[Bleeding Heartland Logo]

About
Bleeding Heartland is a community blog about Iowa politics: campaigns and elections, state government, social and environmental issues. Bleeding Heartland also weighs in on presidential policies and campaigns, federal legislation and what the Iowans in Congress are up to. Join our community, post your thoughts as comments or diaries, help keep our leaders honest and hold them accountable.
Author
- desmoinesdem
Highlights
- Iowa politics in 2008
- Iowa politics in 2009 (1)
- Iowa politics in 2009 (2)
- National politics in 2009 (1)
- National politics in 2009 (2)
- Iowa 2012 election coverage
- Who's who in the Iowa House for 2013
- Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2013
- Iowa wildflowers
2014 Election Coverage
- IA-Sen
- IA-Gov
- IA-01
- IA-02
- IA-03
- IA-04
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of State
- State Auditor
- Iowa Senate overview
- Iowa House overview
- Senate district 5
- Senate district 7
- Senate district 9
- Senate district 13
- Senate district 15
- Senate district 17
- Senate district 27
- Senate district 39
- Senate district 41
- Senate district 47
- Senate district 49
- House district 25
- House district 28
- House district 33 (2013)
- House district 51
- House district 60
- House district 65
- House district 68
- House district 73
- House district 91
- House district 92
- House district 95
- House district 99
Search




Advanced Search


Paid Advertising


Bleeding Heartland
It's what plants crave.
Bob Dvorsky

Don't RAPE REAP

by: Supervisor Brent Oleson

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 18:12:24 PM CDT

(The author has been a Linn County Supervisor since 2009 and previously worked with the Iowa Senate Minority leader. Bleeding Heartland discussed the bipartisan effort to increase REAP funding to $25 million here. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I'm gonna go on a rant...about an attempted RAPE.

Yes, I mean every word and hyperbole I'm uttering on this post. REAP (Resource Enhancement & Protection) is being RAPED! For Agriculture...by agri-business...to correct it's mistakes in a supposedly free and private market of farming. How is this rape of taxpayer funds and DNR license plate fees occurring and for what specifically? Read on My friends. 

The Iowa House of Representatives wants to put REAP dollars toward... agri-terrace projects, forestry management (subject to logging), and water nutrient pollution clean-up programs because farmland soil is laden with fertilizer chemicals. These are all worthy issues to be addressed on their own I say, and should indeed be addressed and monies put toward mitigation efforts. The Iowa Dept. Of Ag has jurisdiction on all these problems, and they should since their policies and practices created them in the first place.

This isn't an indictment of farmers, because most are great conservationists of their own free will as it's good business and good citizenship. I commend those Iowa farmers, especially my Linn County ones, who work hard to be responsible neighbors, citizens and conservationists...voluntarily I might add! But I don't give a pass to bad apples, policy-makers, or special interest Ag industry lobbyists.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 807 words in story)

Bipartisan push underway to increase Iowa REAP funding

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 17:44:07 PM CDT

Iowa's Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Among the most successful conservation initiatives in Iowa history, REAP has cumulatively distributed about $300 million to thousands of projects across the state. It is mostly funded through gaming revenues that go into the state's Environment First Fund. In theory, REAP "is authorized to receive $20 million per year until 2021," but the state legislature has never fully funded REAP to the authorized level. This year's budget included $16 million for REAP, and Governor Terry Branstad kept that item at the same level in his draft budget for fiscal year 2015.

Today about three dozen non-profit organizations gathered at the State Capitol for the annual Environmental Lobby Day organized by the Iowa Environmental Council. I attended the event because I'm active in the IEC and in several of its member organizations. At a press conference organized by the IEC, four speakers emphasized the need to increase conservation funding: Republican State Senator David Johnson, Democratic State Senator Bob Dvorsky, Iowa Natural Resource Commission Chair Margo Underwood, and Rod Marlatt, executive director of the Fayette County Conservation Board. Dvorsky particularly emphasized his goal to secure $25 million in funding for REAP in the coming fiscal year, in honor of the program's 25th anniversary.

