# Commentary

Bill limiting Iowa's state auditor would affect us all

Al Charlson is a north central Iowa farm kid, lifelong Iowan, and retired bank trust officer.

The Iowa legislature’s 2023 session has been a dismaying mix of noise and fireworks, combining “debate” over divisive social and cultural issues with fundamental changes in our governing structure that slide through without adequate review and examination. 

Senate File 478, a bill designed to “hog-tie” our state auditor, is a strange combination of both.

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Legislative attacks hurt Iowa students, teachers

Bruce Lear lives in Sioux City and has been connected to Iowa’s public schools for 38 years. He taught for eleven years and represented educators as an Iowa State Education Association regional director for 27 years until retiring.

On that first day of school in 1979, I oozed anxiety. After all, there were 30 sets of unknown eyes waiting for the show to begin. I was the show. Am I going to be the tough guy not smiling until Halloween or the open arms teacher? Will my deodorant hold so I don’t pit-out before first period?

That was then. Now, Iowa teachers have much more to worry about than pit stains

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Iowa's culture war is bad for business

Deb VanderGaast is a registered nurse and child care advocate seeking to advance state and national child care and disability policy, inclusive child care practices and improve access to quality, affordable child care for working parents. She was the 2022 Democratic nominee in Iowa Senate district 41.

Municipal, county and state governments have a lot in common with private businesses, especially non-profits. They have to raise revenue to support the workforce and resources needed to produce services or products that will attract and retain customers. That’s how they maintain and grow their revenue. That revenue flow makes a business viable and financially stable.

For the state of Iowa, our “customers” are the people and businesses choosing to locate here. They create economic activity that generates tax revenue.

Our “products” are the services, infrastructure, and laws that make it desirable for businesses and individuals to move to Iowa or remain here. If residents and businesses leave, Iowa loses tax revenue and workers, so will have less of the human and financial resources needed to produce quality products and services to attract and retain others.

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Trump's got no education (policy)

Gerald Ott of Ankeny was a high school English teacher and for 30 years a school improvement consultant for the Iowa State Education Association.

Former President Donald Trump came to Iowa on March 13 and was supposed to give a talk on education policy. That proved to be false advertising. 

A glowing Governor Kim Reynolds was there to do the welcome. When the man finally appeared from behind the curtain, he looked a bit like a grizzly bear just coming out of hibernation. The governor was rewarded with a hug and a smooch, quite a trick for a 76-year-old orange hulk—one who’s waving his hand, trying to appear athletic and still stay erect. Give the man credit where due.

I listened to his whole (and I mean 90-minutes whole) speech on C-SPAN, waiting to hear how he’d make every kid an Einstein, but with no luck. Not even close — except (as per all red states) to put education in the hands of parents and ban any sexual, race-based or political content from being taught in schools. 

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Iowa out of step on access to police video

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

Every few months, someone is killed or injured by police somewhere in the United States under circumstances that lead to inevitable questions about what exactly occurred.

Typically, answers come when video from the law officers’ squad car cameras or their uniform cameras is made public. Each time this occurs, there are two inescapable conclusions:

First, police in most states realize it is their obligation to release this video. They know that public faith and respect for law officers will suffer if citizens and journalists are prevented from viewing the footage, especially when an incident results in death or injury, most notably when the person was not armed.

And second, each time such video is released somewhere in the United States, it becomes obvious Iowa is out of step with most other states — because in Iowa, law enforcement agencies and government attorneys insist the video must forever remain off-limits because it is part of a confidential investigative file.

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Cartoon: An exodus from Iowa

William R. Staplin shares another cartoon and explains his artistic choices.

The Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, Asexual (LGTBQIA+) community has lived on the margins of cis-gendered societal acceptance throughout recorded history. Mainstream societies have repressed the community in myriad ways: from self-righteous and pious condemnations and public humiliation to the destruction of careers (whether through hiring and firing discrimination or ”Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”), to brutal assaults in farmyards, playgrounds, and towns squares, all the way to targeted murders and lynching.

When the U.S. Supreme Court cleared a path for marriage equality across the country in June 2015, this brutalized community achieved a small portion of equity. Same-sex couples were able to legally wed and include their life partners for medical insurance, hospital visitation, and estate planning, providing some peace of mind for bereaved loved ones at difficult times.

But equality was in some way a mirage for members of the transgender community.

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