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Iowa Legislature

Feeling Very Nervous

Just can’t help it. I am feeling very nervous about Tuesday.

My concern is mostly due to the Republican party’s blatant voter suppression activities. From the legalized theft of votes from citizens through voter id laws that are targeted at the poor, people of color and college students. States like North Carolina passed laws that seemed fit for the old Jim Crow South. If Republicans had policies that worked for the public they wouldn’t have to resort to suppression tactics like that.

Research has shown that infrequent voters tend not to vote when the campaigns are nasty. Being nasty as can be has been a common thread for Republican campaigns for a long time. No doubt you have heard many folks say “Maybe I just won’t vote.” Score that as a win for Republicans.

Then there is still the looming question of whether our voting machines can be hacked. There has never been a definitive study. We have already had reports of votes being flipped from Democratic candidate to Republican in North Carolina. There has been little investigation of these incidents. The voting machines are by electronic standards ancient. But our governments are starved for money so the old machines are put out to work yet again. As far as I know there are still no auditing procedures in any state. We are fortunate in Iowa to have a paper trail, but we still need some audit process.

Our radio and TV media have been incredible in not covering issues. Climate change, perhaps the single most overriding issue of our time, has simply disappeared from the radar screen. Donald Trump’s character, which is evidenced through the lawsuits and accusations against him, by stories from his employees, partners and small business contractors, should be enough to stop most Americans from voting for him. Yet this aspect of Trump is only touched on and then buried beneath bogus stories on Clinton’s emails.

Print media has been somewhat better. It is telling though that we can only name a few writers who have really stepped up to expose reality. David Farenthold, Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek, David Cay Johnston and the good folks at the Guardian. Fortunately, today’s version of the back room press of Revolutionary days – blogs – have filled in where TV and radio have failed so miserably. Hats off to Dailykos, Talking Points Memo, Salon, Huffington Post and so many others.

What has me especially nervous is what happens after the election. Despite all the blockades that Republicans have thrown up it looks like Hillary Clinton should have a decisive and clear cut victory. The US senate may also see a major shift. Due to the Republican gerrymandering of 2012 the House looks like it might remain in Republican hands.

Clear cut victory or not, Republicans will not give up their power easily or willingly. They will continue to use whatever tools they have and will create new ones to stop any progress. We already know that Republicans in the senate will do what they can to stop any Democratic nominees to the Supreme Court. We know also that if Republicans retain control of the House, impeachment will be among their first orders of business.

There is also the concern of post election violence. Trump has already proclaimed loudly that if he doesn’t win, then the election was stolen from him. At a rally in North Carolina in August he suggested that the “second amendment people” would know what to do. This was a thinly veiled call for taking up arms. In a recent incident Trump supporter Sen. Richard Burr said a picture of Hillary Clinton should have a bullseye on it.

The FBI’s insertion of itself into the election process is very troubling. Having non-political agencies inserting itself into the election suggests that other governmental agencies may not work depending who wins the election. It also sends a signal that investigations may be based on political stands.

Should Donald Trump win, heaven forbid, then we have many unknowns to deal with. Expect economic ramifications due to these uncertainties almost immediately. By that I mean world markets will be very volatile. That is only the immediate fallout. Expect real uncertainty as we learn what Trump ties to Russia mean, what kind of foreign policy his administration will actually have. We have been given no real idea what a Trump presidency may be like. Markets hate uncertainty and will over react on nearly every move. Retirement savings may be among the first affected.

At a state level, will Iowa voters turn the state over to Republicans totally? Considering how much damage Terry Branstad has done with only one house of the legislature, just think what he could do if Democrats were not able to exert some small amount of opposition to his power grabs. Have you seen what a mess Kansas is? Kansas is Republican nirvana. If the legislature is Republican it could be “Kansas here we come!”

Vote, vote, vote. And if you have time, join us in helping to turn out the vote. Give the local chair a call or join a national call effort.

After You Vote Where To Help Iowa Democrats In The Final Two Weeks

for state and nation vote democratIowa Starting Line identified the most important races to focus on during the final weeks of the campaign.  Click here to see the status of other key races in Northeast Iowa, Marion, and Polk County.   Click on the links below to find out how to volunteer to help these candidates or donate to their campaign.