Because REAP-supported projects are often popular locally, the program has mostly escaped the partisan divisions that have led to the demise of some state initiatives. Today the Iowa House approved a resolution celebrating the 25th anniversary of REAP. Remarkably, 96 of the 100 state representatives co-sponsored this resolution, which House Democrat Chuck Isenhart proposed. Now that they're on record agreeing, "Iowans strongly believe that the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program is a successful venture worthy of the continued support of the General Assembly," let's hope they will put a lot of money where their mouths are. The $25 million in REAP funding has an excellent chance of clearing the Iowa Senate, since Dvorsky chairs the Appropriations Committee. Will the Iowa House go along? The many state lawmakers who spoke with Environmental Lobby Day exhibitors today included House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and several members of the House Appropriations Committee.

After the jump I've posted background on the REAP program from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website, including a map showing how much REAP funding has gone to each of Iowa's 99 counties. I also enclosed a press release from the Iowa Environmental Council, with highlights from speakers at the conservation rally.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 619 words in story)

IA-Gov: Hatch rolls out campaign, Olson rolls out endorsements (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 14:19:52 PM CDT

State Senator Jack Hatch made his candidacy for governor official in Des Moines this morning, en route to campaign stops in five other Iowa cities. A few days ago, State Representative Tyler Olson sought to build momentum by revealing a long list of state lawmakers who support his gubernatorial campaign.

After the jump I've posted Hatch's announcement, the full list of Iowa House and Senate Democrats backing Olson, and a few thoughts on the big question each candidate will have to answer before next June's primary.

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 2326 words in story)

Department of Public Safety chief resigns; Branstad brings back Larry Noble

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:54:43 AM CDT

Governor Terry Branstad accepted Brian London's resignation last night as head of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. This morning the governor announced that he is reappointing former State Senator Larry Noble to the position. Noble served as Department of Public Safety commissioner from January 2011 until June 2012.

Follow me after the jump for background on London's short and rocky tenure.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1051 words in story)

IA-Gov: Bob Dvorsky is third senator to endorse Tyler Olson

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 09:15:00 AM CDT

It's been a banner week for State Representative Tyler Olson. Not only did the top two Iowa Senate Democrats both rule out running for governor, Olson gained public support from State Senator Bob Dvorsky. He posted on Facebook last night, "I'm not just endorsing Tyler, but the idea of creating a new vision for Iowa that will lead our state into the next 30 years of innovation and prosperity." Dvorsky's wife, Sue Dvorsky, preceded Olson as Iowa Democratic Party chair and "enthusiastically" endorsed his candidacy a few weeks ago. Olson also has the backing of State Senator Janet Petersen, with whom he served in the Iowa House, and State Senator Rob Hogg, whom he has known for the last decade, as well as several Iowa House Democrats.

The endorsements for Olson are a bit awkward for State Senator Jack Hatch, who hasn't secured the public support of any fellow legislators as he explores a gubernatorial campaign.

I understand jumping on board with a candidate you believe in, but at the same time, I feel that a Democratic establishment stampede to any candidate (as happened with Brad Anderson's secretary of state campaign) is premature when the field isn't even set. In addition to Olson and Hatch, former State Representative Bob Krause is running for governor, and State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald hasn't ruled out the race. The Iowa Democratic Party would benefit from at least one spirited statewide primary contest next spring, especially since the U.S. Senate race is just a coronation on our side.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. After the jump I've posted Olson's first campaign video, a biographical piece released online last week.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 5 words in story)

Analysis of the Obama-Romney vote in the Iowa Senate districts

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:57:01 AM CDT

The Daily Kos Elections team has been compiling 2012 presidential election results by state legislative district as well as by Congressional district. Yesterday the Iowa numbers were added to the database. You can view Google documents with raw vote totals and percentages for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney by Iowa Congressional district here, by Iowa Senate district here, and by Iowa House district here.

