Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 1)

I expected 2009 to be a relatively quiet year in Iowa politics, but was I ever wrong.

The governor’s race heated up, state revenues melted down, key bills lived and died during the legislative session, and the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Varnum v Brien became one of this state’s major events of the decade.

After the jump I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from January through June 2009. Any comments about the year that passed are welcome in this thread.

Although I wrote a lot of posts last year, there were many important stories I didn’t manage to cover. I recommend reading Iowa Independent’s compilation of “Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009,” as well as that blog’s review of “stories that will continue to impact Iowa in 2010.”

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Action: Tell Congress to support fair pay for women

I received this message from the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.

Information provided by the National Women’s Law Center:

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to act as soon as this week on fair pay for women – and we need your help.

Especially during these tough economic times, women need equal pay for equal work to ensure self-sufficiency and dignity. Please contact your Members of Congress now!

The House is expected to vote soon on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act – key bills that would give women the tools they need to challenge pay discrimination. The Senate may follow with a vote as soon as early next week.

Please contact your Members of Congress today with a clear message: It’s time to sign, seal and deliver pay equity for all women by passing fair pay legislation immediately, so that President-Elect Obama can sign it into law during his first few days in office.

You can e-mail your lawmakers, or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to your Senators and Representative. When you’re connected to their offices, tell the person who answers the phone:

1.   I am a constituent. My name is __________.

2.   I urge you to vote in favor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, and to oppose any weakening amendments and any motions to recommit.

3.   Thank you for supporting fair pay for women.

For background on what happened to Lilly Ledbetter and why this law is needed, read this diary by Daily Kos user Femlaw, a civil rights attorney.

Here is the roll call from a 2007 House vote on this measure. All three Democratic representatives from Iowa voted yes, while Tom Latham and Steve King voted no. If you call the offices of Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack or Leonard Boswell, please indicate that you know they voted for this bill in 2007 and would appreciate their continued support.

If you live in the fourth or fifth Congressional districts, you may want to be armed with more talking points about why this is a good idea. I don’t expect Latham or King to change their stand because of phone calls, but it can’t hurt to let them know that their constituents are watching and are paying attention to this issue.

Senate Republicans filibustered the bill last spring. Even then, there were 56 votes in favor. Since Democrats picked up eight Senate seats, we should have enough votes to break a filibuster this year (even if Republicans temporarily block the seating of Senator Al Franken because of Norm Coleman’s unfounded election contest).

You probably won’t be surprised to learn from the Senate roll call that Tom Harkin voted yes on the cloture motion (to bring the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act up for a vote), while Chuck Grassley voted no on cloture (to filibuster the bill). If you call Grassley’s office, urge him to stop obstructing this important bill.

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The Wake Up Wal-Mart Holiday Campaign: Ad #2

This December, Wake Up Wal-Mart is going all out with our annual Holiday Campaign to awaken America’s largest retailer to its responsibilities. Here is a peek at our second TV ad for 2008's holiday season:

                      

 

Titled Wal-Mart: America Just Can't Afford It Any Longer, the ad focuses on the hidden costs of shopping at Wal-Mart:

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