Many of these races will come down to just several dozen or a few hundred votes. In 2012, one senate race was lost by 17 votes. One was won by 126. A combined difference of just 247 votes in three districts denied Democrats a tie in the House in 2012. Had 200 votes in a fourth district gone the other way, Democrats would have won the House outright.  – ISL

Muscatine/Davenport

“You get the biggest bang-for-you-buck here. Senator Chris Brase and House candidates Ken Krumweide and Phil Wiese could all have the closest races in the state on Election Day. Krumweide is on the Scott County side of Brase’s district, while Wiese is on the Muscatine side. Brase was Republicans’ early top target and they recruited a well-liked former legislator to challenge him. Brase is also a firefighter and has some of this year’s best Iowa ads.”

 

Branstad Adopts Trump Tactics, Blames Democrats For His Behavior

photo: washingtonpost.com

photo: washingtonpost.com

This  week I came across a story,  Law Enforcement: Lack of Resources for Mental Health in Iowa a Major Problem. In this story, Governor Branstad blamed Democrats for the closing of two MHIs and was quoted as saying, ” The fact remains that every Senate Democrat suing the state voted to not fund the two mental health institutions in question and keep them closed in House File 2460 (Roll Call Vote can be found here).”  I was taken aback, because that is not  how I remembered it happening.  So I wrote to my state senator, Joe Bolkcom, asking if the story was accurate and I have posted his reply below.  Basically, Branstad was just lying.

From Senator Bolkcom:

Your question has come to us repeatedly because all the Republican challengers are cookie cutter claiming that it was Senate Democrats’ fault that the two mental health institutes closed.

The short answer is, this is a cynical lie. The CR Gazette gave Sen Mathis’s opponent an F for the claim in their fact checking. The Republicans are desperate. If you can’t win with facts tell lies. It is the new Republican brand. Liars.

It is outrageous that Republicans are now blaming Senate Democrats for the closure of two mental health institutes. The facts clearly show that the decision was Governor Branstad’s. Even a few House Republican legislators called on Branstad to reverse course. The Senate Democrats worked during the 2015 session to save both MHIs only finally agreeing at the end of a long session to save Mt. Pleasant and privatize some of the gero-psych services at Clarinda. The Governor VETOED that compromise and both MHIs closed.

The original HHS Budget passed by the Senate in 2015 was SSB 1288 and SF 505 (first Senate passage) fully funded Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda (using SSBG funds). https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/NOBA/712552.pdf

NO Republicans voted for the version that funded all 4 MHI’s …26-22 Senate Journal 991. Costello, Feenstra, Johnson, Rozenboom, Segebart, Sinclair and Smith voted for the final compromise 33-17 Senate Journal 1079.

In addition Senate Republicans have not voted for any funding for mental health institutes, mental health regions or Medicaid funding for mental health in years.—which means we don’t have enough community services in place.

The bill that contained the “study MHI’s” language was in 2010, HF 811. It also contained full funding for the 4 MHI’s. We study lots of things and use the information in the studies to decide if it’s something is working or needs to be changed. The study indicated we need the services provided by the MHI’s. We never implemented closing any MHI, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. We fought to keep them all open through a long 2015 session and finally ended up with a compromise to keep Mt. Pleasant open and look into privatizing Clarinda, which would have kept services in place.

To be attacked for working to improve mental health services is dishonest. Especially since the Governor and Republican legislators have done so much to hurt the service network by closing much needed mental health beds and privatizing Medicaid. So cynical.

Remember in November!

Will “Truckloads Of Cash” From Koch Brothers Hand Iowa Legislature To The GOP?

iowa capitol

Here is an urgent call to action from Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom. Follow Senator Bolkcom on Facebook  and Twitter

High Stakes Iowa Senate Elections

“Republicans already hold the governor’s office and are expected to retain a majority in the Iowa House this fall. They are pressing to win additional seats in the Iowa Senate, where Democrats currently hold a 25-23 edge with one Democratic-leaning seat vacant.”

“Gaining a majority in the Senate would allow Republicans to fully wrest control of the state’s legislative agenda. That would allow them to slash state spending and cut corporate taxes, tighten access to abortions, rewrite public employees’ bargaining statutes, and lessen the state’s burden for public employees’ pension programs. Legislative Democrats oppose all of those changes.

