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Iowa Legislature

Sen. Hogg: Branstad Scandal Update

Video about 8 minutes long.  4/23/14

Iowans Speak About How Medical Cannabis Helped Them

With signs posted in the background, “Cannabis is medicine” and “Sick people are not criminals,” brave Iowans tell their stories.

 

Gronstal: Iowans Are Getting Screwed

“I cannot condemn in more firm words the actions of the Director to instruct administrative judges to screw Iowans out of their benefits. Of course our caucus is behind this.”

Blips On The Legislative Radar Screen

Iowa Capitol

Iowa Capitol

During the second session of the 85th Iowa General Assembly, it appears legislators have been getting along swimmingly. The budget number was agreed behind closed doors, in what seems like record time. And if supplemental state aid for our schools wasn’t agreed within 30 days of the governor’s budget proposal, as required by state law… well, the school districts are getting used to that and it was a minor bump on the road to the 2014 midterms.

There were a few blips on the radar. There was the failed telemedicine bill, which passed the House, but from the beginning had no chance in the Iowa Senate. There was HF 2381, the gun suppression bill, that also passed the House with some progressive legislators, notably Rep. Mary Wolfe of Clinton, voting for it. It’s hope ended when Senator Rob Hogg, chair of the judiciary committee, said he didn’t plan to take up any gun legislation this session. In a bicameral legislature, where the consent of both chambers is required, any citizen who was taught the basics of our government should have known these bills were going nowhere, even if they piqued some interest in the media and among the uneducated. A basic lack of understanding of how government works could explain why these bills moved at all.

Is hope for the right wingers lost?

To get an answer, I went to Google and came up with an Iowa Gun Owners alert dated March 13 calling for gun owners to contact their state representative and ask for a vote on House File 2284, which, according to their web site is the “Constitutional Carry” bill that would make firearms permits optional in the state of Iowa. “The Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen. He, above all the rest, can move bills at his leisure,” the author wrote. “Let him know that you’re tired of the excuses, the rhetoric, and the inaction. Tell him now is the time to move this legislation forward,” he added.

If the bill missed the second funnel, can it still move? The answer is yes by invoking House Rule 60 which under certain conditions, including a super majority of 60 House members in favor, could suspend the rules for a vote.

If we go into the wayback machine, it is a short trip to 2010 when Republicans wanted to recruit seven Democrats to vote with them to invoke Rule 60 and advance a bill that would allow the people of Iowa to vote on an amendment to the state’s constitution that would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The measure failed.

Fast forward to 2011, when former Representative Kim Pearson mounted an attempt to force a vote by using Rule 60, to give fetuses the full rights of U.S. citizens. She was unable to muster her own caucus around the failed effort.

So what is the point of this Republican madness? Don’t ask me. I am a progressive. It may have something to do with the low regard the Republican House leadership holds for moving on supplemental state aid for our schools.

In any case, have we heard the last of guns, gays and abortion as the 85th Iowa General Assembly fades into the history books? I don’t know that either, but rest assured, it is not too late for them to appear on the radar. If they do, one hopes the people of Iowa realize that elections matter, and are willing to roll up their sleeves and clean out the clown car that the Iowa House of Representatives will have become under Speaker Paulsen.

Elections matter. However, what matters more is the results produced for all of the people of Iowa. The special interest legislation mentioned above represents the nadir of social progress, something that matters to each of us, regardless of political party. We can all do better.

Day 28: Iowa House Republicans Continue To Break The Law

progress iowa
www.ProgressIowa.org

For Immediate Release: March 12th, 2014

Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530

Day 28: House Republicans continue to break the law by refusing to fund Iowa schools

House leadership’s 28-day delinquency prompts two questions:

1. Why do they continue to break the law by refusing to pass school funding legislation?

2. Why do they believe a child in Iowa is worth less than a child anywhere else in America?

Des Moines, Iowa — Twenty eight days have passed since Republicans in the Iowa House of Representatives violated their statutory responsibility to pass allowable growth funding for public schools in the 2015 school year.

