Civic News & Info
Tentative Agenda Scott County Board of Supervisors PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Chris Berge   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:11

SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11:00 A.M.

January 27, 2012:  (Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Davenport)

Roll Call:  Hancock, Minard, Sunderbruch, Cusack, Earnhardt

1. Legislature Forum for State Legislators and Local Governments.

2. Other items of interest.

Center for Rural Affairs calls for Rural State of the Union PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:04

rural organizations sign letter urging President Obama to remember
rural America tomorrow in his State of the Union Address

Lyons, NE -
Today the Center for Rural Affairs urged President Obama, in his State
of the Union address, to speak to the challenges facing America’s rural
communities by publicly
committing to work with Congress to reauthorize the Farm Bill in a way
that revitalizes the rural communities that form the backbone of our

urge the President to remember the nearly 50 million people who live in
Rural America, not just today but throughout the Farm Bill debate.
America’s rural communities need a robust Rural Development Title, not
just a return to the failed farm and rural policies of the past,” said John Crabtree with the Center for Rural Affairs.

week, a coalition of 28 rural organizations including the Center for
Rural Affairs, sent a letter to the President urging him to address
these issues in the State of the Union (

The organizations to sign the letter included:
Rural Community Assistance Partnership  
American Public Works Association
Center for Rural Affairs
Coastal Enterprises Maine
Corporation for Economic Development
Forest Guild
Homestead Affordable Housing
HomeStretch Nonprofit Housing Corporation
Housing Assistance Council
Illinois Rural Partners
League of Rural Voters
National Association of Counties
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Towns and Townships
National League of Cities
National Network of Forest Practitioners
National Rural Development Partnership
National Rural Health Association
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
NeighborWorks Umpqua
PathStone New York
South Delta Regional Housing Authority
Stand Up for Rural America
The Support Center North Carolina
Watershed Research and Training Center
Wyoming Rural Development Council
YouthBuild USA

For a copy of the letter and complete list of signatories visit:

Opportunities for Rural Communities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Elisha Smith   
Monday, 23 January 2012 16:25

Rural Policy Workshops Held Next Week

Lyons, NE - The Center for Rural Affairs, and the Women Food and Agriculture Network are co-hosting several workshops to discuss how the 2012 Farm Bill and other looming policy debates in Washington will significantly impact rural communities.

“We will also discuss how to communicate with elected officials and other decision-makers, the importance of  local, state and federal policy, how to influence policy decisions that impact you locally, and key issues in the upcoming Farm Bill,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director for Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs.

“The Farm Bill is more than just farm subsidies and crop insurance,” Bruckner continued. The Farm Bill impacts farmers, ranchers, consumers, small towns and rural mainstreet businesses with investments in conservation, nutrition and school lunches, broadband, housing, small business assistance, rural economic and community development, and much more.

Staff from the Women Food and Agriculture Network will discuss how Farm Bill programs can be used to increase conservation practices and help women landowners in Iowa (women own or co-own 47% of Iowa's farmland) make informed conservation decisions and reach their conservation goals.“We are all affected by rural policy,” said Bruckner. “Join us to find out how you can make your voice heard and to share your ideas with us and other rural leaders who can help you make things happen in your community.”

What: Rural policy workshops

When and Where:
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Harlan Dining Room
Thomas Commons Building
Cornell College
810 Commons Circle
Mount Vernon, IA

Thursday, February 2, 2012
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Wild Rose Casino
777 Main Street
Emmetsburg, Iowa

For more information or to RSVP please contact Virginia Wolking at (402) 687-2100 ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Leigh Adcock at (515) 460-2477.

Light refreshments will be provided.

See for more information about the Center for Rural Affairs.

Iowa Supreme Court Schedules Special Evening Session for Item Veto Case PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Monday, 23 January 2012 16:21

Des Moines, January 23, 2012 —On February 21, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the item veto case of Homan v. Branstad beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Supreme Court Courtroom on the fourth floor of the Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines. The evening session is primarily for the convenience of members of the public and state officials who would like to attend. Oral arguments are always open to the public.

For more information, visit

AARP Response to Iowa Utilities Board Staff Memo Analysis of Amended HF 561 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Ann Black   
Monday, 23 January 2012 16:21

Des Moines — A recently released Iowa Utilities Board staff memo critically analyzes a proposed amended version of House File 561, a bill that would allow utilities to raise customers’ rates up front for a possible Iowa nuclear power plant before it is built.  This memo confirms many of AARP’s and other ratepayer concerns and reasons for opposing the proposed legislation.


In the memo, the IUB staff notes the various ways an amended HF 561 not only fails to protect consumer interests, but that the proposed changes to Iowa law would actually create incentives for utilities to behave in a manner contrary to the public interest.


Even with the last minute amendment, the IUB staff writes (on page 3, section 3) HF 561 “would shift nearly all of the construction, licensing and permitting risk associated with one or more nuclear plants from the company to its customers.” The legislation does this by pre-approving spending and guaranteeing utilities can recover pre-approved prudent costs, “including a profit on capital investments.”


The memo also notes that “some of these provisions could create incentives for the company to engage in behavior that could be contrary to the public interest in certain situations.” Among those provisions is a section that would permit the full recovery of all pre-approved expenditures, including profits, even if the utility does not complete the project.


Continuing on page 3, the memo presents one example of “the way the bill shifts risk form the company to its customers and creates undesirable incentives.” For example, what happens if the utility company makes a multi-million dollar construction mistake a few years and $1 billion into the project?  The changes HF 561 makes to Iowa law would “effectively create an incentive for the utility to walk away from the plant” because the utility is already guaranteed recovery and profit on all spending up to that point.


“This memo supports AARP concerns about shifting the high cost and risks to build an estimated multi-billion plant onto ratepayers before it is built,” said AARP State Director Kent Sovern.  “Besides highlighting the ways this bill incentivizes behavior contrary to the public interest, the memo also details ways this legislation would tie the hands of the Utility Board from protecting and advancing the public interest.”


Sovern also praised the Iowa Senate, which did not pass HF 561 last year. “The Senate demonstrated its leadership and its concern for consumers in its refusal last year to pass this legislation. This memo,” Sovern said, “confirms many of the ways this legislation is a raw deal for Iowa consumers.”


AARP is concerned about keeping utility rates affordable and accessible, which is particularly an issue for aging Iowans.  November 2011 data shows that despite the fact Iowa had a relatively mild winter, near record numbers of Iowans were still behind on their utility bills. Iowans can make their voices heard and contact their lawmakers on this issue by calling a statewide toll-free connection to the State Senate at 1-800-480-4075, or on line at

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