Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Letter to the editor from Iowa Sen. Liz Mathis.
Tuesday, April 23
To the Editor, Self-government must include the right and means to know what your representatives are doing and why they are doing it. Today, Iowa Republicans and Democrats are working together to make that right a practical reality for average Iowans. Here are the details. When government operates in the dark, a small number of people make big decisions without public oversight. Small problems can be ignored and overlooked. Without the check and balance provided by the public, bad decisions can cause much bigger, more serious problems down the road. This is an area where Iowa is trying to do better. Not long ago, our state received an “F” when it came to public access to information. Iowa’s lack of strong enforcement measures was a…
Sunday, February 24, 2013
A bill is making its way through Iowa House Committees that would give cities more authority over strip clubs.
Are Iowans prudes? A new bill recently clearing an Iowa House subcommittee could make Iowans appear that way. The bill would allow cities to pass ordinances prohibiting nudity in any establishment within their jurisdiction. Iowa strip clubs already must abide by certain restrictions set by city zoning laws and sales tax rules bar the sale of alcohol by businesses that allow public nudity. So what do you think? Should cities should decide what happens in such establishments? The bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Mental health advocates argue that past reform efforts – and there have several of them – have all been driven by limited access, eligibility and affordability and have failed for the same reason: failure by the Legislature to fully pay for the programs.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of three articles in Iowa Patch’s look at the state’s mental health system, its deficiencies and whether a spate of mass shootings should change the conversation. ______________ What worries Earl Kelly, the CEO of one of Iowa’s largest community-based mental health providers, is the $18 million discrepancy between what legislators recommend and the amount state administrators say will be sufficient to implement reforms touted as equalizing Iowans’ access to mental health care. The battle could be contentious as the 86th General Assembly is gaveled into session today. Lawmakers completed an overhaul of the mental health care delivery system last year, moving away from a system under which Iowa’s…
Thursday, January 10, 2013
In the coming days, Patch will look at Iowa’s mental health system, its deficiencies and whether a spate of mass shootings should change the conversation.
From the time seven years ago when she found her son curled in a fetal position under a blanket in a southern Iowa train station until his sudden death last September, Loretta Sieman shuddered at every breaking news report of a mass shooting. The gunman could have been her son, Kevin. A once-gregarious West Des Moines Valley High School football star and student leader, he was diagnosed as an adult as having delusional paranoid schizophrenia. Sieman says the parallels between her son’s symptoms and those of the killers in a spate of mass shootings, including last month’s horrific violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newport, CT, are hauntingly similar. She and other mental health advocates believe such events open a narrow window of…
Thursday, March 15, 2012
The bill, sponsored by Cedar Falls Rep. Walt Rogers, was reported in some media as dead yesterday, but Rogers says he's not giving up yet.
A bill to ban red-light traffic cameras isn't dead yet, despite lacking commitments for the 51 votes it will need to pass the Iowa House of Representatives. "I guess this bill has nine lives," said Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls who sponsored the bill. Some media reports yesterday said the bill would be pulled from consideration during this legislative session. The legislature is moving through a "funnel" week, in which non-spending measures must have cleared one legislative chamber and a committee of the other to remain eligible for consideration this session. With the funnel week ending Friday, the red-light bill did not have enough time to garner more support. Rogers, however, said today the bill is being moved to the appropriations …
Monday, March 12, 2012
A bill in the Iowa State Senate could lead to construction of a nuclear power plant. Since Marion Sen. Liz Mathis has said she is undecided, how would you like her to vote?
A bill under consideration in the Iowa Senate would allow MidAmerican Energy to raise its rates to pay for construction of a nuclear power plant. But the public debate on this bill dovetails with the anniversary of the tsunami that struck Japan last year on March 11, followed by the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The disaster left many skeptical of the safety of nuclear reactors. State Sen. Liz Mathis, whose district includes Marion and Iowa’s only nuclear power plant, in Palo, has said in a recent release that she has not yet made up her mind on the issue. What do you think Mathis should do? Do you have environmental concerns about an additional nuclear power plant? Do you think nuclear power would be good for Iowa and …
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Iowa lawmakers plan to propose an 8- to 10-cents-per-gallon fuel tax increase.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
We spend a lot of money on gas already, and the price is expected to go up. That's why on the surface a suggested Iowa fuel tax hike leaves a sour taste for many motorists, even if the tax is only 8 to 10 cents per gallon and will go to maintain Iowa's roads. Iowans are split on what to do. What do you think? Vote in the Patch Poll below and let us know in comments. In Cedar Falls, lawmakers Sen. Jeff Danielson, a Democrat, says he is keeping an open mind to a gas tax increase because something is needed to take care of the roads, while his colleague Rep. Walt Rogers, a Republican, said increasing a gas tax now would be detrimental to the economy, but added that we need to find a way to improve our roads. Economists, such as Iowa State …