Archive for February 5, 2011
Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Disarmament
“In recognition of the fact that President Obama is
consistently, diligently working to improve the national security
posture of the United States, Blog for Iowa will publish major addresses
by the administration concerning its policy towards nuclear
disarmament. Our intent is to be a voice to get the message out to
Iowans, something the corporate media seems uninterested in. While this press release is a bit on the dull side, it marks the end of two years of negotiations and is therefore noteworthy.”
New START Treaty Entry into Force
February 5, 2011
The New START Treaty officially entered into force with the exchange of Instruments of Ratification between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov in Munich on February 5, 2011. The entry into force of the New START Treaty sets into motion a number of requirements which are outlined below.
The exchange of all Treaty-required notifications now begins. The initial exchange of the databases is required 45 days after entry into force. The databases will include information on numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of weapons systems and facilities that are subject to the Treaty, and updated thereafter via notifications of data changes. The Parties have the right to conduct on-site inspections beginning 60 days after the Treaty’s entry into force. During the 60-day period between entry into force and the first on-site inspections, detailed planning and preparation—as well as any necessary technical exhibitions—will take place.
State Capitol News – Weekend Recap
State Capitol News – Weekend Recap
by Paul Deaton[Editors'
is a weekly recap of stories from Des Moines that
came through the Weekend Editor's in-box in the fourth week of the
legislative session. Check out the House Democrats page for a different
take on the week here. Senate Democrats are here. Watch for this feature every Saturday while the legislature is in
Iowa Republican House Members Rolls Up Sleeves and Gets StartedIt is great that after canoodling with their base for three weeks, the Iowa House Republicans rolled up their sleeves and got to work. In one short week they re-introduced styrofoam cups into the capitol, passed a resolution commemorating the Ronald Reagan Centennial, approved a new tagline for the state proclaiming we are a “right to work state,” established the right to choose whether to purchase health care and approved a measure for a constitutional amendment defining marriage. One can tell Republicans have a House majority this session. Coming out of committee are bills relating to restricting political telephone calls at night, school district dress codes, removing reminders of the I-jobs program at job sites, and a couple providing tax relief. They have sixty votes and don't seem interested in bipartisanship, and seriously, why would they be? As Bob Dylan said, “you gotta serve somebody…” and they are not serving the progressive agenda.
Governor Wants to Public-Private Partnership for Economic DevelopmentGovernor Branstad released his plan for economic development this week and he would eliminate the department of economic development and replace it with the “Iowa Partnership for Economic Development.” According to the draft legislation, “economic development is an important public purpose and…both the public and private sectors have a shared interest in fostering the economic vitality of the state. Therefore, it is the purpose of this (legislation) to implement economic development policy in the state by means of a collaboration between government and the private sector.” From my business experience, the private sector will be first to ask “what's in it for me?” That means how can they find economic return on investment in the partnership which is a much different proposition from a purely government program. Since
economic development can potentially mean jobs, Democrats are open
minded, with the caveat that oversight and accountability of the
partnership must be part of the new endeavor. Check out the governor's proposal here. Cedar Rapids Gazette Editorial here.
Funding For Education Debated
There was no surprise when the Iowa Senate countered the idea of zero percent allowable growth for education over two years with a 2% number. 2% allowable growth represents roughly $60 million per year, and when the governor announced that he would like to handle budget shortfalls in school districts with shrinking enrollment through $48 million in property tax relief, it would seem like we are almost there. Except that the property tax relief was one time money that would impact roughly 275 rural schools for one year, leaving them to fend for themselves in the second. Every other school district would have to determine how to pay increased operating costs like utilities, wages and benefits through cutbacks or increasing property taxes. This discussion does not include the preschool cuts proposed in HF 45 which is currently in the Senate Rules and Administration committee. There is a lot to watch in the debate over education spending, so stay tuned.
HJR 6 Advances to the Senate CemeteryAs Blog for Iowa and many major news outlets reported, House Joint Resolution 6, proposing a constitutional amendment defining marriage was debated and passed in the Iowa House. Next step is determining whether Senator Mike Gronstal (D-50) will remain true to his word and be able to stop the bill from advancing in the Senate. Word is that two Democratic Senators would vote for passage if such a vote is held, so Gronstal may have to stop the bill on procedural grounds. We hope he does. If you haven't viewed the video of Zach Wahls' testimony at the House public hearing on HJR 6, see it, here. ~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul Deaton