Bruce Lear

It's as bad as the voucher bill

Bruce Lear identifies problems with a charter school bill Iowa House Republicans passed on March 24. -promoted by Laura Belin

When I was a teenager, my Mom told me, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” I didn’t believe it then, but I do now. It’s especially true when the majority party tries to sneak a bad bill through the Iowa House after midnight.

That’s exactly what happened when Republicans passed House File 813, an effort to promote charter schools, with no public hearing and little public notice. This bill would change how a charter school may be started in Iowa by keeping the provision in current law allowing application to a local school board, but expanding that application process so the “founding group” may bypass the local school board and go directly to the Iowa Department of Education.

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It's all about censorship

Bruce Lear covers a bill that didn’t get much attention this week. -promoted by Laura Belin

Here is a good rule of thumb. If a state legislature tries to fool around with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it never ends well.  After all, the First Amendment is pretty clear and if there is ambiguity, we have courts to interpret.

But in their never-ending quest to break what isn’t broken, majority Republicans pushed Senate File 478 through the Iowa Senate. This bill masquerades as a free speech, but it actually penalizes professors and teachers who exercise a freedom we hold sacred.  

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It's hard to believe this legislative session is real

Bruce Lear covers some low points of this year’s Republican work in the Iowa House and Senate. -promoted by Laura Belin

Even though this Iowa legislative session may seem like a sketch from Saturday Night Live, it’s real.

But if it had a theme, it might be “Solutions in search of a problem,” or maybe “If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.”

In a legislative session this extreme, it’s really hard to focus on specific bills solving nonexistent problems, not because they are hard to find, but because there are so many.

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The deadly Trump sting

Bruce Lear: Donald Trump has already stung the GOP. But unlike the animals in a well-known fable, Republicans haven’t learned, “It’s just his nature.” -promoted by Laura Belin

As the Republican Party struggles with how to handle Donald Trump in his post-presidency, it may do well to remember the fable of the scorpion and the frog.

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Leaders need to be role models

Bruce Lear reviews Iowa Republican leaders’ latest words and actions on COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

There have always been individuals in jobs we hold to a higher standard. We expect more from them because they are in the public spotlight and have a certain prestige.

To name just a few, we expect doctors, teachers, and star athletes to serve as role models, and most of these professions follow a code of ethics. If that code is broken, the public or their employer scream foul.

I guess Iowa Republican legislators and our governor don’t consider themselves role models, or they would require masks and social distancing at the capitol. Also, their policies would protect students and educators by allowing local decision making.

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It's time for some soul searching

Bruce Lear considers what Republicans and Democrats need to reflect on as the Donald Trump presidency draws to a close. -promoted by Laura Belin

The plus-sized person began tapping on the mike in the wee hours of November 3. She broke into full-throated song on Saturday, November 7, when enough of the swing states had been called for Joe Biden.

But even after state and federal courts rejected more than 50 lawsuits, and recounts, audits, and more recounts confirmed Biden carried enough states to win the electoral college, about 30 percent of Americans still can’t wrap their mind around the fact that Donald Trump lost.

But it’s over.

Time for both the elephant and donkey to do some real soul searching.

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