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Judiciary

Branstad insists on keeping administrative law judges "at-will," easier to fire

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 03, 2015 at 10:47:23 AM CDT

Not for the first time and probably not for the last time, Governor Terry Branstad dropped a lot of line-item vetoes late in the afternoon before a holiday weekend. Early news reports are understandably focusing on the vetoes of one-time funding for K-12 education and state universities, as well as language that would have kept mental health institutions in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant open. Bleeding Heartland has a post in progress about the fallout from those actions and others, including Branstad's decision to strike language that would have expanded child care assistance.

Democratic State Representative Sharon Steckman called attention to several other line-item vetoes that flew below the radar yesterday. One of them seems particularly important, as it could put the State of Iowa at odds with U.S. Department of Labor demands to "strengthen Iowa's compliance with Federal law" and keep administrative law judges "free from actual or perceived intimidation."

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Iowa Board of Medicine not ready to face reality on telemed abortion or court appeals process

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 02, 2015 at 15:35:07 PM CDT

Nearly two weeks ago, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the state ban on using telemedicine for abortion. The unanimous decision is the end of the line for a rule the Iowa Board of Medicine adopted in the absence of medical evidence.

Yet Governor Terry Branstad isn't the only person reluctant to take the Iowa Supreme Court's no, no, no, no, no, no for an answer. Tony Leys reported for the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, "The Iowa Board of Medicine has huddled three times with its lawyers since losing a key state Supreme Court case this month, but has not yet decided whether to appeal or accept the decision."

I don't know what's more surprising: that after three meetings, those attorneys still haven't persuaded board members to quit while they're behind, or that board members who didn't participate in making the unconstitutional rule are considering hitching their wagons to this cause.

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Iowa reaction to Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Jun 27, 2015 at 06:42:23 AM CDT

In a 5-4 decision announced Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states and ordered state governments to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in the country. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v Hodges, joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer. Each of the dissenting justices wrote a separate opinion; all are available in this pdf file after Kennedy's opinion. Amy Howe explained the majority opinion in "Plain English" while Lyle Denniston posted a brief analysis.

Follow me after the jump for Iowa reaction on both sides of the marriage debate. Two years ago, Bleeding Heartland compiled Iowa politicians' comments on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Windsor, which struck down the federal ban on same-sex marriages but left state bans intact.

As a group, Iowa Democratic politicians are more enthusiastic and less cautious about welcoming marriage equality now than was the case in 2009, when the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our state's Defense of Marriage Act. Many Iowa Republicans called for elected officials to overturn the 2009 Varnum v Brien ruling by passing a constitutional amendment, but reacting to the latest U.S. Supreme Court ruling, few in the Iowa GOP sounded hopeful that there was any chance to reinstate state bans on same-sex marriage.

I will update this post as needed.  

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Branstad not ready to face reality on telemed abortion or court appeals process

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 07:15:00 AM CDT

A unanimous Supreme Court ruling against your position is usually a sign that your legal arguments lack merit. But Governor Terry Branstad hasn't learned that lesson from his administration being on the wrong end of not one, not two, but three unanimous Iowa Supreme Court rulings.

Last week, the court ruled with no dissenting justices that Iowa's ban on using telemedicine to provide abortion services is unconstitutional. Three of the justices who concurred in the decision are Branstad appointees (Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices Edward Mansfield and Thomas Waterman). Two of them--Waterman and Mansfield--have demonstrated in previous cases that they are reluctant to substitute their judgment for that of executive branch bodies responsible for rulemaking. Yet Branstad not only rejects the reasoning underlying the telemedicine ruling, but also refuses to accept legal experts' determination that his administration cannot appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

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Supreme Court saves health insurance subsidies for 6 million Americans (and 40,000 Iowans)

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 16:10:00 PM CDT

Some 40,000 Iowans will continue to receive federal subsidies for purchasing health insurance, thanks to a 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court opinion announced today. Plaintiffs in King v Burwell had argued that Congress intended for subsidies to be available only to Americans who purchased health insurance through state-run exchanges. Chief Justice John Roberts rejected that interpretation in his opinion (pdf), joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Amy Howe explained the ruling in "plain English" at the SCOTUS blog, where Lyle Denniston wrote a separate analysis of the opinion.

Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia accused his colleagues of changing "usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act," as the Supreme Court majority did (in his view) when it upheld the individual mandate to purchase health insurance in 2012.