“For twenty eight days, House Republicans have broken the law by not funding our schools,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Blocking another debate on school funding was just the latest example of their disregard for the law and Iowa’s schoolchildren. Iowa spends $1,500 less than the national average per pupil on public education, so our schools need these resources now more than ever. We deserve to know why Speaker Paulsen, Majority Leader Upmeyer, and House Republicans continue to break the law, and why they believe a child in Iowa is worth $1,500 less than a child anywhere else in America.”

The deadline to increase funding for the 2015 school year was Thursday, February 13th. Since that date the House has refused to debate any legislation to increase school funding, including one proposal passed by the Senate that would increase K-12 budgets by six percent. Yesterday the House again rejected a debate on an increase in school funding passed by the Senate well before the February 13th deadline.

Also yesterday, the Senate Standing Education Committee amended and passed House File 2194 to keep the current law requiring school funding to be set every year within 30 days of the submission of the Governor’s budget. In addition, school funding for the 2015 school year was incorporated into the bill at the same six percent level which the Iowa Senate passed earlier this session within the legal requirements of the law.

98 percent of school administrators oppose the House Republicans plan to wait, as Iowa schools are woefully underfunded. Iowa schools are funded at $1,500 less per pupil than the national average, and an increasing number of students attending Iowa public schools live in or on the brink of poverty.

More than 1,700 have signed a Progress Iowa petition to House leadership asking them to fund our schools. To view the petition, visit http://act.progressiowa.org/letter/fundourschools.

###

Background:

Associated Press: School funding for 2015 again shot down by House
http://www.kcrg.com/home/top-9/School-Funding-For-2015-Again-Shot-Down-By-House-249865411.html

Annual Condition of Education Report: 41% of public school students eligible for free or reduced price lunches, up from 27% a decade ago https://www.educateiowa.gov/article/2014/01/15/annual-condition-education-report-available

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Senate passes future 6 percent state aid hike http://thegazette.com/2014/02/05/senate-passes-future-6-percent-state-aid-hike-for-iowa-schools/

Radio Iowa: Democrats say Iowa below national average on school spending http://www.radioiowa.com/2014/01/25/democrats-say-iowa-below-national-average-on-school-spending/

Divided Iowa Legislature Likely To Silence HF 2381

Iowa Capitol

Iowa Capitol

DES MOINES— Yesterday the Iowa House of Representatives passed HF 2381, a bill that adds a section to existing Iowa Code that provides “any person, trust, corporation or other entity may possess a firearm suppressor if the firearm suppressor is registered and possessed in compliance with federal law and regulations.” The vote was 83-16.

“Another bill I am working on is to allow Iowans the opportunity to own a firearm suppressor,” said Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) in a newsletter. “As I have said before, law abiding citizens are just that, law abiding. We should be allowing Iowans to exercise their rights to the greatest degree possible and not be imposing burdensome restrictions on their Constitutional rights.”

“We’ll take a look at that but it’s my plan not to take up any firearm legislation this year,” said State Senator Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids), chairman of the senate judiciary committee, in response to news of the bill’s passing.

So is the cycle in a divided legislature. One chamber proposes, and the other moderates. Here is how house members voted.

HF 2381

HF 2381

No Republican Support For Medical Marijuana In Iowa

Thanks for trying Senator Bolkcom.

MEMO: Legislative Inaction

progress iowa
“The Republicans who run your Iowa House say they won’t approve public school funding for the 2015-2016 school year, even though the law requires it.”

MEMO

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa Executive Director
DATE: February 14th, 2014

RE: Iowa’s ‘House of Distractions’

The Iowa legislature failed to meet a crucial deadline yesterday, when they were supposed to approve K-12 funding for the 2015-2016 school year.

Securing that funding in advance is even more crucial now, as our schools are funded at $1,500 lower per pupil than the national average, and more and more students are living in or on the brink of poverty. Those students count on our public schools for opportunity, and rely on our elected officials for leadership.

Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a 6% funding increase for next year, meeting their obligation to our students and restoring critical funding for our schools. Unfortunately, the Iowa House of Representatives refused to consider any increase and did almost everything except fund our schools during the past week, turning themselves into the Iowa House of Distractions.

What has the House of Distractions been doing, if not following the law and funding our schools? Here are a few of the issues they chose to focus on this week:

Comparing guns to hot dogs: Rep. Matt Windschitl, debating HJR4, compared gun deaths to deaths caused by… hot dogs. If we regulate guns, we might as well regulate hot dogs.

