

10) Larry Doby for the Cleveland Indians

11) 40 light years or ~ 240,000,000,000,000 miles

12) Drew Klein of the Koch Brothers front group Americans For Prosperity

13) closer to 5 million. Actual figure about 4 million

14) Le Claire near Davenport in Scott County

15) tweeting – got to set your priorities

16) Someone who is Green – environmentalist – on the outside and Red – Marxist communist – on the inside

17) Jane Roe as in Roe v. Wade

18) photos of nude women

19) Family Christian Books

20) JC Penney

And this one goes out to Joni Ernst. Joni, can you do your job and investigate the link between the administration and our enemies. please. Our country truly depends on it.

Another Oscar

IPP Sponsors Two Events Exposing ALEC

A Legislator for Every Corp.

With all the damage ALEC is wreaking in Iowa these days it may be a very good time to make sure that everybody understands just what ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).

As so often happens in Iowa during a time of great stress and change our friends at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP) are ahead of the curve. On March 6th and 7th IPP will be sponsoring an event discussing ALEC and their brother organizations on the evening of March 6th and March 7th.

The March 6th event is in Des Moines:
Time:      6:30 to 8PM
Place:     Public Library 1000 Grand Ave., Des Moines.
https://www.facebook.com/events/173083723192845/

The March 7th event is in Iowa City:
Time:      7 to 8:30PM
Place:     Shambaugh Auditorium on the Pentacrest at the U of Iowa
https://www.facebook.com/events/124744924714627/

Find out what is behind the union busting, the cutting of education, the “shoot your neighbor” laws and the voter suppression laws.

It will be well worth your time.

The Money, The Money, The Money

Alec

Last week brought the not too stunning revelation that the Iowa legislature seems to be under the direction of Americans For Prosperity, a Koch brothers front group.

Following the money, one of the most valuable lessons ever to learn in following politics, leads us to the Koch brothers and from them to a couple of their many, many front groups in this case Americans for Prosperity and ALEC.

ALEC provides the legislation – recently the union busting bill – and Americans For Prosperity provides the grease.

Bet you didn’t know when you cast a vote for a Republican for the state house or state senate you were in effect voting for Charles and David Koch.

Joe Bolkcom probably said it best:
“I think what it says is that the Koch brothers have taken over this state with the millions of dollars that they have poured into this state,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City. “Obviously, this bill was a big priority of theirs, and it shows that big money has taken over state government. Iowans should be very concerned about this.”

Does anyone remember your Republican legislator campaigning on taking away the collective bargaining for public employees? How about taking our tax money to pay for privatized education? Did they stand up and say “I will vote for a bill that may take away your ability to vote!”

Of course they didn’t. Who would vote for them if they did? So they spent last year’s campaign speaking in platitudes about freedoms and liberties and low taxes to us while speaking entirely differently behind closed doors to the folks with the money.

The money, the money, the money. Politics has always been tied to the corruption that money brings. Those with money are always around with baskets of money ready to put into the outstretched hands of politicians on the take.

When we see the gross miscarriage of power that we witnessed last week where Republicans acted as if they were one and refused to engage in serious debate, it almost looked as if the Republican party was acting as if they were employed to do a specific job by someone. I don’t think that impression is too far off.

Expect to see a very similar scene as the Republicans go after Iowa’s once world-class public school system in order to privatize it and make some more donors even wealthier. Drew Klein of Americans For Prosperity has announced this as his next objective. Wouldn’t be very surprised if it suddenly became the Republicans next objective. As if by luck you can bet that ALEC already has a bill already written and ready to go. What luck!

While the national administration is not the well oiled machine Mr. Popular Vote Loser claims, it sure seems like our state government surely is. From Charles and David to the front groups through a very friendly {wink, wink} legislature then landing softly on the governor’s desk who then signs it as a representative from the Koch brothers makes sure the deed is done.

Right now our legislature is doing something that would have seem unconscionable in Iowa just a few years back. The legislature is about to pass a “Stand Your Ground” law which has been shown to give those with guns a reason to shoot those they don’t like for whatever reason. Treyvon Martin’s death in Florida after being stalked and beaten by an unknown (to Martin) assailant stands as a very cautionary tale on this law. Let’s be honest, certain groups will become targets if this law passes. I am old enough to remember when lawmakers didn’t want citizens shooting each other. However, the object here is to increase gun sales.

Many years ago I stated the any and every action between a legislator and any lobbyist or outside interest group should be recorded and reviewed. That still seems reasonable to me.

You have to wonder which will happen first – the end of the democracy that was once the hope of the world under the weight of corruption or getting money out of politics. Right now – especially after the Citizen’s United ruling – it looks like the end of our democracy is leading the race by a large margin.

