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Written by Rep. Mike Smiddy   
Friday, 05 April 2013 09:55
PORT BYRON, IL – State Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) denounced a legislative working group’s recommendations for the state’s concealed carry law on Monday.

Earlier this year, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon invited state senators and representatives from all regions of the state to join her bi-partisan firearms working group to draft recommendations for the state’s expected concealed carry law. The group presented their recommendations, a checklist of criteria, in a letter to the General Assembly.

“I joined the firearms working group to stand up for our Second Amendment rights and serve as a strong voice for law-abiding gun owners in Illinois,” said Smiddy. “Unfortunately, the group’s final recommendations look like typical gun control tactics, which I cannot support. I have not signed on to the firearms working group’s letter, and I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to pass a law that doesn’t punish responsible gun owners.”

Smiddy argues that the group’s recommendations, which include comprehensive background checks and the designation of gun-free zones, place overly burdensome restrictions on gun owners. Other recommendations, such as denying carry permits to anyone appearing to pose a risk or danger to others, are vague. Smiddy believes the state law must set out clear standards of eligibility for a concealed carry permit, not create a system where every county’s rules are different and upstanding citizens can be turned away because of personal or subjective judgments.

“Giving permits only to people determined by some ambiguous definition to not pose a risk leaves the door wide open to deny a permit to virtually anyone and everyone,” Smiddy said. “A concealed carry law is worthless if it’s so watered down that no one can understand it or if only a fraction of law-abiding gun owners can carry legally. While I strongly disagree with my working group colleagues on the group’s final recommendations, I appreciate their efforts and their willingness to join the conversation. We must work together in a constructive way to craft a concealed carry law that make sense and is fair.”

Smiddy is co-sponsoring House Bill 997, a concealed carry bill that respects the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The bill is awaiting a debate by the full House. For more information, contact Smiddy’s office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (309) 848-9098, or toll free at (855) 243-4988.


Teen Poetry Contest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jan LaRoche   
Friday, 05 April 2013 09:12

Students in grades 6-12 can enter one (1) original poem of up to 25 lines for a chance to win a gift certificate of up to $25. Deadline for entries is April 20. Read your poems at the Poetry Café on May 4 at 10:00 a.m. This contest is free and entry forms are available at the Moline Public Library or online at http://molinelibraryteens.. For more information call 309-524-2440 or visit us at 3210 41st Street, Moline, IL 61265 or online at

Branstad: Non-contract employees to earn salary increases, contribute 20 percent of health care costs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Friday, 05 April 2013 09:07

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today released details on the FY 2014/FY 2015 salary and benefits package he has authorized for State of Iowa employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

The governor has approved salary increases for state non-contract employees at the same level as provided to members of the State Police Officers Council—which is a series of one percent non-recurring raises on July 1, 2013, Jan. 1, 2014, July 1, 2014 and Jan. 1, 2015.

In addition, Gov. Branstad has authorized state non-contract employees to participate in health insurance plans that require a 20% employee contribution, but which also allows employees to earn a $90 a month premium reduction in return for participating in new employee wellness programs.  Those participating in wellness programs can significantly reduce their health insurance premium costs.

State non-contract employees will enroll in these new health insurance programs this fall and they will be effective for the calendar year beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.  In the aggregate, the raises provided by Gov. Branstad will exceed the cost of employee contributions to their health insurance plan.

“We want the best possible deal for state workers in Iowa while protecting the taxpayers who fund state government, which is why we are providing both pay increases and wellness programs to this group of state employees,” said Branstad. “We are pleased to offer this great deal for all state non-contract employees, because we will have healthier employees and a better deal for Iowa’s taxpayers.”

“If Iowa is to have the healthiest state in the nation, it is time for Iowans to have ownership of their own health, starting with our hard-working state employees,” said Branstad. “By offering these wellness programs and health risk assessments, these non-contract state employees will identify risk factors to their health and make corrections in order to live long, healthy lives with their families and friends.”

The Governor’s decision includes the following:

  • Employees pay 20 percent of their health insurance premium
  • Implementation of a wellness program through which employees can receive a $90 a month reduction in their health insurance premium
  • A one percent non-recurring salary increase in July and January of both FY 2014 and FY 2015 in lieu of increases in base pay
  • Implementation of merit-based within grade pay increases in each FY 2014 and FY 2015 at the discretion of department and agency directors

The decision covers 3,435 state employees not covered by a collective bargaining contract and will cost $3 million in FY 2014 and $5.7 million in FY 2015.


Branstad, Reynolds praise Vaudt on outstanding tenure of service as Iowa’s “Taxpayer Watchdog” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Friday, 05 April 2013 08:59

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today thanked state Auditor David Vaudt for his service as Iowa’s “Taxpayer Watchdog,” and wished him well as the new chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

Vaudt, who served as Iowa’s state auditor from January 2003 to present, announced today that he is resigning his post following his election to chair the GASB.

