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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Response to Senator Julian Garrett's racist dog whistle

Nick Mahlstadt responds to the latest newsletter by Republican State Senator Julian Garrett, which is titled “Black Homicide Victims” and enclosed in full at the bottom of this post. -promoted by Laura Belin

Let’s be clear. This is a racist dog whistle piece written by the state senator representing my district, and I won’t be silent. The so-called black-on-black defense is intellectually dishonest and deflects from the actual issues at hand.

Senator Julian Garrett clearly is not interested in grappling with the reality of police brutality, which disproportionally affects people of color in the state of Iowa and the nation. Not only is his commentary a lazy, GOP talking point copy and paste, it perpetuates thinking that causes physical and mental harm to males who are not white and don’t hold power.

First, let’s address his lazy assessment of black-on-black crime.

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An open letter to Iowa GOP lawmakers and Governor Reynolds

Bleeding Heartland user “Bill from White Plains” reviews what some Republican politicians said and did in connection with the proposed state constitutional amendment regarding abortion. -promoted by Laura Belin

March 3 was Planned Parenthood Day on the Hill, and I am sure many of you have been inundated with the genuine and sincere entreaties of friends and fellow members of Planned Parenthood and NARAL to reject the ill-conceived, ill-advised, unrepresentative bills you are herding toward passage regarding restrictions on procedures to terminate pregnancy.

I agree with all of them, and I know that you know these are real constituents with real concerns about private matters that most of you have never experienced, nor will ever experience.

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Republican bill to protect housing discrimination part of a pattern

Matt Chapman closely follows Iowa legislative happenings. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa Senate Local Government Committee has approved a bill that would prevent municipalities from banning discrimination against tenants based on their source of income.

Senate Study Bill 3178 is yet another attack by the majority party on some of the most vulnerable Iowans. Section 8 housing vouchers are for those with nowhere to go, and they only cover half of the rent on apartments or houses.

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Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2020

The Iowa Senate convened for its 2020 session on January 13 with 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Eleven senators are women (six Democrats and five Republicans), up from six women in the chamber before the 2018 elections.

I enclose below details on the majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing Iowa Senate committees. Where relevant, I’ve mentioned changes since last year’s legislative session. A few committees have new Republican leaders. On the Democratic side, Eric Giddens now represents the Senate district where Jeff Danielson resigned last year.

A few words about demographics: all current state senators are white. To my knowledge, the only African American ever to serve in the Iowa Senate was Tom Mann, elected to two terms during the 1980s. No Latino has ever served in the Iowa legislature; in 2014, Nathan Blake fell 18 votes short of becoming the first. No Asian American has served in the Iowa Senate since Swati Dandekar resigned in 2011.

Some non-political trivia: the 50 Iowa senators include two Smiths (a Democrat and a Republican) and two Taylors (both Democrats). As for first names, there are three Marks, three Zachs, and two men each named Dan, Jim, Tim, and Tom.

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Exclusive: Iowa Democrats recall first Congressional vote on Hyde amendment

Forty-three years ago this week, Congress overrode a presidential veto to enact an appropriations bill containing the first ban on federal funding for abortion. Republican U.S. Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois had proposed language prohibiting Medicaid coverage of abortion during House debate on what was then called the Health, Education, and Welfare budget. Ever since, the policy has been known as the “Hyde amendment.”

Four Iowans who served in Congress at the time spoke to Bleeding Heartland this summer about their decisions to oppose the Hyde amendment and the political context surrounding a vote that had long-lasting consequences.

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