mattchapman

Republicans blow a billion-dollar hole in the budget

Matt Chapman reports from today’s Iowa Senate committee hearings on a massive tax bill published the previous day. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senate Republicans dropped Senate Study Bill 3197 on February 21, scheduling a subcommittee on the tax plan first thing the following morning and a full Ways and Means Committee to consider the bill shortly after lunch. They had employed a similar shock-and-awe tactic last week to get Senate Study Bill 3193 through the legislature’s “funnel” on the last possible day. That bill, modeled after a Florida law deemed unconstitutional, called for drug testing Medicaid and food assistance (SNAP) recipients, along with quarterly instead of yearly recertification and work requirements.

In opening comments on his tax proposal, Senate Ways and Means Chair Randy Feenstra said SSB 3197 was “bold” and would save Iowans an average of $1,000 in taxes. You can watch the whole meeting on video here.

Senator Pam Jochum, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said she was looking forward to input from EMS and firefighters, among others, since this bill would end deductions. She was also concerned that there was no fiscal impact statement and wanted to be sure it fit the budget. Jochum asked Feenstra if he had any data he could share.

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A life that has led to advocacy

A personal commentary by Matt Chapman to coincide with the “Day on the Hill” for our state’s National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter. NAMI Iowa’s “mission is to raise public awareness and concern about mental illness, to foster research, to improve treatment and to upgrade the system of care for the people of Iowa.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

In the last few years I have found myself politically active and seem to be trying to make up for years of not having the right to vote and taking it for granted when I did participate. I would like to share where my focus is and relate how I came to feel so intensely about these issues. You never know when you may find your voice, and if it took me until my 50s, so be it.

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The bill that was absolutely written by Jake Chapman, not MidAmerican Energy

Citizen lobbyist Matt Chapman (no relation to Senator Jake Chapman) digs into the politics behind a bill that has been called “the utility attack on Iowa’s clean energy leadership.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

The subcommittee hearing on Senate Study Bill 3093 was scheduled for room 315 on the south side of the capitol. Although it is a good-sized room, and the temperature was 15 degrees outside on February 1, lobbyists were packed in like sardines, and it was suffocating. Iowa Senate Commerce Committee vice chair Senator Michael Breitbach joked before the meeting, “if anyone passes out you can just lean on” the people crammed in next to them.

It would not be an exaggeration to say there were sixty people in that room. Seventy five even. SSB 3093 has more than a hundred lobbyist declarations already.

Committee chair Jake Chapman was late; you could hear the groans when someone said he was getting on the elevator and would be a few minutes. Chapman was seated and vice chair Breitbach was running the meeting. He said we would go through the legislation by section and would be considering only objections, because of time constraints. That suggested lobbyists backing the bill would keep quiet. It was also a clue that a trap was being set.

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Waukee's small-time controversy could be talking point for school vouchers

Matt Chapman is a concerned citizen living in Waukee. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Waukee school board approved a settlement for almost $1 million to former human resource director Terry Welker on Monday. Two other lawsuits for wrongful termination are pending and one was dismissed in 2014.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits are former district employees, who allegedly faced retaliation after reporting that Chief Operating Officer Eric Rose had used school property at home, allowed unauthorized individuals to use school facilities, and altered time cards.

While the crimes themselves are petty, the settlement is not and will give ammunition to lawmakers with an appetite to re-write Iowa’s education system.

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Waukee School Board to approve wrongful termination settlement (updated)

Matt Chapman is a concerned citizen living in Waukee. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Waukee School Board is set to approve a wrongful termination settlement at its January 22 meeting. Although the agenda does not name the case or provide details, a source with knowledge of the situation indicates that the district will settle with Terry Welker, who was human resources director for the Waukee Community School District until his job was eliminated.

Welker’s lawsuit was one of at least four charging that staff who filed complaints against Chief Operating Officer Eric Rose had their jobs cut or their duties assigned to less experienced employees, among other retaliations.

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Facts matter, but not if they fall on deaf ears

Matt Chapman’s advice to activists engaging with potential allies on the left: “If your conversation starts out by denigrating someone they worked hard for, you can’t expect them to listen.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

I have read quite a bit and have noted a few workshops on how to talk across the aisle. A lot of folks who canvass or have political conversations to influence voting habits focus on talking to others on the political left, since trying to convince hard-right voters seems like a waste of time.

The strategy for trying to break through to Republicans was to take the facts out of the conversation and focus on the morality of positions. The idea was that people who hold Christian values as their moral compass should be persuadable on issues such as poverty, bigotry, and a host of other issues.

I want to focus on how we communicate on the left from moderate Democrats to progressives and other allied parties, including the Green and Socialist parties as well as independents all across the spectrum.

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