Laura Belin

IA-04: Randy Feenstra hits Steve King over impeachment

U.S. Representative Steve King has been a loyal defender of President Donald Trump this fall, repeatedly attacking Democrats for pursuing impeachment and even disrupting a House Intelligence Committee hearing in a secure facility.

But he wasn’t able to participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings, having lost his committee assignments in January.

State Senator Randy Feenstra, the Republican establishment’s favorite among four GOP challengers in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district, seized on the impeachment saga as proof that King can’t do his job well.

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Latest reform won't help vast majority of Iowans disenfranchised over felonies

On the same day Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear restored voting rights to some 140,000 constituents who previously committed nonviolent crimes, Governor Kim Reynolds rolled out an incremental step to make it easier for Iowans to regain their voting rights after completing a felony sentence.

It was the fourth time the application process has been simplified in nearly nine years since Governor Terry Branstad restored Iowa’s lifetime ban on voting after a felony conviction.

Although the new policy may marginally increase the number of Iowans who can cast a ballot in 2020, it will leave tens of thousands of Iowans unable to vote for years. It’s not clear the governor’s office will be able to process all of the new applications in time for next year’s general election.

Reynolds could mostly solve this problem in a day. She clings to an unconvincing rationale for not doing so.

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Vulnerable communities hit harder by floods, slower to recover

Residents of low-income communities are more likely to suffer property damage from floods but less likely to be fully compensated for losses and also less likely to benefit from flood mitigation efforts, according to a report the Iowa Policy Project published on December 12.

University of Iowa graduate student Joseph Wilensky wrote “Flooding and Inequity: Policy Responses on the Front Line” (click here for the summary and here for the full text). His focus was on “frontline communities”:

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The Board of Regents neglected its duty to Iowans

With virtually no public discussion and no opportunity for independent analysis of the complicated financials, the Iowa Board of Regents on December 10 approved a plan to lease the University of Iowa’s utilities for 50 years in exchange for an up-front payment of $1.165 billion.

Governor Kim Reynolds hailed the “historic day for higher education in Iowa.” In an official news release, Regents President Michael Richards praised what he called an “open, inclusive process leading to this agreement.”

Orwellian spin won’t fool anyone. A government board charged with managing public institutions should not have committed the university to such a far-reaching and costly deal without a full airing of the risks and benefits.

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Interview: Tom Steyer on term limits, a national referendum, and impeachment

It’s hard to stand out in a historically crowded presidential field, especially when the candidates largely agree on on many issues that matter to Democratic voters.

Tom Steyer is the only candidate seeking to establish a “national referendum” to enact some federal policies through 50-state ballot initiatives.

He has made term limits for members of Congress–twelve years total in the U.S. House and Senate–a central part of his political reform agenda. (Andrew Yang also supports term limits but has focused his campaign message elsewhere.)

While several candidates seeking the Democratic nomination have expressed support for impeaching President Donald Trump, no one has highlighted impeachment in more stump speeches and campaign advertisements than Steyer.

Bleeding Heartland interviewed Steyer about those proposals in Des Moines on December 6.

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