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Iowa Politics Roundup: Vander Plaats Attacks Branstad in First Debate PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 09 April 2010 14:02

Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats came out swinging in this year's first Republican gubernatorial debate, attacking opponent and former Governor Terry Branstad on everything from raising taxes to bringing gambling to the state to appointing two of the Supreme Court justices who wrote the decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Iowa.

"Leadership is also about being honest," Vander Plaats said Wednesday. "Governor Branstad, some of the results are: raising taxes not once but twice; increasing fees 30 times; bringing in gambling, parimutuel betting, the state lottery; growing the size of government two and a half times. Those are also results that we need to be honest with the people of Iowa about."

Iowa Politics Roundup: Ban on Texting While Driving Signed Into Law PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 02 April 2010 12:25

Iowa law-enforcement officials said the real goal of a new state law banning texting while driving is to change the behavior of Iowans. A yearlong campaign to educate drivers about the law will emphasize that when tempted to grab for that cell phone, "it can wait."

"Drive to your destination and then make your phone call or send your text message," said Public Safety Commissioner Gene Meyer. "The goal here is to prevent distracted driving, particularly by reading or typing or sending text messages while driving. We in law enforcement will certainly enforce this law, but the real goal is going to be to change the behavior of drivers."

Governor Chet Culver on Thursday signed the bill into law, hailing it as a significant public-safety measure. As of July 1, it will be illegal for Iowa drivers to read, write, or send a text message while driving. Teens with an instruction permit, restricted license, or intermediate license will be banned from all cell-phone usage, including talking and texting, while driving.

Iowa Politics Roundup: IASB Board Fires Executive Director Over Scandal PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 26 March 2010 13:35

The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) announced the termination of Executive Director Maxine Kilcrease, while the Legislative Council voted to authorize the legislature's government-oversight committees to meet jointly during the 2010 interim to conduct an investigation, issue subpoenas, and take other actions relating to the IASB.

IASB Board President Russ Wiesley said the board voted Thursday to terminate Kilcrease's employment, citing her decision to request and accept a salary increase of more than $100,000 without board approval. The board said Kilcrease also gave raises to several employees at the same time other employees were being terminated for financial reasons; prevented the IASB's auditing firm from providing information to the board; and directed an attorney to threaten the firm.

"We believe this to be in the best interest of the association," Wiesley said. "As a board we feel we were misled and blocked from information, and it has caused a huge amount of distress for this critical Iowa organization we so deeply care about."

Iowa Politics Roundup: Legislators Slam School-Board Association as Hearings Begin PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 19 March 2010 12:22

The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) this past week became synonymous with corruption and scandal and was even compared with the Central Iowa Employment & Training Consortium (CIETC) amid allegations of wrongdoing.

"It's outrageous that these people that are no more than common thieves don't even have the guts to come here and face us today. They will come here before this is over; they'll be here," said Senator Thomas Courtney (D-Burlington). "We spend over $3 billion a year in this state on education and these people found a way to steal some of it."

Iowa Politics Roundup: Tax-Credit-Reform Legislation Unveiled PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 12 March 2010 14:19

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a long-awaited tax-credit-reform package that they said would reduce Iowa's tax-credit liability by $115 million a year; Republicans and business leaders were quick to criticize the legislation and said it sends the wrong message.

"We have listened to the public's anger at abuses and we are responding with historic reforms," said Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. "We are ending some tax credits, cutting many remaining credits, and dramatically increasing accountability for all tax-credit spending."

The unveiling of House Study Bill 738 came two weeks before the targeted March 26 adjournment of the legislature.

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