A ruling for the plaintiffs in King v Burwell would not only have threatened health care access for roughly 6.4 million people who receive subsidies for health insurance purchased through the federal website Healthcare.gov. It could have caused cascading effects such as sharp premium increases for millions of Americans who do not qualify for subsidies but would nevertheless have been priced out of the health insurance market. In theory, Congress could have fixed the problem with a one-paragraph bill clarifying that people who buy insurance through the federal exchange qualified for subsidies, but most House and Senate Republicans appeared unwilling to go that route.

Today's Supreme Court decision removes the only remaining threat to federal health insurance subsidies for eligible Iowans. Last month, several insurance companies applied to offer policies for 2016 to Iowans through the exchange. Only one provider did so for 2015, and if that company had pulled out of Iowa, health insurance subsidies would not have been available to anyone in our state for next year.

UPDATE: Added Iowa political reaction below. Note that several of the Republican statements renew a vow to repeal and replace "Obamacare." Though destroying the system created by the 2010 health care reform law was transparently the goal of the King v Burwell plaintiffs, their lawyers maintained the charade that the lawsuit was only about getting the Obama administration to follow the Affordable Care Act.

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Five key points about the Iowa Supreme Court striking down the telemedicine abortion ban

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Jun 20, 2015 at 22:30:15 PM CDT

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that Iowa's ban on the use of telemedicine to provide abortion services was unconstitutional because it imposed an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion. You can read the whole ruling here (pdf). I've posted highlights after the jump, along with some reaction to the decision from both sides in the debate.

A few points are worth remembering.

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Chris Godfrey's lawsuit against Branstad administration takes another detour to Iowa Supreme Court

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jun 04, 2015 at 17:05:58 PM CDT

Nearly four years have passed since Governor Terry Branstad and his senior staffers tried to strong-arm Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey into resigning years before the end of his fixed term, but the lawsuit Godfrey filed in early 2012 won't be heard in court anytime soon. Grant Rodgers reported for the Des Moines Register today that before the case goes to trial, the Iowa Supreme Court will rule on whether Godfrey "can invoke the Iowa Constitution to win monetary damages from the state in his lawsuit against Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and four former state officials." Excerpts are after the jump, but you should click through to read the whole story. Godfrey's attorney Roxanne Conlin appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court after Polk County District Court Judge Brad McCall "tossed out Godfrey's four constitution-based claims in an April order."

Last summer, a divided Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Godfrey could sue Branstad and five other administration officials individually for defamation, extortion and other claims, in addition to pursuing general claims and tort claims against the state of Iowa.  The governor contends that neither he nor his staffers discriminated against Godfrey, and that he was seeking to appoint a commissioner who would be more sympathetic to business owners. Depositions began in the fall of 2014, and a trial date had been set for November of this year. The Iowa Supreme Court is likely to resolve the new constitutional issue sometime in 2016.

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Iowa Supreme Court dismisses case on Iowa Juvenile Home closure

by: desmoinesdem

Fri May 29, 2015 at 09:35:00 AM CDT

This morning the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit brought by Democratic state lawmakers and a public employee union leader to challenge the closure of the Iowa Juvenile Home without legislative input in the middle of the 2014 fiscal year. The seven justices reversed a Polk County District Court ruling from February 2014, which had ordered the Branstad administration to reopen the home.

The full text of Justice Edward Mansfield's decision is available here (pdf). Follow me after the jump for key points and excerpts. The central factor in the ruling was the Iowa legislature's failure to appropriate funds to operate the Iowa Juvenile Home for the 2015 fiscal year.

Today's news is a classic example of elections having consequences. Had Democrats recaptured the Iowa House majority in 2012, which could easily have happened with better allocation of resources, lawmakers in both chambers would have funded the home for girls during the 2014 legislative session. That in turn would have prompted the Iowa Supreme Court to view the lawsuit over the juvenile home closure differently.

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Iowa DOT insists that cities shut off some of their traffic cameras

by: desmoinesdem

Wed May 13, 2015 at 22:06:33 PM CDT

The Iowa Department of Transportation is standing behind its ruling that limited the use of traffic cameras in several large Iowa cities. The DOT adopted new rules in late 2013 to limit local governments' ability to install traffic cameras on or near highways. Those rules required cities to demonstrate that cameras were needed to address "critical safety issues," which could not be resolved by other means. Studies have produced conflicting data on whether cameras reduce red light or speeding infractions or vehicle accidents.

In March of this year, DOT officials ordered officials in six cities to shut off ten out of 34 traffic cameras cities had defended on safety grounds. The city of Davenport opted to comply with the DOT ruling, but five other cities asked department officials to reconsider the decision. (Although a reversal was unlikely, exhausting administrative appeals typically precedes legal action challenging a state agency's decision.)

