Minority impact statements in Iowa: History and continuing efforts

Marty Ryan of Des Moines lobbied the Iowa legislature for 27 years and now blogs weekly. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa quarter, printed in the latter part of 2004, is based upon a Grant Wood painting depicting a group of students and their teacher planting a tree outside of a county school. The statement on the coin says, “Foundation In Education.” For many decades, Iowa was noted for its first-in-the-nation education status. Likewise, Iowa has been a consistent leader in civil rights.

In fact, Iowa established some standards of equality long before the federal government or other states.

But racial disparities continue to affect Iowans in many areas of life. A reform the Democratic-controlled legislature enacted more than a decade ago has only slightly mitigated the problem.

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Chet Culver to Kim Reynolds: Have Test Iowa contract independently audited

James C. Larew is an attorney in Iowa City who served as general counsel and chief of staff for former Governor Chet Culver. -promoted by Laura Belin

Former Governor Chet Culver wrote to Governor Kim Reynolds on May 7, urging her to have an immediate and comprehensive performance audit conducted of Nomi Health’s COVID-19 testing services in Iowa. The Utah-based company is providing testing at drive-through sites under a $26 million no-bid contract with the state. 

Culver suggested that Reynolds ask State Auditor Rob Sand to perform such an audit, or order a comparable review by a competent and independent agency. His letter outlined serious problems already known to the public about the Test Iowa program. He warned that if not remedied immediately, by making Nomi Health’s performance fully compliant with all applicable federal and state laws, and with best pandemic practices, those difficulties will place the health of Iowans at great risk. The full text of the letter follows:

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Chet Culver challenges Kim Reynolds' COVID-19 workplace rules

James C. Larew is an attorney in Iowa City who served as general counsel and chief of staff for former Governor Chet Culver. -promoted by Laura Belin

Enclosed below is the full text of a letter former Governor Chet Culver sent Governor Kim Reynolds challenging the newly announced policies restricting workers from seeking unemployment compensation if they decline to return to a job, believing workplace conditions are unsafe.

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Iowans who quit over unsafe conditions may still receive unemployment

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend acknowledged on April 30 that Iowans who refuse to go back to their jobs because of unsafe working conditions will not automatically be excluded from receiving unemployment payments.

However, she warned that “it takes more than a mere assertion by the employee” to qualify for benefits under those circumstances.

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An open letter to Iowa Republican educators

Bruce Lear urges GOP-leaning educators to “look for the tells” and reject candidates who are not genuine friends to public schools. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Republican educators:

I know it’s almost time for the first school bell, and probably the last thing you want to think about is politics, but you as a group can be the super heroes for the education profession. Not an endgame, but a new beginning.

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How the Iowa House passed the civil rights bill in 2007

Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy shares his memories of an important legislative victory twelve years ago. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last month Iowans celebrated ten years of marriage equality. Two years prior, the legislature added protections for LGBTQ people to Iowa’s civil rights law. One of my children asked me to share that experience in writing. What you are about to read is an excerpt.

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