Senate Democrats are being out spent two-to-one as a result of truckloads of cash coming from the Koch Brothers and friends of WI. Governor Scott Walker.  [bold italics BFIA’s}

Republican take over of state government will be a disaster for education, mental health care, fair taxes, civil rights and women’s health.

Wake Up! Support your Democratic State Senator this fall!”

Also this:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2016/10/03/independent-could-block-gop-controlling-iowa-capitol-agenda/

An independent Iowa lawmaker who bolted from the Republican Party to protest Donald Trump’s presidential nomination could stop the GOP from gaining complete control at the Iowa Capitol in the 2017 legislative session.

Republicans already hold the governor’s office and are expected to retain a majority in the Iowa House this fall. They are pressing to win additional seats in the Iowa Senate, where Democrats currently hold a 25-23 edge with one Democratic-leaning seat vacant.

Gaining a majority in the Senate would allow Republicans to fully wrest control of the state’s legislative agenda. That would allow them to slash state spending and cut corporate taxes, tighten access to abortions, rewrite public employees’ bargaining statutes, and lessen the state’s burden for public employees’ pension programs. Legislative Democrats oppose all of those changes.

But the departure of state Sen. David Johnson of Ocheyedan from the GOP and his switch to independent status places a bigger hurdle for Republicans to achieve their goals. Under Iowa’s Constitution, a bill can’t pass the Senate without having 26 votes. That means Republicans now need to win at least three seats in November’s elections to gain control. If they only win two seats, Johnson could join Senate Democrats in preventing his former party from implementing its legislative goals. Several campaigns in Iowa Senate districts are being intensely fought, and both Democrats and Republicans have said they are optimistic about the Nov. 8 election.

“I haven’t changed my values or my principles,” said Johnson, a former newspaper editor and publisher. “I am taking this one day at a time. Even though I have no official research staff, I have my experience to back it up and I try to stay informed about the issues to the best of my ability.”

Johnson differs sharply with Democrats by staunchly opposing legalized abortion and he sides with Republicans on most state budget issues. But he has criticized Gov. Terry Branstad’s decision to privatize management of Iowa’s Medicaid health care program. He also supports raising the state’s sales tax by three-eighths of one cent to generate revenue for a the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund with a key goal of improving water quality. Most Senate Republicans have opposed raising the sales tax.

Whether he sides with Republicans or Democrats on legislation will depend upon the particulars of a specific bill, he added.

Johnson told The Des Moines Register he intends to serve out his term through the 2018 legislative session, although he has not decided whether to seek re-election. He added that he won’t caucus with Republicans or Democrats when the Legislature convenes in January for the 2017 session, but he is confident he can do a good job of representing his 60,000 constituents. He’s no political novice, having been elected to the Iowa Legislature six times — twice to the House and four times to the Senate, serving a total of 18 years. He had no opponent in his last two campaigns.

Johnson stunned and angered many of his fellow Republicans in June when changed his voter registration to “no party” in an anti-Trump protest. He generated widespread news coverage when he blasted Trump as a “bigot” unqualified to lead the United States and the free world.

What To Write? What To Write?

about 30 seconds:

This blog is a labor of love. A chance many folks don’t get to give a perspective on things that others may not have thought about. But trying to decide what stories to comment on is very hard. Ideas pass through my mind all week before I finally sit down to gather my thoughts into something coherent and worthy of your time.

This week has been especially tough. The coming election and the outsized candidacy of Trump and his constant hate machine spewing vileness all over the place is hard to ignore. I think most on the left given the chance could go for hours on Trump and how he has divided America and rekindled hate that seemed to be slowly, very slowly dying. No doubt folks would tire of anti-Trump rants as much as they have tired of Trump himself.

The Clinton campaign has offered some uplifting messages of inclusion, some great ideas of solutions to real problems that real Americans face daily and a candidate who has been tested in trying role after trying role. Sadly our media only follows the train wrecks and car chases. Inspirational messages and inspiring leadership is not a car chase. So once again Democrats across the country can barely even get covered by their local radio stations.