Gov. Branstad’s statement on Auditor Vaudt:

“David Vaudt has been a dedicated public servant for the taxpayers of Iowa, and we will miss his incredible work as steward of our tax dollars. David embodied the principles of good budgeting, including not spending more than we take in, and avoiding the use of one-time money for ongoing expenses. David was an outstanding state auditor and will be very difficult to replace. I will look for a replacement who shares David Vaudt’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and knowledge of sound budgeting principles

Lt. Gov. Reynolds praised Vaudt’s commitment to rooting out budget mismanagement on behalf of taxpayers:

“Auditor Vaudt was instrumental in finding cases of budget mismanagement at both the state and local governmental levels, and ensuring those problems were fixed before causing further harm to taxpayers. In looking out for Iowa taxpayers, David Vaudt was always fair in his dealings with local and state officials. You always knew you could count on him for thoughtful audits, information and recommendations. Because of David Vaudt’s outspoken leadership on behalf of Iowa’s taxpayers, our office worked with him to put Iowa’s budget on sound financial footing for the first time in years. It has been a pleasure to work with him on behalf of Iowa’s taxpayers, and his leadership will be missed.”

Branstad notes the search for Vaudt’s replacement will begin immediately.



Details on appointing a new state auditor are as follows:

·        According to Iowa Code Chapter 69, when there is a vacancy in the office of auditor, the governor has the duty to fill the office by appointment.

·        Until an auditor is appointed by the governor, the governor is responsible for maintaining the office and its records in the interim.

·        The person appointed by the governor will serve through the end of the current unexpired term.

·        The next election for auditor will occur during the next regularly scheduled election in 2014.

·        The salary of the auditor is fixed by the General Assembly.

Further information will be available soon for those interested for consideration in serving as Iowa’s next state auditor.


6 Ways Prohibition Defined America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 04 April 2013 07:48
Era Still Encapsulates the Nation’s Unique Culture,
Researcher Says

Today, Prohibition is still very much with us, says award-winning writer and historical analyst Denise Frisino.

“The Volstead Act, which enacted Prohibition in 1919, came after decades of groups pushing for alcohol temperance,” says Frisino, author of “Whiskey Cove,” (, a novel based on firsthand interviews with Prohibition-era bootleggers in the Pacific Northwest.

“When Prohibition was repealed with the 21st amendment in 1933 under Franklin D. Roosevelt, there were lasting consequences from the period – some good, some not so good, but always rich with the color that we expect from Americana.”

Frisino reviews the legacy of Prohibition:

• Female progress: Women’s groups were primarily responsible for the temperance movement, which led to Prohibition. Shortly thereafter, women’s suffrage was achieved with the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  Alcohol had been a major problem since America’s inception, tempting male breadwinners away from their labors – and the income that work provided for their families -- for a few hours of escape. Carrie Nation wielded her signature hatchet and was a radical in the movement, attacking saloons and breaking bottles, barstools and windows. But it was during Prohibition, in speakeasies and other illegal establishments, where liberated women were free to drink in public and, essentially, do as they pleased. “Flapper girls were America’s first ‘Girls Gone Wild,’ ” Frisino says.

• Organized crime: Nothing did more to galvanize organized crime, namely the mafia, than making alcohol illegal. Enterprising bootleggers and rumrunners throughout the country often made small fortunes from illegal hooch, including the prolific Kennedys, who went on to found a political dynasty. The mafia established strongholds in New York City, Chicago and other major cities. Other areas, including the Pacific Northwest, proved tougher for the mob to break into, Frisino found in her research.

• Common cultural denominator: While differences abounded among the ethnicities that make up America’s cultural stew, one thing every culture has in common is an appreciation of alcohol. Whether it’s French or Italian wine, German beer or Scotch-Irish liquor, alcohol has provided a brief respite from a hard day’s work for poor immigrants, and a tangible connection to ancestral heritage.

• The rise of jazz: Synonymous with the time of Prohibition is “The Jazz Age,” which combined a variety of popular music of the day with the musical genre’s roots. Decades earlier, a mix of African and European musical traditions morphed in the Deep South, primarily New Orleans, and spread north. But it was in the speakeasies during Prohibition where audiences were captivated by jazz, which helped define the raucous and liberating spirit of illegal drinking.

• Individualism and freedom of choice: America is founded upon a rugged tradition of revolution, individualism and frontiersmen who like to leave personal decisions to each person. Our Constitution is rooted in the idea of no taxation without representation; similarly, we don’t like freedoms taken away. Our repeal of Prohibition shows that the people are willing to endure certain pains in order to maintain the freedom of individual choice. This concept is gaining more momentum as the debate regarding legalized marijuana continues, with a few states, including Frisino’s home state Washington, moving ahead of the federal government.

• Another Americana genre: The end of Prohibition with the 21st Amendment did not stop criminal organizations like the mafia, which was still in its ascendancy in 1933. Just like cowboys and Indians, an American mythology grew from illegal booze, creating an entire genre of storytelling for pulp novelists and filmmakers. Culture may be the nation’s most important export, and crime-noir storytelling is a prominent tile in the quilt of Americana.

About Denise Frisino

Denise Frisino is an award-winning writer, actress and arts teacher. She has spent her summers playing and working in the numerous islands that define the Pacific Northwest, where her family spans four generations. Frisino and her husband spend time at Hood Canal and reside in Seattle. Her novel, “Whiskey Cove,” is a nominee for the 2013 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award.

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