This week, DOT Director Paul Trombino notified city officials in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, and Muscatine that the department was rejecting their appeals, because data did not demonstrate that the disputed cameras had improved safety or reduced crashes. Click through to read copies of the letters. The fifth city to appeal, Sioux City, filed a lawsuit last year challenging the DOT rules. A Woodbury County District Court is scheduled to hear that case soon. Des Moines officials plan to challenge the DOT in court as well. Cedar Rapids officials have not yet decided whether to file a lawsuit. After the jump I've enclosed excerpts from Kathy Bolten's report for the Des Moines Register and Rick Smith's for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Local governments are generally responsible for enforcing traffic laws. I'll be interested to see whether Iowa courts back up the DOT's efforts to restrict those powers on or near major highways. According to Trombino, the Iowa Code allows the DOT to enforce limits on cameras for traffic enforcement. Whatever the courts decide, the state's multi-pronged assault on local control remains an under-reported story of Governor Terry Branstad's fifth and sixth terms.

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Weekend open thread, with more marriage equality links

by: desmoinesdem

Sun May 03, 2015 at 13:07:10 PM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Marriage equality has been all over the news, with the sixth anniversary of legal same-sex marriage in Iowa arriving the same week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments related to state bans on marriage for LGBT couples. The Des Moines Register published charts showing Iowa poll findings on same-sex marriage going back to 1996. In that year, the Iowa House and Senate approved the Defense of Marriage Act, which the state Supreme Court struck down in the 2009 Varnum v Brien decision. Then State Representative Ed Fallon was the only Iowa lawmaker to vote against the DOMA; click here to read his passionate floor speech against the bill. I've posted excerpts after the jump.

The Washington Post compiled five charts showing "gay marriage's road to popularity." The most fascinating data point to me was that 34 percent of Republican respondents in an April 2015 nationwide Washington Post/ABC News poll now support marriage equality. Another chart shows that "Same-sex marriage attitudes also continue to be divided along religious lines." That data set did not include Jews, however, who overwhelmingly support marriage equality.

Today's Sunday Des Moines Register includes two good features by Mike Kilen following up on the six couples who were plaintiffs in the Varnum case. In a separate piece, Bob Vander Plaats and State Senator Dennis Guth told Kilen why they still believe it was a mistake to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger believes the decline in Republican voter registrations in his state is linked to "divisive battle over Proposition 8," a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. California voters approved Prop 8 by ballot initiative in 2008, but it ceased to be in effect in June 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Prop 8 supporters did not have standing to appeal a lower-court ruling striking down the marriage ban.

Final note: Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines approved a request by a group of students to form a non-religious LGBT support club. The school recently made national news by withdrawing a contract offer made to an openly gay teacher. The new gay-straight alliance, "One Human Family," will help provide "support, respect, and guidance" for students who either identify as LGBT or have questions about their sexual orientation.  

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Ten links on the Supreme Court's oral arguments about same-sex marriage

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 20:46:42 PM CDT

The U.S. Supreme Court heard two and a half hours of oral arguments this morning in several cases related to same-sex marriage rights, collectively called Obergefell v. Hodges. This thread is for any relevant comments or speculation.

April 27 marked six years since LGBT couples were able to obtain marriage licenses in Iowa under our state Supreme Court's Varnum v Brien ruling. Bleeding Heartland recently compiled some links related to the marriage equality battle in Iowa.

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Weekend open thread: Latest Steve King publicity stunt edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 09:48:19 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Iowa's own Representative Steve King (R, IA-04) grabbed national attention this week by introducing a bill to "prevent federal courts from hearing marriage cases," thereby stopping the U.S. Supreme Court from "destroying traditional marriage." After the jump I've posted King's official statement about the "Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act" as well as the full text.

President Barack Obama would surely veto this bill, even if it quickly passed the U.S. House (unlikely) and Senate (less likely). So King's effort looks like a publicity stunt to bolster his image as one of the leading culture warriors on the right.

Out of curiosity, I asked Drake Law School Professor Mark Kende, an expert on constitutional law, whether it would theoretically be possible for Congress to limit the Supreme Court's authority to consider any case on marriage. According to Kende, the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to "make exceptions to the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction." Most Congressional efforts along these lines have failed to become law. However, a 19th-century precedent exists; in that case, Congress blocked the Supreme Court from ruling on an appeal in which justices had already heard oral arguments.

Whether King's proposal would be constitutional is a more complicated question, Kende said. The Reconstruction-era law blocked a specific kind of appeal based on habeas corpus but did not bar the Supreme Court from ruling on all cases in that area of the law. The Constitution allows some leeway for "jurisdiction stripping" as a Congressional check on the judiciary, but that doesn't necessarily mean citizens could be prevented from taking any case about their fundamental marriage rights to the Supreme Court.