————————————

I should be talking more about Iowa legislative races. They are extremely important this year simply because Terry Branstad and his one man assumption of power needs to be squelched. His takeover of the Medicaid administration, the line item vetoes on educational spending, his unilateral closing of the mental health facilities, his squandering of state dollars on Orascom and many lesser manifestations of his disdain for our form of government must be stopped in his last couple of years.

We need to put the legislature in the hands of Democrats. At a minimum we need to keep at least the senate in Democratic hands. If control is shifted to Republicans in both houses with Branstad as governor, we can expect a headlong rush into becoming the next Kansas or Wisconsin. Both of those states have seen budgets drained to give huge tax cuts to the rich causing schools to close and jobs to go elsewhere. Both are considered to be Republican success stories because the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting screwed.

———————————————————

How about the environment? As I write it is a Friday morning in late September and the overnight low temperature is warmer than the average daily high should be. The temperature is much more like late July or early August. The earth has just come off the two hottest months ever. The year will be, unless a sudden ice age breaks out, the hottest ever by far. Yet our congress sits hogtied thanks to bribes, yes bribes, from the fossil fuel industries. Congress critters like Grassley, King, Blum and Young are more than happy to sell off our lives for a few silver shekels.

Even as torrential rains flood northern Iowa and make it difficult to get crops in, Republicans deny, deny, deny climate change handhold their hands out.

——————————————————————————

Republicans claim to be the party of foreign policy. Mike Pence says Dick Cheney is his role model. Hey, Pence, two words about Cheney: “Valerie Plame.” Maybe Pence just admires the way Cheney made hundreds of millions as his (Cheney’s) company (Haliburton) scored major government contracts due to the war (Iraq) that Cheney helped start. For a Republican that must be admirable.

——————————————————————

Another morning that I turn on WSUI as we breakfast. Two minutes in and I am wondering if I am listening to FOX and shut it off. NPR anymore sounds like a stenographer for Republicans. Nothing else in my range is worth listening to. So the demise of NPR makes all the radios I own worthless. We already have one internet radio. Looks like we will need another soon. Hopefully low power FM KICI will be starting up soon, but we may be too far out to get them over the air.

——————————————————————

The chances of being killed by the dreaded refugee terrorist? 1 in 3.64 billion. The chances of getting killed by almost any other means is far greater. I am not telling you to not be scared of getting killed by a refugee terrorist. What I am telling you is that if you are scared of the refugee terrorist then you should hide yourself in a closet, roll into a ball and shiver from fear because so many things in daily life are more likely to kill you. And demand your Republican candidate protect you from the dangers of guns, water, electricity and all the other killers out there.

———————————————————

And once more, working people have been snookered out of real discussions on income inequality. From the early days of this campaign when an old guy from Vermont caught fire talking about real life economic issues to today when the corporate owned and controlled media have all but disappeared the issue. Clinton adopted many of Bernie Sanders positions on economic issues but even when she makes a major economic address our media ignores it and concentrates on her health, bogus email story or bogus charity story.

Our media also pretends that Trump has economic policies that will help workers when in truth his policies make current conditions much worse for workers. Lesson? People are easily fooled.

————————————————————

Lastly, once more we are seeing the effects of money, money, money. Money = power = bad policies. It is a never ending cycle. It is depressing. I have never heard of a solution for this that won’t be reject by those in power and who have the money to buy power. Very depressing.

—————————————————————

Early voting starts Thursday. We plan our biennial trip to the county courthouse to vote that day. I do not want to take any chance that one of us will be sick or get called out of town or any one of a number things that may cause us to miss voting on November 8th. This one is too important.

And…. Progress Iowa puts up a website to help voters find out how to vote early.

video – 30 seconds:

Progress Iowa Asks Legislators: Do You Support Trump?


(Keith Olbermann returns with twice weekly commentary on GQ until the election – 17 minutes)

Progress Iowa asked Iowa legislators whether or not supported Republican nominee Donald Trump in this election. Why should this be an issue in state races?

They explain the reasoning in this news release:

Which Iowa Republican Legislators Stand With Trump?

Progress Iowa Calls On Republicans To Clarify Their Position On Their Party’s Nominee, Launches New Website: dotheystandwithtrump.com

Des Moines, Iowa – With the Republican Party nominating one of the most divisive, bigoted candidates for president of all time, Progress Iowa believes it is important to know whether Iowa Republicans stand with Donald Trump this year. While Republican leaders like Terry Branstad, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have embraced Trump, many state legislators have been notably quiet on the topic.

