Guest Columns
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Iowa has one of the best election systems in the country. We consistently rank among the top 10 states for voter registration and participation. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we set turnout records in 2020 for the June primary and November general election. Now, politicians in Washington, D.C. want to dictate to Iowa and every other state how to run elections. more
Over the past week, the Iowa House and Senate have been finalizing language on outstanding policy bills, including the Comprehensive Tax Reform bill that will bring tax relief to individuals, families, small businesses and property taxpayers. It will also increase funding for mental health, enhance the Beginner Farmer’s program, repeal the Inheritance Tax and provide incentives for quality childcare, affordable housing, and redevelopment of blighted properties; I believe this work will lead to the end of session in the next week or so. more
Gov. Kim Reynolds recently blamed “mixed messages” for the fact that demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has dropped to the point that most Iowa counties are refusing all or part of new shipments. more
With a heavy heart, I’ve followed closely the stories printed in The North Scott Press about how the community is wrestling with issues of race and privilege. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the community members (adults and kids alike) living through it. From outrage over the junior high’s response to racial bullying and a high school curriculum choice, to a quote from the county’s chief law enforcement official, in bold large print on the front page, chiding the idea that he knew at one point, criminals would be renamed victims with law enforcement as suspects, to a lead editorial partially about the “stupidity” of the movement to defund the police. All in the wake of the Derek Chauvin conviction. more
Question: Are governmental bodies required to provide video conferencing access for all meetings? more
The Senate at Work: In the Iowa Senate, week 17 focused on wrapping up priorities legislation for Iowans, confirming Governor Reynolds’ appointees and debating bills that were sent back to us from the Iowa House. more
The final days of the legislative session are like Halloween without the candy: The ghosts of dead bills start haunting the Capitol. more
This week the U.S. Census Bureau released its first round of data for the decennial census of population. The apportionment results are the total number of residents in each state and dividing it among the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Census Bureau reported that the population of Iowa for the 2020 Census was 3,190,369 residents, an increase of 144,014 residents (4.7 percent) since 2010. Iowa ranks 28th in the country for percentage change from 2010, enough to ensure that Iowa will continue to have four elected representatives in the House of Representatives. more
This week was the 16th week of this legislative session. Although April 30 was the last calendar day of the session, we are still working through policy and budget bills, so we will return to the Capitol in May to focus on accomplishing our priorities for the year, like tax relief, support for first responders and responsible budgets. more
This week, Iowa House Republicans passed House File 889, a bill to ban vaccine passports in Iowa. more
One of the first things I learned when I started covering the Iowa Legislature almost 30 years ago was the only work lawmakers really have to do is pass a budget. Everything else is optional. more
Editor’s note: Former Bellevue Herald-Leader editor Lowell Carlson spent time recently in northwestern Ontario, Canada, to write about farming north of Lake Superior. Along with coverage of dairy and local food stories, Carlson visited a regional agricultural research station where long-term studies of cold climate crops are underway. more
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