In an alternate universe where Congress passed and the president signed King's bill, the twelve federal appellate court rulings would be binding in their regions. Most federal court rulings on same-sex marriage bans have supported the principle of marriage equality. Only a divided 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld states' ability to limit marriage rights to opposite-sex couples.

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Henry Rayhons acquitted on sex abuse charge (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 17:23:57 PM CDT

A Hancock County jury acquitted former State Representative Henry Rayhons today on a charge of 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse. Rayhons was accused of having sex with his incapacitated wife in an assisted living facility last May. Prosecutors had tried unsuccessfully to move the trial out of Rayhons' home county, which he had represented for eighteen years in the Iowa House.

The jury deliberated for three days before reaching a not guilty verdict. During the trial, Rayhons denied that he had sex with his wife on the date in question. He had admitted to doing so when first interviewed by a state investigator, but during the trial he said that the investigator had been yelling at him and bullied him into the admission. His DNA was found on his wife's clothing and bed sheets, but on the witness stand during the trial, Donna Rayhons' former roommate testified that she could not be sure of hearing Rayhons having sex with his wife. The the defense argued that the defendant's DNA "could have been left on his wife's things from a previous sexual encounter, before Rayhons had been told by nursing home staff his wife was no longer able to consent to sex." A nurse's exam produced no proof of sexual intercourse on the date in question.

In closing arguments, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Susan Krisko tried to keep the jury focused on the specific events of this case rather than a "philosophical debate" on "whether or not someone with Alzheimer's can have sex." But Rayhons' attorney warned jurors,

"It's an unprecedented case. The decision that you make here will be debated, discussed, followed for years," defense lawyer Joel Yunek said in his closing statement. He said a guilty verdict could make other spouses afraid to even visit a husband or wife with Alzheimer's disease, for fear of being charged as a rapist if the partner with dementia grabbed them the way Rayhons says Donna Rayhons did to him.

Under those circumstances, I'm not surprised the jury acquitted. The defense was wise to frame the case in broad terms, since the trial was getting national attention. We can only hope that Krisko was wrong about an acquittal being tantamount to declaring "open season" on vulnerable people in nursing homes.

LATE UPDATE: In early May, juror Angela Nelson, posted her perspective on the case and why the jury acquitted. Worth clicking through to read the whole piece, but ultimately, forensic evidence was lacking to prove the prosecutor's case. Nelson added that people "with Alzheimer's are still human beings that have the same emotional needs we all have," and "For the state of Iowa to try and legislate intimacy between a married couple is a very dark road to go down [...]."

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New Iowa Workforce Development Director cleaning up Teresa Wahlert's mess

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 09:58:14 AM CDT

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend is implementing key recommendations from the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve concerns about the previous agency director's actions. Townsend's actions provide a refreshing contrast to Teresa Wahlert's management of Iowa Workforce Development, which sparked recurring controversy and not one, not two, but three lawsuits.
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Shorter Terry Branstad: It's good to be the king

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 07, 2015 at 20:26:59 PM CDT

Governor Terry Branstad made a remarkable claim at his latest press conference: because "the people of Iowa elected me to reduce the size and cost of government," he has the authority to "make tough decisions" on closing state-run mental health facilities and reorganizing Medicaid services for more than half a million Iowans.

To justify his position, Branstad channeled President Harry Truman: "The buck stops with me." But his view of governance reminds me more of Mel Brooks in the movie "History of the World, Part 1": "It's good to be the king."

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Mid-week open thread: Pregnancy discrimination edition

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Mar 25, 2015 at 23:15:00 PM CDT

All topics are welcome in this open thread. What news stories captured your attention lately?

Although Congress acted during the 1970s to ban employers from discriminating against pregnant women, both attorneys and women have told me over the years that pregnancy discrimination remains common in the workplace. The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in today in the case of Young v. United Parcel Service. I enclose below some links about this important ruling.