Iowa Legislative Forums Feb. 24-25


February 2017

02/24/2017 07:00 AM – 08:00 AM Legislative Forum – Lenox
02/24/2017 08:00 AM – 09:00 AM Town Meeting – Parkersburg
02/24/2017 09:30 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Davenport
02/24/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Logan
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM Legislative Forum – Cherokee
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:30 PM Legislative Forum – Keokuk
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM Economic Development Forum – Anamosa
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:30 PM Economic Development Forum – Monticello
02/24/2017 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM Legislative Forum – Boone
02/24/2017 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Education Forum – Iowa City
02/24/2017 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Legislative Forum – Cedar Falls
02/24/2017 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Legislative Forum – Marion
02/24/2017 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Legislative Forum – Hiawatha
02/25/2017 08:00 AM – 10:00 AM Eggs & Issues – Rock Rapids
02/25/2017 08:00 AM – 09:00 AM Legislative Forum – Shenandoah
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 10:00 AM Legislative Wake Up – Ames
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 10:00 AM Eggs & Issues – Fort Dodge
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Forum – Mount Pleasant
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 09:30 AM Eggs & Issues – Oskaloosa
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Maquoketa
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Keosauqua
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 10:00 AM Legislative Forum – Winterset
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Forum – Lamont
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Coffee – Council Bluffs
02/25/2017 09:30 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Coralville
02/25/2017 09:30 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Coffee – Clive
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Sioux City
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM Legislative Forum – Davenport
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Clarinda
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Logan
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Marion
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Coffee – Colfax
02/25/2017 10:30 AM – 12:00 AM Legislative Coffee – Urbandale
02/25/2017 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM Eggs & Issues – Sibley
02/25/2017 12:00 AM – 2:00 PM Legislative Forum – Bloomfield
02/25/2017 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Legislative Forum – Mount Ayr
02/27/2017 08:00 AM – 10:30 AM Marti’s Monday Morning Coffee – Des Moines
02/28/2017 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Legislative Panel – Des Moines

Sirens In The Distance

 After the Iowa Republicans’ dismantling of Chapter 20,  Senator Joe Bolkcom warns that the public employee retirement system is next. 

Dear Editor:

 I woke up about 3 a.m. to a siren in the distance.  I thought to myself: Car accident? Fire? Medical emergency? Somebody needs help right now!  I also knew that siren meant skilled public servants were on the way to do just that.

I went back to sleep knowing that Iowans enjoy excellent local and state services that make Iowa and life as we know and enjoy it possible.  This is all now under threat.

The gutting of Iowa working collective bargaining law last week by legislative Republicans, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds will begin a decline in public services and our schools as the best people find both respect and better pay in the private sector and fewer people decide public service is a respected career choice. It won’t happen overnight. But the seeds are now in the ground.

Our trained, skilled and educated public servants make it possible for businesses to profit and communities to prosper. Here is a short list of some of the things that some politicians are taking for granted:

The inspection that made your home and workplace safe to occupy; a glass of clean water, running the dishwasher, washing the car; great schools and educated citizens; garbage, recycling and leaf pick up; snow plowing and road salting; street design, repair and maintenance; libraries, parks and pools; recreational trails and bike lanes; flood and tornado disaster relief; driver’s licenses; voter registration and clean elections; marriage licenses; birth and death certificates; restaurant and hotel pool inspections; 911, police, fire, emergency medical help; crime investigation; prison guards and community corrections; community planning; airport safety; controlling infectious disease and food born outbreaks; controlling air and water pollution; nurses and doctors; researchers and of course, brushing your teeth and flushing the toilet.

Iowa public servants deliver. They have chosen to work for public employers because in exchange for their contribution, they are afforded a stable work environment, decent wages and health and retirement benefits. This has allowed our cities, counties, school districts, community colleges, public universities and the state attract and retain some of the smartest people to serve us.

Why in the world have Republicans who now control all of state government become so mean-spirited and disrespectful of our skilled and dedicated public employees that do the hard work day and night?

The bad news is that they are not done. They now intend to destroy the retirement system employees have paid into and earned.

When you hear the next siren in the distance, be proud that we have trained public servants on the way to help. These workers are our neighbor and friends. They are taxpayers. They deserve respect and thanks, not scorn.

Joe Bolkcom
State Senator
Iowa City, Iowa

How The Modern Day GOP Used Gerrymandering To Regain Power After Obama

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center sponsored a discussion about gerrymandering last week.

“A discussion about redistricting between David Daley, former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, and Jonathan Winburn, associate professor of political science at the University of Mississippi, moderated by Tracy Osborn, director of the Politics and Policy research program at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center.”

Old Capitol Museum, University of Iowa
February 15, 2017

 

Iowa Auditors Oppose GOP Voter ID Bill

Senator Matt McCoy: No More Iowa Nice

The senator takes the gloves off and explains how things are.

They [Republicans] have stopped listening. The only thing they will understand is raw power at the ballot box.

This 1-hour legislative forum was broadcast live Sunday on Facebook.  It is safe to watch because there is no screaming and yelling, but there are pointed questions asked in a civil manner and honestly and frankly answered.  It is serious, informative, funny, upbeat, real, amazing, and inspiring. Listen to it while you are doing something else on the computer; you will not be sorry.  Topics: ALEC and the Koch Brothers, the terrible collective bargaining bill, gerrymandering, confronting GOP lies, Dems’ new campaign strategy, how we will fight back, what they did to beat Gronstal, and much more!

I promise you will not feel demoralized or defeated after watching; you will feel like getting out there and joining the fight.

The forum actually starts at about the 9-minute mark.

Legislative Forum, Live With Senator Matt McCoy

Posted by Matt McCoy on Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dave Loebsack Joins Rural Broadband Caucus

In times of Trump and the Republican take-over, it is easy to forget that much of the work of a congressman has to do with non-partisan issues, delivering basic needs to constituents, getting things done. Not everything has to be high drama. A good example of that is rural broadband. There are many areas of Iowa lacking internet access. Dave joined a bipartisan group of members to kickoff the Rural Broadband Caucus for the 115th Congress. The group will work together to ensure folks have access to broadband no matter where they live.