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People of Iowa: Keep Iowa Mental Health Institutes Open

MHIThere is a petition on change.org to prevent the Branstad administration and the legislature from closing the doors of two of Iowa’s mental health institutions. It needs 725 signatures to reach 5,000.

www.change.org

People of Iowa: Keep Iowa MHIs Open

Gov. Branstad has made a proposal to shut down the Mental Health Institutes of Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda, Iowa. This petition is to support keeping them open, and keeping them funded.

Not only are there not enough beds to support everyone who would be affected by this, those that are working at these MHIs will be out of a job, or will be uprooted to move to the next closest MHI, which is in Independence, Iowa. This facility is 3+ hours away.

This proposal will ultimately not save money as the Governor states. It will cause extra money to be spent on other psychiatric units of hospitals and nurses of these hospitals, ultimately causing them to be spending more to support the influx of people.

Please sign this petition to help my Psych/Mental Health class of Iowa Wesleyan College lobby in Des Moines to support this cause. We are also affected seeing as our school, Indian Hills Community College, and Southeastern Community College all use this facility to train in the psychiatric clinical setting. Please help us keep them open!

Click here to sign the petition

Run Warren Run House Party Weekend

ready for warren

Blog for Iowa will be attending a Run Warren Run informational house party this weekend.  Watch this video about the movement to draft Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016. Then click here to find a house party near you.

The Problem Of Corporate Influence In Iowa

ALECorIOWA

Thanks to Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa for his exemplary work monitoring ALEC’s activities in Iowa.

http://progressiowa.org/progress-report

ALEC WATCH: New Report Details Corporate Influence in Iowa

By Progress Iowa

To take action or ask questions about ongoing ALEC activity in Iowa, contact Progress Iowa ALEC WATCH Hotline: (515) 428-1556 | Via email: alecwatch@progressiowa.org

Progress Iowa Tuesday released ALEC WATCH, in an ongoing effort to expose the work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and to empower Iowans to hold their elected leaders accountable.

Key findings in the report include:

In Iowa, Senator Ernst, Governor Branstad, and the state legislators serving in leadership positions in ALEC have received more than $563,000 in direct campaign donations from ALEC corporations. Due to the opaqueness of independent spending a complete total will never be known, but ALEC members spent more than $4.2 million in independent expenditures to elect Sen. Ernst.

 –  ALEC appears to be on the decline, but the organization continues to reinvent itself and adapt. Thanks to transparency efforts across the country, ALEC’s corporate membership may be on the decline. Leaked documents and public statements show that 100 corporate members have left ALEC, forcing a budget crisis for the organization. The corporate exodus has continued recently, with companies like Google, and eBay leaving. ALEC has responded by discussing moving to attract new corporate industries, and recently created an effort to influence local government officials en masse and advance ALEC’s agenda. The ALEC hotline and statewide educational effort will empower Iowans to play a more active role in their local government and stand up to the influence of ALEC.

-  ALEC distorted its membership figures to the public. Internal ALEC documents reported on in December of 2013 show that the organization considers all 150 Iowa legislators to be members, despite the public denial of membership by every Democratic member of the Iowa legislature. ALEC’s response to questions regarding membership was lacking, and response from Iowa leadership was nearly nonexistent. Because of these discrepancies and, ALEC’s efforts to influence legislators in Iowa is more opaque than any other state.

-  ALEC model bills continue to be introduced in the Iowa legislature. Progress Iowa identified at least nine bills with ALEC influence from the most recent legislative session. Bills to privatize education, weaken consumer standards, and the annual iterations of ALEC’s ‘stand your ground’ model were introduced.

ALEC continues to promulgate an aggressive agenda of deregulation and corporate cronyism. ALEC has shown indications that it will continue to advance its issues in Iowa and across the nation including the privatization of education, the erosion of consumer protections, rigging the courts, and attacking workers. Efforts like this report are the only means to track this influential organization.

ALEC WATCH was compiled by the staff of Progress Iowa, with assistance from a number of partner organizations and volunteers. The report relies on and would not be possible without research from ProgressNow, the Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, People For the American Way, the Iowa Policy Project, as well as other sources of public information. As information about ALEC in Iowa becomes available to the public, supplemental reports may be issued to offer a more complete picture of ALEC’s influence on our democratic process in the state legislature and across Iowa. View the full report below.