So we asked them. In late August Progress Iowa emailed every Iowa legislator, asking them whether they stand with Donald Trump’s candidacy. We compiled their responses on our new website, www.dotheystandwithtrump.com.

“Many Iowa Republicans were apparently too afraid to respond to our very simple question of whether they support their presidential nominee,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “We believe Iowans deserve to know if their legislator supports Donald Trump, a man who has repeatedly made racist, xenophobic and misogynistic statements.”

All Democratic state senators and representatives were confirmed as opposing Trump’s candidacy, as provided by a statement by their caucus. Only one Republican representative, Ralph Watts of Adel, responded, but did not clearly state whether he supported Trump or not. David Johnson was marked as opposing Trump due to his past statements.

Concerned voters can use Progress Iowa’s new website to further ask their local legislator whether or not they support Trump for President:
www.dotheystandwithtrump.com.

Pretty well lays it out. What is amazing is that nearly 100% of Republican legislators refused to respond. Makes you wonder why you should vote for them for state leadership positions when they are too scared to answer whether or not they support a person whose personal qualities are such that most folks would not hire him as counter help in their business.

So Republican Iowa legislators fear to respond because if they do they will alienate one of two groups. Should they respond and say they don’t support Trump, they could easily alienate the racist, misogynist and xenophobic voters that are the core of Trump’s support.

Should they respond and say they do support Trump they admit they support his divisive rhetoric and the constant lies. Supporting Trump should alienate those who believe that the character of the leader is their most important asset. Trump comes up woefully short in this aspect.

By not answering they should alienate both camps. Donald Trump’s character is one of the very central issues of this campaign. Do you believe we should have a person who is a bully, a racist, a misogynist , a xenophobe, who facts are often based on internet rumors and who makes decisions not based on reality but on gut feelings? If you can’t answer that question, it tells most people that you yourself are unwilling to make decisions that may be tough.

The Republican party selected Trump to lead their party. Why are Iowa Republican legislators afraid to say whether they support him?

Remember that David Johnson of Ocheydon faced reality and put his country first when he stated back in June that he would not support Trump. Why is it so difficult for other Republican legislators to stand up and repudiate such behavior? Would they not correct such behavior in their children or would they encourage it?

Iowa Senate Democrats Hold Hearings On Medicaid Mess

Iowa Capitol

Iowa Capitol

Who can forget what a huge hurry Gov. Branstad was in to turn Medicaid administration over to privatized companies last summer and fall despite warnings that the companies were in no way ready. He couldn’t wait to hand out taxpayer money over to his cronies. Now we are approximately 4 months into Branstad’s ridiculous experiment in taking something that works and making it not work.

This may be what Republicans call a success, but for thousands of Iowans including hundreds of providers it is a disaster. These are real people we are talking about who have pain and who have medical conditions that need attending to. But to Republicans they just seem to be part of their social experiment of making a buck off of everything.

Here are the videos of the hearings held in Des Moines Monday August 29th. They are long but quite informative:

1) Listening Post part 1 (60 minutes)

2) Listening Post part 2 (51 minutes)

3) Oversight Hearing part 1 (58 minutes) – Actual meeting starts @8 minutes in.


Note: Documents mentioned in this video can be found at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees…

4) Oversight Hearing part 2 (2 hours 35 minutes)

Iowa Democratic State Senators Holding Hearings On Medicaid System.

Iowa Capitol

Iowa Capitol

Below are four reminders on upcoming Medicaid happenings.

We hope you find this information helpful.

You can follow our Medicaid efforts at www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats/Medicaid.

–Iowa Senate Democrats Staff

P.S. If you know somebody who’d like to receive these updates on Iowa Medicaid, they can subscribe at www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats/medicaid/subscribe.

***********************************************************************
1. Medicaid listening post is Monday morning at the Statehouse.

Many Iowans have signed up to share their experiences with Iowa’s transition to private Medicaid at a listening post on Monday, Aug. 29. This meeting will run from 9:30 to 11:30 AM in room 116. Medicaid members and providers will have three minutes to tell their stories to legislators and the public.

