New family planning program fails Iowans. Republicans don't want to know

Republican lawmakers made big promises last year that Iowans would have “more access” to family planning services under a new state program that excluded Planned Parenthood.

As anyone could have foreseen, the opposite was true. In the first nine months of the State Family Planning Program’s existence, the number of Iowans enrolled dropped by a third. The number who obtained at least one reproductive health care service fell by more than 40 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter the program was operating. The number of health care providers billing the program also declined by 40 percent during the same time frame.

Republican lawmakers don’t want to hear how poorly the new system is serving their constituents. Even worse, GOP state senators voted unanimously last week to compound the mistake by blocking Planned Parenthood from participating in sex education programs.

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Social conservative Ginny Caligiuri launches IA-02 bid

Describing herself as a “pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-Israel, and pro-Constitution conservative,” Ginny Caligiuri made her quest for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s second Congressional district official today. Her candidacy was no secret; the former state director for the Congressional Prayer Caucus, National Governor’s Prayer Team, and US National Prayer Council had nominating papers out to be signed at the February 5 precinct caucuses and has been making the rounds at GOP county central committee meetings.

Bleeding Heartland profiled Caligiuri in January. You can keep up with her campaign online at GinnyGetsIowa.com, Facebook, or Twitter (at this writing, a protected account).

The announcement for Caligiuri’s kickoff event in Osceola on March 8 noted, “The 2nd District elected Donald Trump, and Ginny plans to help him accomplish what he was elected to do.” That line struck me as a subtle dig at Caligiuri’s competition in the GOP primary. Dr. Christopher Peters is a libertarian-minded Republican; as the IA-02 nominee, he announced in October 2016 that he would not vote for Trump.

I enclose below Caligiuri’s official bio and a map of Iowa’s Congressional districts. According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State’s office, the 24 counties contain 160,891 active registered Democrats, 141,798 Republicans, an 181,740 no-party voters.

The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both rate this race as a likely Democratic hold for six-term Representative Dave Loebsack. For reasons discussed here, I think Republicans missed their best chance to defeat Loebsack by not targeting his district during the 2016 cycle. Trump carried the 24 counties in IA-02 by 49.1 percent to 45.0 percent, a huge swing from Barack Obama’s 55.8 percent to 42.7 percent margin over Mitt Romney in 2012.

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Who's who in the Iowa House for 2018

The Iowa House opens its 2018 session today with 58 Republicans, 41 Democrats, and one vacancy, since Jim Carlin resigned after winning the recent special election in Iowa Senate district 3. Voters in House district 6 will choose Carlin’s successor on January 16. UPDATE: Republican Jacob Bossman won that election, giving the GOP 59 seats for the remainder of 2018.

The 99 state representatives include 27 women (18 Democrats and nine Republicans) and 72 men. Five African-Americans (all Democrats) serve in the legislature’s lower chamber; the other 95 lawmakers are white. No Latino has ever been elected to the Iowa House, and there has not been an Asian-American member since Swati Dandekar moved up to the Iowa Senate following the 2008 election.

After the jump I’ve posted details on the Iowa House majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing House committees. Where relevant, I’ve noted significant changes since last year.

Under the Ethics Committee subheading, you’ll see a remarkable example of Republican hypocrisy.

Some non-political trivia: the Iowa House includes two Taylors (one from each party) and two Smiths (both Democrats). As for first names, there are six Davids (four go by Dave), four Roberts (two Robs, one Bob, and a Bobby), four Marys (one goes by Mary Ann), three Johns and a Jon, and three men each named Gary and Charles (two Chucks and a Charlie). There are also two Elizabeths (a Beth and a Liz) and two men each named Brian, Bruce, Chris, Todd, and Michael (one goes by Mike).

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If all Iowa candidates had to win under rules Republicans forced on unions

“There’s not one Republican in this state that could win an election under the rules they gave us,” asserted AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan after the first round of public union recertification elections ended this week.

He was only slightly exaggerating.

A review of the last two general election results shows that Iowa’s capitol would be mostly devoid of office-holders if candidates for statewide and legislative races needed a majority vote among all their constituents–rather than a plurality among those who cast ballots–to be declared winners.

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"Personhood" in trouble as Iowa legislative deadline approaches

One of the anti-abortion community’s top legislative priorities, a bill declaring that life begins at conception, appears likely to perish in this week’s “funnel.” Social conservatives introduced companion “personhood” bills in the Iowa House and Senate two weeks ago. Under legislative rules, all non-appropriations bills must pass at least one committee in one chamber by March 3 in order to remain eligible for consideration this year.

However, House File 297 has not even been assigned to a House Human Resources subcommittee, and Senate File 253 appears not to have the votes to get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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