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Branstad insists he pressured Workers' Comp official because of business, not bias

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 10:17:05 AM CDT

New details have emerged about Governor Terry Branstad's testimony in the lawsuit Iowa's former Workers' Compensation Commissioner filed three years ago, charging discrimination, defamation, and other claims. Ryan Foley of the Associated Press reported highlights from the transcript of Branstad's deposition last November.
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State drops appeal in case on purging Iowa voter rolls

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 13, 2015 at 19:59:49 PM CDT

Who's up for some good news on Friday the 13th? Part of former Secretary of State Matt Schultz's legacy of voter suppression died today. The Iowa Supreme Court will not hear an appeal of a District Court decision that invalidated Schultz's effort to enact rules on purging Iowa voter rolls. The court dismissed the case at the request of the Secretary of State's Office.
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Iowa Supreme Court: Sioux City traffic cameras don't violate constitutional rights or state law

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Feb 20, 2015 at 12:10:00 PM CST

The Iowa Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a District Court ruling that held a man responsible for a speeding ticket issued under Sioux City's Automated Traffic Enforcement Ordinance. You can read Justice Brent Appel's whole decision here (pdf). Michael Jacobsma employed several legal arguments in his suit challenging the speeding ticket:

The defendant sought dismissal of the citation on constitutional grounds, claiming enforcement of the ordinance violated the Due Process Clauses of the Iowa and Federal Constitutions, the inalienable rights clause of the Iowa Constitution, and the Iowa municipal home rule amendment that prohibits cities from enacting ordinances that conflict with state law.

Pages 2 through 7 cover background on Sioux City's ordinance, Jacobsma's ticket, and his legal challenge. Pages 7 through 23 explore the extensive federal and state case law on due process challenges against similar ordinances. Key points: the ordinance allows vehicle owners to present evidence indicating that they were not driving at the time of the alleged traffic violation, but Jacobsma never did so. Furthermore, since this case involves only civil penalties (a fine) rather than criminal penalties, there is less of a burden on the government to prove Jacobsma was operating the vehicle when it was traveling at 67 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone.

Pages 24 through 32 address Jacobsma's claim that the presumption in the Sioux City traffic camera ordinance violates his "inalienable rights" under the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions. After going through lots of court rulings on inalienable rights clauses, Appel notes that many "cases hold that liberty or property rights enumerated in the inalienable rights clauses of state constitutions are subject to reasonable regulations in the public interest." The Iowa Supreme Court justices agreed, "there is no doubt that the regulation to control speeding on state highways gives rise to a public interest generally."

Pages 33 through 35 address Jacobsma's claim that the Sioux City ordinance is invalid because it conflicts with state law. Here the controlling case law is Davenport v Seymour, a 2008 Iowa Supreme Court decision also authored by Appel. That ruling upheld the city of Davenport's use of traffic cameras. Today's ruling concludes that Sioux City's rules on tickets issued by traffic cameras are "consistent with substantive state law related to speeding" and not "irreconcilable" with the various Iowa Code provisions cited by Jacobsma.

Speaking to Radio Iowa's Dar Danielson, Jacobsma said he is disappointed with today's ruling but respects the Iowa Supreme Court's opinion.

The high court may eventually consider a different case related to Sioux City's traffic cameras. Last year, city officials filed a lawsuit claiming the Iowa Department of Transportation exceeded its authority when it issued rules restricting local governments' use of automated traffic enforcement systems. That case is scheduled to be heard in Woodbury County District Court this May.

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Weekend open thread: Love and marriage equality edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Feb 15, 2015 at 15:21:03 PM CST

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? I'm not big on "Hallmark holidays," but if Valentine's Day (or "co-opting Valentine's Day") is your thing, I hope you enjoyed February 14. This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

I wanted to catch up on news from a couple of weeks ago, which may continue to reverberate during the Republican Iowa caucus campaign. The owners of Görtz Haus agreed to settle with a gay couple who had wanted to get married at their venue in Grimes. Betty and Richard Odgaard are Mennonites who don't believe in same-sex marriage. Since the law doesn't allow them to discriminate against LGBT couples, they have decided not to hold any weddings at their place of business. They also dropped their own doomed-to-fail lawsuit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Clips with background on the episode and reaction to its resolution are after the jump.

Social conservatives are outraged over what they see as an assault on religious freedom. Both talk radio host Steve Deace and Bob Vander Plaats' organization The FAMiLY Leader have indicated that the Görtz Haus controversy will be a salient issue in the coming presidential campaign.

What these folks can't acknowledge is that no one is forcing the Odgaards or anyone else to approve of or "celebrate" gay weddings. Many of us have ethical or religious objections to some marriages; for instance, if the couple began dating while married to other people, or if one person appears to be marrying solely for money, or if there is a large age gap between the spouses. Plenty of Jews and Christians would disapprove of my own interfaith marriage. No one is demanding that the whole world applaud every marriage, only that the religious beliefs of some don't interfere with the civil rights of others.

Additionally, it's important to note that no house of worship in Iowa has ever been forced to hold same-sex weddings. If the Odgaards ran a church, they would be fully within their rights to refuse to serve LGBT couples. Görtz Haus is a for-profit business, subject to the same civil rights statutes as other public venues.  

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