The meeting will be livestreamed at bit.ly/IowaSenateLive and available to view later at www.youtube.com/user/iowasenate.

2. The “Health Policy Oversight Committee” meets Monday afternoon at the Statehouse.

The Legislature’s “Health Policy Oversight Committee” will meet on Monday, Aug. 29, in Room 103 from 12:30 to 4:30 PM. The meeting will provide updates on Iowa’s transition to private Medicaid (including public input, billing, payments and more) from the Department of Human Services, the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee and Managed Care Organizations.

The meeting will be livestreamed at bit.ly/IowaSenateLive and available to view later at www.youtube.com/user/iowasenate.

3. DHS is hosting public input meetings on Medicaid.

The Iowa Department of Human Services is holding public listening sessions on Iowa Health Link, the state’s new managed care program. The schedule for upcoming sessions is listed below. For more information, go to https://dhs.iowa.gov/iahealthlink/IHL-Public-Comment-Meetings.

Date Time City Venue
September 14, 3 to 5 p.m. Waterloo Hawkeye Community College
Tama Hall Room 102
1501 E. Orange Rd.
Waterloo, IA 50704

October 11, 3 to 5 p.m. Sioux City Western Iowa Tech Community College
Cargill Auditorium (D103)
4647 Stone Ave.
Sioux City, IA 51106

November 17, 3 to 5 p.m. Ottumwa Bridge View Center
Room C4 & C5
102 Church St.
Ottumwa, IA 52501

December 7, 3 to 5 p.m. Des Moines Des Moines Central Library
Meeting Room
1000 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50309

4. Annual provider training sessions.

The 2016 Annual Provider Training through the Iowa Department of Human Services will focus on the IA Health Link transition to managed care. Training sessions will be facilitated by the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise and will include representatives from the three MCOs.

The free provider education sessions will be offered in 11 communities throughout the state, with Professional and Institutional training in the mornings. Afternoon training will be for Long Term Care and Home & Community-Based Services.

The MCOs will present information on subjects of interest based on provider feedback. Each session will include an update from IME, followed by detailed presentations from the MCOs, and a question and answer time. Each MCO will have staff available before and after to answer individual questions from providers.

The schedule for upcoming sessions is listed below. Space is limited. For complete details and to register, go to https://dhs.iowa.gov/ime/Providers/tools-trainings-and-services/ATRegistration/APT2016

Date City Venue
8/29/2016 – Mason City – Northern Iowa Area Community College

8/30/2016 – Storm Lake – Buena Vista University

8/31/2016 – Cedar Rapids- Kirkwood Community College

9/1/2016 – Waterloo – Hawkeye Community College

9/6/2016 – Dubuque – Grand River Center

9/7/2016 – Ottumwa – Bridge View Center

9/8/2016 – Burlington – Burlington Memorial Auditorium

9/12/2016 – Sioux City – Sioux City Convention Center

9/13/2016 – Council Bluffs – Iowa Western Community College

9/14/2016 – Bettendorf – Scott Community College

Board Of Regents Mess Typical For Branstad Administration

King Terry the first

For the second time in two years one of Iowa’s major universities is looking for a new president. After last year’s fiasco in the hiring of businessman Bruce Herrald to head the University of Iowa three Democratic state senators have stepped up to try to step in before the Board of Regents derails the normal process as they did last year.

UNI President Bill Ruud announced he was leaving speculation immediately began on whether filling his post would be another adventure in railroading in a hand picked replacement rather than going through the normal competitive process for picking a replacement. Iowa deserves to have the best leaders it can get for its major colleges. That can only happen through a true competitive process that the Board of regents short circuited in last year’s hiring.

State senators Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, where UNI is located, Brian Schoenjahn of Arlington and Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids have stepped up to remind the Board of Regents that the process is supposed to be conducted in the open and is to be competitive.

Once again we have a Branstad set of appointees ignoring the rules and going off their own way. What’s to stop them? There seems to be little if any consequence to ignoring rules and laws if you’re a member of the Branstad administration. Total lack of accountability. Anybody remember when Republicans preached accountability from sunrise to sunset? That wasn’t meant for them just you and I average folks.

