Medicaid abortion funding ban a bridge too far for Branstad administration

Opposing all government funding for abortion is settled dogma among Iowa Republican activists and elected officials. For two years in a row, Senate Democrats have blocked attempts to write new restrictions on Medicaid abortion coverage into the budget for the state Department of Human Services. Now DHS Director Chuck Palmer has signaled that taking control of the upper chamber may not give Republicans the power to restrict the choices of low-income women.

Palmer’s action puts Governor Terry Branstad in an awkward position, and a legislature completely under GOP control could create a political nightmare for Branstad, a proud “pro-lifer” throughout his career.

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Iowa House rejects attempt to vote on "personhood" bill

Although no pro-choice Republicans currently serve in the Iowa legislature, an Iowa House vote yesterday demonstrated that the Republican Party is divided on how far to pursue anti-abortion policies. More than half the House Republican caucus, including the entire leadership team, rejected State Representative Kim Pearson’s attempt to force a vote on a “personhood” bill giving fetuses the full rights of U.S. citizens.

This vote will anger some conservative activists who oppose abortion rights and may become an issue in various Republican primaries next year. More background and details are after the jump.  

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Who's who in the Iowa House for 2011 (revised)

When the 84th General Assembly convenes on January 10, the Iowa House will have 60 Republicans and 40 Democrats. House Republicans selected leaders and committee chairs last month, and Democrats finished choosing leaders and ranking committee members in the past two weeks.

All Iowa House leaders, committee chairs and ranking members can be found after the jump. I’ve included a link to a short biography for each state representative, as well as the year the person was first elected to the Iowa House and the district he or she represents.  

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Who's who in the Iowa House for 2011 (updated)

The newly elected Iowa House Republican caucus picked a leadership team last week, and incoming House Speaker Kraig Paulsen named committee chairs this week.

Follow me after the jump for information about who will run various House committees in the 84th General Assembly. It’s notable that Paulsen passed over veteran legislators while giving chairmanships to some representatives beginning their second or third terms.

LATE UPDATE: Democratic ranking members for the appropriations subcommittees have been added at the bottom of this post.

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