Iowa House Republican shares anti-COVID vaccine memes

State Representative Ray Sorensen included two negative memes about COVID-19 vaccines in his latest weekly newsletter on Iowa legislative happenings.

Since early March, the Republican has regularly shared memes purporting to be humorous near the end of his online updates about bills the House has approved or is considering. The edition Sorensen sent out late last week, covering week 13 of the legislative session, included the following two images, interspersed with memes mocking public assistance programs, feminists, environmentalists, President Joe Biden, and leftist intellectuals.

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What if Iowa’s COVID-19 response had been among nation's best?

Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson compares Iowa’s per capita COVID-19 case rates and death rates to the numbers for neighboring states, the national average, and the best-performing state (Vermont). -promoted by Laura Belin

It is good that Iowans are getting their COVID-19 vaccinations apace. Iowa now ranks in the top half of states for having administered one dose, as gauged by percentage of population, and in the top third of the states for having administered a second.

No matter how well the state performs on vaccinations in the next few months, though, it will never excuse Iowa’s abysmal record over the past year in caring for its residents.

Iowa ranks seventh worst among the states in its incidence of coronavirus cases per capita, and 17th worst in its death rate. In short, Iowa’s political leadership, its perceived commercial imperatives, and its citizens unarguably came up short when compared with the rest of the U.S.

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Exclusive: Iowa governor's campaign opts donors into recurring contributions

Governor Kim Reynolds’ campaign is using pre-checked boxes for online fundraising to drive supporters toward recurring monthly contributions as well as additional one-time gifts.

The donation pages, associated with Facebook and Twitter posts bashing President Joe Biden’s policies, recall “aggressive” tactics President Donald Trump’s campaign used last year. As Shane Goldmacher reported for the New York Times earlier this month, the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee used pre-checked boxes to generate record-setting online fundraising in the summer and fall of 2020, followed by an unprecedented number of refunds to donors who felt duped.

Reynolds campaign representatives did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about the practice.

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Exclusive: Bonuses push five Iowa agency heads above maximum pay

Governor Kim Reynolds has approved bonuses for at least five current state agency directors, allowing them to receive substantially more compensation than the top of the pay scale Iowa law sets for their positions.

The Iowa Department of Administrative Services disclosed information about four agency leaders now receiving such bonuses in response to Bleeding Heartland’s public records request. The Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Erin Jordan was first to report on Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Paul Trombino’s bonus, in an article published April 7.

This post discusses each official’s bonus pay in the order that they were awarded. The governor’s spokesperson Pat Garrett did not respond to an April 7 email seeking to clarify whether any other heads of state departments are receiving greater compensation than the statutory maximum for their positions.

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