Looking closely at the presidential vote in the legislative districts provides some insight about where the competitive Iowa statehouse races might be next year. After the jump I've highlighted some key data points related to the Iowa Senate races. Later I will post a separate diary with first thoughts about the Iowa House districts.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1676 words in story)

Last-minute Iowa legislative scramble is nothing to brag about

by: desmoinesdem

Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:30:00 PM CDT

The Iowa Senate wrapped up its work for the year shortly after midnight on May 23, and Iowa House members adjourned about 11 hours later. Lawmakers in both parties have been congratulating themselves for compromising on some big issues that ended in stalemate the previous two years. Rod Boshart compiled an excellent list of what the legislature did and didn't approve during 2013.

We all can appreciate the desire to finish a big project before a holiday weekend, and since legislators stopped receiving per diem payments weeks ago, they understandably wanted to get out of town as quickly as possible. However, I found it disturbing that votes were held before most lawmakers, let alone members of the public, had time to digest final conference committee deals on education reform, an alternative to Medicaid expansion, property taxes, and the health and human services budget. Transparency isn't just a buzzword. Had journalists and advocacy groups been able to look over the last-minute compromises, people might have discovered problematic language or even simple drafting errors, which could produce unintended consequences after Governor Terry Branstad signs these bills into law.

I have a lot of questions about the final education reform bill and the plan to provide health insurance to low-income Iowans, particularly those earning between 101 percent and 138 percent of the poverty level. I also need more time to sort through the budget numbers and final changes to the standings bill. After the holiday weekend Bleeding Heartland will examine the important results of the legislative session in more detail. For now, I've posted after the jump details on who voted for and against the major bills approved this week.

UPDATE: In the May 24 edition of the On Iowa Politics podcast, statehouse reporters Mike Wiser and James Lynch discussed how the big issues came together "behind closed doors," with no public scrutiny or oversight. Lynch commented that to his knowledge, the conference committee named to resolve the impasse over Medicaid expansion never formally met, except perhaps for one organizational meeting. Lynch recounted one occasion when Iowa House Republican Dave Heaton was briefing journalists about the health care talks, and the journalists asked when that happened, since there hadn't been any public notices of conference committee meetings. According to Lynch, Heaton replied, "We're not having meetings, but we're meeting." Senate President Pam Jochum said that negotiations between Democratic State Senator Amanda Ragan and House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer produced the "key to Iowa's health care compromise." Notably, Upmeyer didn't have a prominent role in passing the House health insurance plan, nor was she named to the conference committee assigned to merge the House and Senate proposals.

Speaking to journalists on May 22, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Jochum weren't able to answer a specific question about compromise wording reached regarding Medicaid coverage of abortions. That was no minor issue--it was the last sticking point holding up approval of the health and human services budget. In effect, Gronstal told journalists, you can see the wording after the final bill is published.

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 277 words in story)

Another Iowa legislative victory for Big Ag

by: desmoinesdem

Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:49:00 AM CDT

Factory farm advocates failed in 2009 to circumvent the Iowa DNR's rulemaking on applying manure over frozen and snow-covered ground. Then they failed in 2010 to win passage of a bill designed to weaken Iowa's newly-adopted regulations on manure storage and application.

But this year, the Iowa Pork Producers Association succeeded in convincing state lawmakers to relax requirements for CAFO operators to be able to store their own manure properly. All they had to do was dress up their effort as an attempt to help families with aspiring young farmers.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1067 words in story)

IA-Sen: Most Democratic state legislators endorse Braley

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:10:00 AM CDT

Representative Bruce Braley's campaign for U.S. Senate rolled out its largest batch of endorsements today: 71 state legislators. All 26 Iowa Senate Democrats plus 45 of the 47 Iowa House Democrats are named in the press release I've posted after the jump. For some reason, Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy are not in this group. Murphy is running for the first Congressional district seat Braley is vacating.

