Troy Price to join Iowa Democratic Party's governing body

Five months after resigning as state chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, Troy Price will join the party’s State Central Committee as vice chair of the Stonewall Caucus.

The party’s governing body consists of 32 district representatives (eight from each of Iowa’s four Congressional districts) and 24 members representing twelve “constituency caucuses.” State convention delegates elected the SCC members from their own Congressional districts last month. All business was conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats held online meetings on July 11 to select constituency caucus leaders. Benton Renaud won a three-way race for Stonewall Caucus chair. During his acceptance speech, he endorsed Price, who went on to defeat four other candidates for vice chair.

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It's time for Iowa schools to step up

Bruce Lear: To ease the worry of parents, educators, and students, public school districts must clearly communicate how they plan to slow the spread of COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

In a normal year, after the Fourth of July, elementary teachers start to knock on the schoolhouse door so they can organize their classrooms to get ready for a new batch of kids. At about the same time, middle and secondary teachers start thinking about their class lists, and some ideas about new ways to deliver old instruction.

But this year isn’t normal.

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Iowa Republicans fail to uphold promises of Older Americans Act

Mike McCarthy is president of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. -promoted by Laura Belin

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law on July 14, 1965. It responded to the need for community services, evidence-based health promotion, disease prevention programs, civic engagement, and elder justice for senior citizens. America’s seniors require a similar response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans believes that seniors must have relevant and accurate information about preventing and treating the coronavirus. Seniors and retirees are becoming more desperate looking for security and a cure. We should be able to trust President Donald Trump’s pronouncements. However, he repeatedly shows us that we cannot believe his statements.

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Abortions up 25 percent after Iowa GOP replaced family planning program

Who could have predicted it, other than anyone familiar with reproductive health care?

Republican lawmakers and Governor Terry Branstad eliminated Iowa’s successful Medicaid Family Planning Waiver in 2017 and created a new state program that excluded abortion providers. The move forced Planned Parenthood to close four of its Iowa clinics around the state and dramatically decreased the number of Iowans receiving birth control and other reproductive services.

Preliminary data from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicate that Iowans had 25 percent more abortions in 2019 than in the previous year.

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Linn County auditor dares Iowa SOS to stop planned absentee ballot mailing

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller has notified the Iowa Secretary of State’s office that he plans to begin mailing absentee ballot request forms to all active registered voters in his jurisdiction on July 20. Contrary to guidance from the state’s elections director, forms will have voters’ names, birth dates, addresses, and personal identification numbers filled in.

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Why I'm asking Iowa to seek an exemption from federal drug laws

Carl Olsen recounts his long battle to reschedule cannabis and the latest legal steps in his effort to reconcile state and federal drug laws. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last month, I filed a petition with the Iowa Department of Public Health, asking the agency to start the process of obtaining a federal exemption for Iowa’s medical cannabis law.

I had presented this idea to Iowa’s Medical Cannabidiol Board in August 2019. The board members unanimously approved the concept and recommended in January 2020 that the legislature protect schools and long-term care facilities, which “are hesitant to allow medical cannabidiol products to be administered and stored at the facilities due to the current scheduling of Cannabis at the federal level.” The board suggested “Developing language to protect these facilities or seeking exemption for Iowa’s program from federal drug laws.”

Instead of adopting my proposal, Republican lawmakers approved and Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 2589, which instructed the Department of Public Health to “request guarantees” from federal agencies that they would not withhold federal funding from educational or long-term care facilities that allow patients to possess or staff to administer medical cannabidiol.

That approach makes no sense, because it would put Iowa in direct conflict with federal drug law. As I wrote in my petition, “There is no formal process for requesting guarantees from federal agencies not to withhold funding for violation of federal drug laws.”

Here’s why Iowa should take a different path.

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