The Iowa court ruling that could stop a Republican gerrymander

Terror gripped many Iowa Democratic hearts when the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA) announced it would release a second redistricting plan on October 21. Governor Kim Reynolds soon scheduled a legislative session to consider the plan for October 28, the earliest date state law allows.

Democrats had hoped the LSA would spend more time working on its next plan. Iowa Code gives the agency up to 35 days to present a second set of maps. If lawmakers received that proposal in mid-November, Republicans would not be able to consider a third set of maps before the Iowa Supreme Court’s December 1 deadline for finishing redistricting work.

By submitting Plan 2 only sixteen days after Iowa Senate Republicans rejected the first redistricting plan, the LSA ensured that GOP lawmakers could vote down the second proposal and receive a third plan well before December 1. So the third map gerrymander—a scenario Bleeding Heartland has warned about for years—is a live wire.

Nevertheless, I expect Republicans to approve the redistricting plan released last week. The maps give the GOP a shot at winning all four U.S. House districts and an excellent chance to maintain their legislative majorities.

Equally important, state law and a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court precedent constrain how aggressive Republicans could be in any partisan amendment to a third LSA proposal.

Continue Reading...

You cannot make this up

Senator Chuck Grassley struck an indignant tone a few hours after he and all of his fellow Republicans filibustered a bill that would have forced states to meet federal standards for absentee and early voting, and would have required more political groups to disclose their donors.

In his trademark Twitter style (lacking punctuation and some vowels), Grassley told his 660,000 followers that Democrats should drop their “massive partisan election takeover bill based on lies abt widespread voter suppression.” Anyone with proof of illegal discrimination in voting should take it to court, he said. “Don’t talk down our democratic process Best in world.”

Continue Reading...

Governor's own words helped sink mask mandate ban in court

A federal court confirmed on October 8 that Iowa cannot enforce the state’s ban on mask mandates in public schools, pending resolution of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Iowa on behalf of a disability advocacy group and eleven parents of children with disabilities.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Robert Pratt’s preliminary injunction follows a temporary restraining order he issued and extended last month, putting the law on hold. About two dozen Iowa school districts, including most of the largest, have since reimposed mask mandates, affecting more than 150,000 students.

The state immediately appealed Pratt’s ruling to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. In a written statement, Reynolds said, “We will never stop fighting for the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children and to uphold state laws enacted by our elected legislators. We will defend the rights and liberties afforded to all American citizens protected by our constitution.” 

The governor’s bluster is not consistent with the state’s own legal arguments, which have not asserted the Iowa or U.S. constitutions establish any right not to wear masks, or to have one’s children remain unmasked at school.

The irony is that Reynolds’ own public statements have bolstered the plaintiffs’ case against the law Republicans rushed to enact in May.

Continue Reading...

It's time to codify Roe

Glenn Hurst is a family physician in southwest Iowa and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

It’s time to codify Roe v. Wade.

We all understand that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision was a seminal victory for women across the country. Roe allowed American women to be treated a little more equally in our country’s social, political, and economic life.

As a doctor, I understand that the decision to have an abortion is not an easy one. I have never had a woman in my clinic decide to terminate a pregnancy lightly. Like all medical procedures, it is between a woman and her doctor.

As it stands, the GOP’s top priority is creating an anti-abortion mob of vigilantes to patrol the streets, looking for women to turn in for a reward. Make no mistake – this will result in a cottage industry of professionalized bounty hunters looking for vulnerable women to prey on.

Continue Reading...

One Iowa government branch follows science on COVID-19

Republican leaders in the Iowa House and Senate declined this year to require face coverings, social distancing, or other COVID-19 mitigation practices in the state capitol. Governor Kim Reynolds and her staff have been spreading misinformation and casting doubt about whether masks reduce coronavirus transmission in schools.

But one branch of state government is following the recommendations of top scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen signed an order on August 27 stating that “All people entering court-controlled areas must wear a face covering,” even if they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Continue Reading...
View More...