Over at the Des Moines Register, Christopher Martin penned a scathing editorial on the Board of Regents lack of accountability. Martin lays out the cronyism involved in the current Board of regents in a very clear way:

* According to Politico, Rastetter recruited Terry Branstad for his return run for governor in 2010 and was his top donor at more than $160,000. The year after Branstad’s election, Rastetter got his six-year appointment to the board.

* State law requires that not more than five of the nine members of the Iowa Board of Regents be from the same political party. The board’s “current mix of five Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat on the board,” meets the legal requirements, but does little to dispel the appearance of intentional partisanship.

* As a regent, Rastetter partnered with ISU to develop land in Tanzania that would have benefited his company. ISU dropped out of the project in 2012 “in the face of mounting criticism,” the AP reported.

* The board hired Bruce Harreld, the least qualified of University of Iowa presidential candidates. The hiring process, which favored Harreld and lacked transparency, is now subject to at least two lawsuits.


This whole article is well worth a couple of readings to fully digest the crap and corruption going on in the Board of Regents.

Unfortunately this is only another log on the fire of corruption and usurpation of power that has come to be the cornerstone of the current Branstad stint in office. Cutting budgets for our (yes our) public school system; cutting money to feed the needy; closing the juvenile school at Tama without following rules and then doing the same with Iowa’s mental health facilities at Mount Pleasant and Clarinda; privatizing our Medicaid system and doing so in such a hurry that it is creating a crisis of health care for its clients and suppliers.

Speaking of the privatization – let us say rather profitization – of Medicaid, once again Democratic state senators are trying to jump in to mitigate the damage being done by Branstad’s out of control administration.

Another hearing is scheduled for next Monday, August 29th. If you know anyone who has been involved in the medicaid transition mess, please contact the senate committee conducting the hearing using the form on this web page.

We will publish a reminder next week of this committee meeting.

When you hear politicians talking about corruption and cronyism one need only cast their eyes to Des Moines. Iowa was once the very epitome of what good government meant. Today we are just one of many states run by Republican governors whose goal seems to be to funnel as much money and power to his buddies as he can while in office. We are fortunate that Iowa has a Democratic senate or it would be much worse. One only need cast their eyes to Wisconsin or Kansas to get an idea what damage can be doe with both houses of the legislature controlled by Republicans coupled with a Republican governor.

There is only one way to stop Branstad’s power grab – that is by voting. Vote out those who support such corruption, vote in those who oppose it. In this year’s election that is as easy as red and blue. Republicans support Branstad in these endeavors whereas Democrats will oppose him as noted in the two instances above.

Democratic State Senators To Hold Medicaid Hearings

Iowa Capitol

Iowa Capitol

On Monday, August 29, Iowans can share their experiences with Medicaid privatization with legislators from 9:30 to 11:30 AM in Room 103 at the Iowa Statehouse.

To participate, sign up using this online form: http://interspire.iowasdc.info/surveys.php?id=31

Speakers will have three minutes to tell legislators and the public about their experiences. The meeting will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/IowaSenateLive.

The listening post is sponsored by the Democratic members of the Legislature’s Health Policy Oversight Committee. The entire committee will meet later that day from 12:30 to 4:30 PM in that same room.

Health Policy Oversight Committee meets Aug. 29
During the 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature, a compromise between the House and Senate created the “Health Policy Oversight Committee.” On Monday, August 29, this committee will meet in Room 103 at the Iowa Statehouse from 12:30 to 4:30 PM.

Here’s the agenda: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/meetings/agenda?meetingID=20356

The meeting will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/IowaSenateLive.

Health care providers say Medicaid privatization means fewer services, higher costs
A new survey has found Iowa Medicaid providers are still struggling with Governor Branstad’s privatization plan, which began earlier this year.

Providers say the privatization plan has led to increased costs, has reduced services for clients, and has even forced them to borrow money because they are not being paid on time.

Read more at: http://iowahouse.org/provider-survey/

Video of the July 26 meeting of the Senate Human Resources Committee

Complete morning session: https://youtu.be/EZdFJm_xZlA
Complete afternoon session: https://youtu.be/zRyvv3gRcY8
Documents mentioned in this meeting can be found at: http://bit.ly/Iowa-Senate-Youtube-Documents
The information for each video includes a list of speakers and direct links to their comments.