IA-Sen: Matt Whitaker bolsters Trumpworld credentials

Although Senator Chuck Grassley is in no hurry to announce his future plans, former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker continues to lay the groundwork for a possible U.S. Senate bid in 2022.

He speaks at GOP gatherings around Iowa, most recently the Johnson County Republican fundraiser on May 5. And perhaps more important for his future prospects, Whitaker helped create the America First Legal organization, which will regularly engage the Biden administration in fights sure to please the Republican base.

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Housing discrimination bill in limbo amid concerns over federal funding

Nearly six weeks have passed since Republican lawmakers approved a bill prohibiting local governments from banning “source of income” discrimination. Yet Senate File 252 still has not been sent to Governor Kim Reynolds, according to the legislature’s website.

While Iowa’s legislature is in session, the governor has three days to sign or veto any bill that reaches her desk, or it will become law without her signature. The governor’s staff often asks for an extra week or two to review a measure’s contents. But there is no recent precedent for the legislature to sit on a bill for this long.

The governor must eventually act on every bill the legislature passes. The unusual delay has fueled speculation that Reynolds may cast a rare veto of a bill approved by the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Communications staff for the governor and legislative leaders did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about why Senate File 252 has been held up. But signs point to the bill jeopardizing some federal housing funds.

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Racial disparities narrow in Iowa's COVID-19 vaccinations

As Iowa prepares to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults on April 5, racial and ethnic disparities in the state’s vaccination rates have narrowed slightly since Bleeding Heartland last reviewed this data four weeks ago. However, people of color have still received far fewer vaccine doses per capita, compared to white Iowans.

At least 1,588,117 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to Iowa residents, according to the state’s vaccination dashboard on April 4. At least 662,885 Iowans have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (that is, two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Another 368,646 Iowans “have received one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series, but have not completed the series.”

Breaking down the numbers by race and ethnicity, it’s apparent that Iowa has a long way to go to achieve equity in vaccine distribution.

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No shirt, no shoes, no shot, no service?

Ira Lacher: If you want to kennel any watchdog proposal in America, no matter how beneficial, just scream “freedom!” -promoted by Laura Belin

“COVID passports” may be well on their way to fruition. The idea of having to produce documentation before you can do what we used to take for granted — like go to a ballgame or board a plane — is gaining traction overseas, where proof of an ultrarecent negative COVID-19 test or vaccination is required to travel freely among European Union countries. Many airlines flying domestically or internationally require similar proof, and you can’t enter the United States from abroad without it.

The next step, proponents argue, is to import the idea. Such proof would be required for interstate travel, and perhaps for more mundane access such as attending a concert or sporting event. Advocates say this would allow more than a small percentage of stadium or arena seats to be filled, permit restaurants to operate at full capacity, and eliminate quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors.

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Randy Feenstra wants to disenfranchise DC voters

With Steve King no longer serving in Congress, I rarely find an Iowan’s name on a short list of U.S. House Republicans doing something outrageous–like the twelve who voted this week against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police, the D.C. police, and the Smithsonian Institution for their work on January 6.

But Representative Randy Feenstra, who defeated King in last year’s fourth district GOP primary, has quietly signed on to a Republican project that is just as offensive to democracy.

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