Earlier this week, Braley's campaign announced that it raised more than $1 million during the first quarter. That is a solid number, and I'll be interested to see how the numbers break own (contributions from individuals vs PACs, for instance). Bleeding Heartland will publish a detailed roundup of Iowa Congressional fundraising after all the candidates have filed their reports with the Federal Election Commission. Those reports are due April 15.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 557 words in story)

Iowa Senate approves Medicaid expansion along party lines

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 12:55:00 PM CDT

Last night the Iowa Senate approved Senate File 296, a bill to expand Medicaid, on a strictly party-line vote of 26 to 23. You can listen to the entire Senate debate (approximately 90 minutes) at Radio Iowa. I've posted highlights from the debate after the jump, along with the full list of 52 organizations that have registered their support for Senate File 296. Some corporations and organizations have have registered their lobbyists as undecided on Senate File 296, but at this writing, not a single organization is registered against the Medicaid expansion.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1064 words in story)

Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2013

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 13:18:54 PM CST

The Iowa legislature's 2013 session opened today. After the jump I've posted details on the Iowa Senate majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing Senate committees. Where relevant, I've noted changes since last year. Click here for a similar post on the new Iowa House.

Democrats hold a 26 to 24 majority in the upper chamber. The huge experience gap between the Iowa Senate caucuses is striking. Only seven of the 24 Republicans have served as lawmakers in either the House or Senate for more than four years, whereas 19 of the 26 Democrats have more than four years of legislative service. Click here for details on the tenure of all 50 Iowa senators.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 3318 words in story)

Brad Anderson will challenge Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:59:12 AM CST

Barack Obama's 2012 Iowa campaign manager Brad Anderson confirmed yesterday that he plans to run against Secretary of State Matt Schultz in 2014. I hope there will be a competitive Democratic primary, because from where I'm sitting, Anderson looks like the wrong candidate for this race.

UPDATE: Added details from Anderson's formal announcement below, along with his campaign bio and a list of Democrats on his steering committee (including Senator Tom Harkin, former governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, Representatives Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, and several former chairs of the Iowa Democratic Party). Looks like there will be no competitive primary.

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 2229 words in story)

More proof smoking bans save lives

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 17:09:58 PM CST

How about a little good news on a lousy day? A new study confirms previous research, which showed public smoking bans reduce hospitalizations for heart attacks and other life-threatening problems. The Iowa Smokefree Air Act, which went into effect in July 2008, has likely prevented many premature deaths.

UPDATE: The smoking ban was controversial while it was debated in 2008. Below I've listed all of the state legislators who had the courage to send that bill to Governor Chet Culver's desk.  

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1114 words in story)

Iowa Senate Democrats announce committee chairs

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 10:20:00 AM CST

One day after a special election confirmed there will be 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans in the Iowa Senate next year, Senate Democrats released updated committee assignments. After the jump I've posted the full list of committee chairs as well as the leadership team chosen a few weeks ago. Most committees have the same leaders as in 2012, but where relevant I've noted changes.
There's More... :: (2 Comments, 982 words in story)

Huge experience gap between Iowa Senate Democrats and Republicans

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:55:00 AM CST

Democrats will hold a slim majority in the next Iowa Senate: most likely 26-24 or 27-23, depending on the outcome of one recount and one special election in December. But the experience gap between the two parties' caucuses is wider than I've ever seen, and perhaps unprecedented.

Only five Republicans who will serve in the next Iowa Senate have more than four years experience in the legislature's upper chamber. Most of the old hands aren't on the GOP leadership team. By comparison, eighteen Senate Democrats have held that office for more than four years. Thirteen of those have served in the upper chamber for at least a decade.

Many newcomers to the Iowa Senate have helped oversee public-sector budgets and programs as county supervisors, mayors, or members of city councils and school boards. Nevertheless, new legislators have a steep learning curve because state government is more complex than local government, and Iowa House and Senate members consider a wider range of issues during a typical legislative session. Whereas eleven Senate Democrats previously served in the Iowa House, only three sitting Republicans came to the Senate with that background. If the GOP had gained control of the upper chamber in this year's elections, they would have been forced to put quite a few rookies in charge of standing committees.

