Overindependence

Ira Lacher reflects on the impact of federalism. -promoted by Laura Belin

On the eve of Independence Day, let us take a moment to consider that, like knowledge, too much independence is a dangerous thing.

When the founders declared America’s independence from Britain, they envisioned a nation composed of 13 semiautonomous states, which would maintain a delicate balance with a central government. That Rube Goldberg gadget empowered states to declare which human beings were human beings and which were property.

Continue Reading...

Affected Iowans, Kim Reynolds discuss policy targeting transgender people

Two transgender Iowans and an LGBTQ advocacy group are challenging the new statute intended to deprive transgender people of Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgery. The ACLU of Iowa filed suit in Polk County District Court on May 31 on behalf of Aiden Vasquez, Mika Covington, and One Iowa.

Listening to the plaintiffs explain why they took this step, I was struck by the contrast between their heartfelt, compelling words and Governor Kim Reynolds’ heartless, clueless excuses for signing discrimination into law.

Continue Reading...

2019 Iowa legislative recap: Constitutional amendments

Bleeding Heartland continues to catch up on the legislature’s significant actions during the session that ended on April 27. Previous posts related to the work of the Iowa House or Senate can be found here.

Republicans showed little interest in amending the Iowa Constitution during the 2019 session. Only one amendment passed both chambers. If and when that proposal appears on a statewide ballot, it will spark a costly and divisive campaign about gun rights and regulations.

The Senate and House debate over the pro-gun amendment is the focus of the first half of this post. Arguments raised on both sides will surely return in future television commercials and mass mailings.

The rest of the post reviews this year’s unsuccessful attempts to change the constitution. One amendment (backed by Governor Kim Reynolds) made it through the Iowa House, and four others advanced from a House or Senate committee but did not come up for a floor vote. The rest did not get through a committee, even though some of the same ideas went further last year.

Continue Reading...

Reynolds/Miller deal could encourage future Republican power grabs

Governor Kim Reynolds issued her first item veto of the year this week, rejecting part of a budget bill that sought to limit Attorney General Tom Miller’s authority to sign on to multi-state lawsuits. However, she did so only after Miller agreed not to join any such litigation without her permission, ensuring that he “will not be suing the Trump administration” anymore. In addition, the governor’s veto letter praised the “Legislature’s leadership on this issue.”

While not the worst-case scenario, the resolution of this conflict could invite more Republican bills encroaching on the authority of statewide elected Democrats. The governor and her staff could then pressure those officials to cede some of their power in exchange for a veto.

Continue Reading...

Hate speech ain't free (except in the U.S.)

Ira Lacher: Lawmakers in Canada, the UK, and Germany “have accepted the premise that if you drop a hammer from the 15th floor of a building, you don’t need to look down to know the hammer has fallen.” -promoted by Laura Belin

There’s a new law in Iowa. Under the guise of promoting free speech, it’s intended to give free reign to those who, under cover of the First Amendment, deliver hate language on college campuses.

The legislation reads, in part: “[I]t is not the proper role of an institution of higher education to shield individuals from speech protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which may include ideas and opinions the individual finds unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive.”

The law permits colleges to restrict hate speech only if that speech contains “a threat of serious harm and expression directed or likely directed to provoke imminent unlawful actions.” But there’s the problem: America, unlike other countries, does not define such language, much less outlaw it.

Continue Reading...
View More...