For additional information and further reading about ALEC, we recommend the following sources:

ALEC Exposed, produced by Center for Media and Democracy: http://www.alecexposed.org
Blog for Iowa: All posts about ALEC: http://www.blogforiowa.com/tag/alec/
Internal ALEC documents reported on by the Guardian in 2013, published at the 40th annual ALEC meeting in 2013: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/841593-alec-docs.html
Progress Report, the blog of Progress Iowa: http://progressiowa.org/sections/progress-report
Common Cause’s posted ALEC documents: http://www.commoncause.org/issues/more-democracy-reforms/alec/

Download the full report here:  ALEC Watch 

Koch Brothers Intend To To Buy Even More Republicans

AlecSome say the Kochs are America’s third party.  But make no mistake,  the money they plan to spend is for the purpose of electing Republicans.

According to The New York Times, the Brothers are predicting the cost of buying the 2016 election to be around $900 million. That amount of money would be a mere drop in the bucket to the Koch Brothers whose net worth is more than $100 billion. The $900 million doesn’t all come out of their personal checking accounts even though they could easily afford it. The money will also pour in from their network of donors. Republican presidential candidates are queuing up for the money like it was a KYBO on RAGBRAI.  The Kochs intend to throw the cash at congressional and state government races as well.

The news from the Koch donor summit makes clear that it is past time for stepping out of our comfort zones and  getting involved in the work of Democracy. I happen to own an old Moveon.org tee-shirt from the Bush years that says “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”  The only way out of this terrible predicament that we are currently in, is for people to get involved in the political process. Whether you have time and the stomach for it or not. Pretend it’s a football game.

Something you can do this weekend is attend a Run Warren Run house party/informational meeting near you. Go to the Run Warren Run Facebook page or runwarrenrun.org/takeaction.  You can sign the petition asking her to run then find out about events happening right in your neighborhood.

The New York Times reported yesterday:

“The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.

The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races..

Now the Kochs’ network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party’s dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government.”

Click here to read the entire story.

Ernst Does Her Job, Attempts To Whip Up Base At Summit

AlecRepublicans have absolutely nothing to say and this proves it. Ernst sounded about as coherent as Sarah Palin, and these were prepared remarks.  To be fair, it is tough to sound like you are saying something while saying nothing, which is what their candidates are required to do. Here are some excerpts of her speech at Steve King’s Freedom Summit in Des Moines over the weekend, but if you missed Joni Ernst on the campaign trail, be sure and also watch the video.  It is obvious that she is delivering designated lines to a crowd she and her handlers believe are not terribly bright.

Joni Ernst:

“Thank you Citizens United.”

“Tremendous victory all across Iowa, so thank you for doing that. We can’t stop there.”

“We spoke loud and clear here in Iowa that we want to see a change. That change has been delivered.”

“It was because of you that we saw this tremendous victory.”

“Another thing I spoke about…defending life. defending innocent life.. we will be judged by how we take care of our most vulnerable in our population. that goes from our beginning of life to our natural death. We need to make sure that everyone understands that we are compassionate and we will defend this innocent life…”

“Isis and Al Qaeda are being radicalized by extremists.”

In the first 3 weeks of being in the US Senate we’ve voted on more amendments than they voted on in Harry Reid’s senate in all of 2014..hahaha.”

“another thing I mentioned was exec. overreach… [President Obama] is taking on the jobs that I was sent to DC to to do, what Steve King was sent to do, what Chuck Grassley was sent to do… we are legislators, the president is not. We need to stop that executive overreach…and that includes executive amnesty…uh-huh.”

“We have 54 wonderful Republican senators but we’re still 6 seats shy of that magical number.”

“We want Iowa to remain red. We will not be a purple state. We will be a red state. Heh-heh-heh..”

“I hope that all of you will be involved in the Iowa caucuses. You should be involved in the Iowa caucuses.”