After the jump I've posted details on the tenure of all incoming Iowa Senate members, indicating members of each party's leadership team and past service in the Iowa House.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 327 words in story)

Notes from the Trayvon Martin rally at the Iowa Capitol

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:54:45 AM CDT

At least 200 people gathered on the west steps of the Iowa State Capitol Monday evening for a rally and vigil marking one month since Trayvon Martin's killing in Floriday. After the jump I've posted a few notes from the event, along with links about the impact of Martin's death on the debate over proposed "stand your ground" legislation in Iowa.
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2069 words in story)

Iowa Senate passes two bills favored by Big Ag (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 15:03:49 PM CST

The Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate passed two bills today favored by corporate agricultural interest groups. House File 589, the notorious "ag gag" bill, seeks to prevent whistleblowers from reporting alleged abuse at agricultural facilities. Senate File 2172 would reduce the number of sows that confined-animal feeding operations need to report for manure management purposes. Details on the bills and how senators voted are after the jump.

UPDATE: Bypassing normal legislative procedures, the Republican-controlled Iowa House also passed the "ag gag" bill on February 28. Scroll down for details on how the state representatives voted.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1686 words in story)

Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2012

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 11:41:20 AM CST

The November special election in Iowa Senate district 18 confirmed that Democrats will maintain a 26 to 24 majority in the upper chamber during the legislature's 2012 session, set to begin on January 9.

Senate Democrats and Republicans recently announced updated committee assignments. Majority and minority leadership teams are after the jump, along with all members of standing committees. I've also noted which senators are up for re-election in 2012 and which are retiring next year.

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 2897 words in story)

10 days to an Iowa government shutdown?

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:28:38 AM CDT

Iowa's current fiscal year ends on June 30, which gives Governor Terry Branstad, Republican leaders in the Iowa House and Democratic leaders in the Iowa Senate just ten days to approve a 2012 budget without disrupting state government operations. Although the parties have settled on a total spending target for the next fiscal year, they are still at odds over funding for key programs. They appear to have made no progress toward a compromise on commercial property tax reform, which Branstad demands as part of any final budget deal.

Lots of links on spending priorities, rival tax proposals and government shutdown scenarios are after the jump.

UPDATE: Scroll to the end for further details Senate Democrats released on June 20 regarding a budget compromise.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2393 words in story)

Republicans pushing new state budget package

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 10:20:50 AM CDT

With less than a month remaining until the start of the 2012 fiscal year, Iowa House Republican leaders have stepped up efforts this week to draft the two-year budget Governor Terry Branstad is demanding. Republicans have drafted an omnibus budget bill combining all the usual appropriations bills, plus a few other things on their legislative wish list. The omnibus bill includes two small gestures toward a compromise with Democrats who control the Iowa Senate. However, Senate Democrats don't sound ready to accept this package as the final work on state spending for the next two years.

Details and early reaction to this week's budget news are after the jump.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1208 words in story)
Next >>
Menu

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?


Iowa Liberal Blogs
- Ames Progressive
- Blog For Iowa
- Essential Estrogen
- Iowa .Gif-t Shop
- Iowa Independent (archive)
- Iowa Policy Points
- Iowans for a Future That Doesn't Suck
- John Deeth
Iowa Conservative Blogs
- Hawkeye GOP
- The Bean Walker
- Caffeinated Thoughts
- The Conservative Reader: Iowa
- The Iowa Republican
Journalists' blogs and research
- 24-Hour Dorman
- Cedar Rapids Gazette government page
- Iowa Fiscal Partnership
- Iowa Policy Project
- Iowa Politics Insider
- Iowa Watchdog.org
- On Brief: Iowa's Appellate Blog
- On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts
- Newton Independent (Peter Hussmann)
- Politically Speaking
- Price of Politics, etc.
- O.Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa
Iowa Democrats
- Tom Harkin (U.S. Senator)
- Bruce Braley (IA-01)
- Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
- Iowa Democratic Party
- Iowa House Democrats
- Iowa Senate Democrats
Statistics


 
Powered by: SoapBlox