Home rule, the Iowa legislature, and your county board

Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese sounds the alarm about a Republican bill that’s stayed mostly below the radar. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Iowa Senate is considering a bill that would force Iowa’s ten most populous counties (and only those ten) to use districts to elect supervisors. Not only that, but supervisors would be elected only by the people in those districts, not by everyone in the county. It’s called House File 2372, and it’s a bad idea. And I say this not just because I have a dog in this hunt.

The numbers say I’d stand a pretty good chance if I were to run for re-election, with or without the districts (no decisions on that yet, by the way, though at this point I don’t see why I wouldn’t). But the aim of the plan–which depending on who you ask is to get either more Republican or more rural representation on the board–is misguided at best, and foolish at worst. There is no legal way to create a majority rural (or majority Republican) district in #JoCo. Why? Because math.

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First look at the Iowa Senate district 21 Democratic field (updated)

State Senator Matt McCoy announced yesterday that he will run for Polk County supervisor rather than for re-election to the Iowa legislature. His decision to challenge longtime Supervisor John Mauro in the Democratic primary sets up a “epic battle of the titans” in the fifth district, covering the south side of Des Moines, much of the city center and south of Grand areas on the west side. It also opens up Democratic-leaning Iowa Senate district 21.

Connie Ryan rolled out her candidacy yesterday but will likely have competition in the June 5 primary.

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Republicans couldn't find one person to testify for bad immigration bill

Republican State Representative Steve Holt has described a bill seeking to ban “sanctuary cities” in Iowa as a “common-sense issue for a lot of people.” At an Iowa House Public Safety subcommittee meeting on January 30, Holt and fellow Republican Greg Heartsill voted to advance this poorly thought-out and possibly unconstitutional legislation, even though supporters couldn’t recruit a single person to speak in favor of it.

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Not with a bang but a whimper - quiet conclusion to Muscatine impeachment

I’ll be stunned if this holds up in court after reading Tracy Leone’s previous reports on the unprecedented effort to remove the Muscatine mayor. -promoted by desmoinesdem

There were almost as many journalists in the room as there were Muscatine residents present when the city council voted unanimously on May 11 to remove Mayor Diana Broderson from office in the conclusion of the first impeachment trial in Iowa history. (Watch the video of the meeting, which lasted less than three minutes.)

The special council meeting was called shortly after the deadline for defense and prosecution attorneys to submit their evidence Tuesday, May 2.

The decision to remove the mayor was the single issue on the agenda. The copies of the agenda sitting on a small table just inside council chambers stated that this would be an “In-Depth” meeting. The second item on the agenda after the roll call said there would be “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Petition to Remove Mayor”. It was followed by four bullet points:

• Post-Hearing Brief in Support of Removal of Mayor – John Nahra
• Finding of Fact and Order on the City of Muscatine’s Written Charges of Removal – John Nahra
• Brief and Memorandum of Law – William Sueppel
• Proposed Decision – William Sueppel

After all this thoughtful discussion from the prosecution and defense, the third item on the agenda there said there would be a time for “Comments”, assumedly from the public.

None of that “in-depth” consideration happened.

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John Norris: Why he may run for governor and what he would bring to the table

With the exhausting battles of the 2017 legislative session behind us, Iowa Democrats can turn their attention to the most pressing task ahead. Next year’s gubernatorial election will likely determine whether Republicans retain unchecked power to impose their will on Iowans, or whether some balance returns to the statehouse.

A record number of Democrats may run for governor in 2018. Today Bleeding Heartland begins a series of in-depth looks at the possible contenders.

John Norris moved back to Iowa with his wife Jackie Norris and their three sons last year, after nearly six years in Washington and two in Rome, Italy. He has been touching base with potential supporters for several weeks and expects to decide sometime in May whether to become a candidate for governor. His “concern about the direction the state’s going” is not in question. Rather, Norris is gauging the response he gets from activists and community leaders he has known for many years, and whether he can raise the resources “to make this a go.”

In a lengthy interview earlier this month, Norris discussed the changes he sees in Iowa, the issues he’s most passionate about, and why he has “something significantly different to offer” from others in the field, who largely agree on public policy. The native of Red Oak in Montgomery County (which happens to be Senator Joni Ernst’s home town too) also shared his perspective on why Democrats have lost ground among Iowa’s rural and small-town voters, and what they can do to reverse that trend.

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Using Iowa's property taxes to solve a non-existent problem

Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese weighs in on how the Republican voter ID bill, House File 516, will affect county budgets, and by extension property taxpayers. The bill is pending in the state House, after GOP senators passed a different version from the bill approved earlier in the lower chamber. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Voter fraud in Iowa, and more specifically voter impersonation, is so statistically insignificant that it is essentially non-existent. It has zero impact on the outcome of our elections. None. Nada. Zip. Bupkis.

Requiring voters to show ID at their polling place accomplishes exactly nothing to protect the integrity of the election. There is one thing it does accomplish, however: lower voter turnout, especially among minorities and the elderly. That is among the reasons why the Supreme Court blocked North Carolina’s version of the law ahead of last fall’s general election, and why it would likely do so with the Iowa proposal.

Before it comes to that, though, House File 516 will raise your property taxes in order to solve a non-existent problem.

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