“I will be making sure that we keep Iowa a red state. ”

 

Progressives Analyze Steve King’s So-Called Freedom Summit

my favorite

my favorite

ProgressIowa

2016 Watch: National, Local Experts To Preview Steve King’s ‘Freedom Summit’ Today

Des Moines, Iowa — Today, national and local experts will preview the Freedom Summit being held on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. Potential [Republican] presidential candidates will attend and speak at the summit, in an attempt to gain favor with Congressman Steve King and Iowa’s extreme conservatives in advance of the 2016 Iowa caucus. The Summit is hosted by King and the group Citizens United.

“It’s terrifying that the Congressman who compared immigrants to dogs, doesn’t expect to find gay people in heaven, and believes God will use the next Republican President to ‘restore the soul of America’ will play the role of Presidential kingmaker this weekend,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa.

Local leaders from Iowa, California, Texas, New Hampshire, Georgia, Wisconsin, Utah, and Pennsylvania will provide background information and research about the speakers attending Saturday’s summit. Governors Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, and Senators Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, are all expected to attend, among others.

WHAT: Preview of Steve King’s Iowa ‘Freedom Summit’ by national and local experts
WHEN: Friday, January 23rd, 1:30 PM CST
WHERE: Mickle Center Conference Room, 1620 Pleasant St, Des Moines, IA

Via Teleconference:
Reply to matt@progressiowa.org to RSVP

WHO: Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa
Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director, Iowa Citizen Action Network
Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director, Courage Campaign
Ed Espinoza, Executive Director, Progress Texas
Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director, Granite State Progress
Bryan Long, Executive Director, Better Georgia
Scot Ross, Executive Director, One Wisconsin Now
Maryann Martindale, Executive Director, Alliance for a Better Utah
John Neurohr, Communications Director, Keystone Progress

##

Matt Sinovic
Executive Director | Progress Iowa

Notice Of Public Hearing On HF 80

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa Legislature
Public Hearings
Legislative Services Agency – Legislative Information Office – www.legis.iowa.gov

HF 80 – A bill for an act establishing the state percent of growth and including effective date
provisions. (Formerly HSB 58)
Sponsored by the Education Committee –
Monday, January 26, 2015
7:00 PM (introductions begin)
After introductions, the hearing will be for two hours in the RM 103.

General Requirements:

Speaking time per individual for the public hearing on HF 80 will be 3 minutes (written testimony is encouraged but not required). Written testimony or comments maybe emailed to housechiefclerk@legis.iowa.gov.

The cut off time to sign up to speak is 5 p.m. on Monday the 26th.

Persons wishing to speak or leave comments available to the public via the legislative website may sign up electronically at Public Hearings.

You may also sign up at the Legislative Information Office (LIO), Room G16, located in the Iowa State Capitol or call 515-281-5129 if you have questions. Please do not leave a recorded message by telephone.

Meghan Nelson, MPA
Assistant Chief Clerk
Iowa House of Representatives
515-281-5383

Iowa Superintendents Reject Branstad Education Budget

 

Loebsack Statement On The State Of The Union Address

dave loebsack updatedWashington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement this evening after President Obama delivered the State of the Union address.

“Since first being elected, my number one priority has been to fight to expand the middle class. As a nation, we must work to create jobs and grow the economy here at home so the middle class, and those working hard to join the middle class, have the tools necessary to pull themselves up and fulfill the American dream. I am pleased that the President laid out his plan and look forward to working with him to move our state and nation forward.

“As a former teacher, I am especially interested in the President’s proposal to provide two years of community college for free to all interested students. To truly succeed in this 21st century global economy, it will make more than just a high school degree. I have long said that community colleges are the principal intersection between education and workforce development and strongly believe that we need to ensure everyone who is qualified has access to a high-quality education.

“The future of economic development in Iowa and across the country depends, in large part, on access to the internet and specifically broadband. Just over the weekend, I met with local and economic development officials who stressed the importance of expanding high speed internet. Broadband would also provide small and rural schools the power to vastly expand their educational options, providing students with a cutting-edge 21st century education regardless of geography.”

Elizabeth Warren And 1st Lady Clinton Discussed Policy, Made A Difference

A meeting between Elizabeth Warren and then First Lady Hillary Clinton prevented a terrible bill from becoming law. What happened next is just plain sad.