Restricting access to women’s health care:
The House passed a bill banning the use of so-called telemedicine delivery systems for medication abortion, restricting access for women primarily in rural areas. They did this despite the fact that as access and education about abortion has increased, the rate has decreased.

Listening to the extreme right on education:
In a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Sandy Salmon, only right wing experts were heard, including a self-proclaimed author of template legislation for ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. No parents, teachers, or students were listed as invited participants.

Email sent by Rep. Sandy Salmon; emphasis/highlight added, 2/9/14:

From: “Salmon, Sandy [LEGIS]”

Date: February 9, 2014 at 6:30:35 AM CST

Subject: testimony for subcommittee

Thank you for serving on a subcommittee with me that will look at issues related to the Common Core.

I wanted to give you the heads up that some speakers will be coming from out-of-town to give testimony at the subcommittee meeting. They are the following people:

Jane Robbins J.D., senior fellow at the American Principles Project, whose work includes education policy, student privacy and parental rights issues. Ms. Robbins has drafted state legislation on educational transparency and sovereignty that has led to a parallel resolution by the South Carolina Southern Baptist Convention, model ALEC legislation, and emulated legislation in several states.

Henry Burke of Omaha, Nebraska, is a Civil Engineer with a B.S.C.E. and M.S.C.E. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) for 37 years and has worked as a Civil Engineer in construction for over 40 years. Mr. Burke had a successful 27-year career with a large construction company.

Henry Burke serves as a full-time volunteer to oversee various construction projects. He has written numerous articles on education, engineering, construction, politics, taxes, and the economy including state specific costs for the implementation of Common Core / Iowa Core.

Bruno Behrend, J.D. is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute in Chicago. The mission of the Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

Thank you for helping to look into this and we’ll see you this coming week!

Sincerely,
Sandy Salmon
State Representative Iowa House District 63

Following only the laws they choose to follow: After failing to meet the school funding deadline set by state law, the Iowa House passed a bill changing state law, meaning they could delay funding. One Representative who opposed the change asked “so you’re going to pick and choose which laws you follow?”

None of these proposals are expected to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate. All of these proposals serve only as a distraction from the real responsibilities of the Iowa House, the first of which is funding our schools. While they should have been working toward better opportunities for Iowa students, they instead chose to spend time on distractions.

More than 1,700 have petitioned House leadership to fund our schools. School administrators oppose their funding delay by a 98 percent margin. It’s time the leadership in the Iowa House of Representatives start leading and stop distracting. They should put an end to the House of Distractions and get to work.

HouseOfDistractionsShare

Bolkcom Calls On Iowa GOP To Join Fight For Minimum Wage

 

Why Pets Need Protection In Domestic Violence Situations

cat and dogSo often, abusers also abuse pets. Abusers often threaten to injure or kill a pet to control the victim and keep her from leaving.

There is a bill in the senate that not only offers protections for pets it helps people because it makes it easier to leave, knowing you can protect your pet. Currently, a protective order can protect you, your children, your car and other possessions, but not a pet.

Please contact your senator if you are in support of this bill.  Here is the wording for SF 177.   http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=true&ga=85&hbill=SF177   

The bill was introduced by Senators Beall, Bolkcom, Hogg, Dvorsky, Dotzler, Seng, Petersen, Hart, Horn, Dearden, Ragan, McCoy, and Quirmbach.

We hope this bill is not too “controversial” to pass this session.

from WHO-TV:

“The Iowa Senate is looking at a bill to better protect pets in domestic abuse households. The bill would make it easier for victims of domestic abuse to include their pets in a protective order.

Commercial livestock are not included under the bill, only companion pets.

Advocates say this is about people more than it is pets. According to the American Humane Association, roughly 70 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported their abuser had injured or threatened to abuse a family pet to control their victims.

Adrienne Smith has spent three years working with politicians pushing this bill forward.

Let’s make this easier for a victim to leave a dangerous relationship. Let’s give them one little thing, one law that’s going to make it easier for them to leave,” Smith said.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill last week.

There is not yet a set date for when the full Senate will take up the bill.”