WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Iowa Legislature

A special election will be held August 8 to fill the 82nd District seat in the Iowa House of Representatives. Four people met Friday’s filing deadline to appear on the ballot.

Marching for Planned Parenthood

Jun 8, 2017
Beth Howard

Last month, former Gov. Terry Branstad joined Iowa legislators in eliminating funding for health care clinics that provide abortions. Soon after Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced it would be closing 4 of its 12 clinics in Iowa, including sites in Keokuk and Burlington.

Lee County is one step away from finalizing an increase of the local minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $8.20/hour. Lee would become the fifth county in Iowa to hike the rate in the past 18 months, joining Linn, Johnson, Polk, and Wapello.

www.flickr.com / Brian Turner

Iowa's new budget takes effect July 1 and with it comes some big changes for the Eighth Judicial District Department of Corrections, which encompasses the southeast corner of the state.

Southeast Iowa residents might be surprised by their upcoming property tax bills if the state legislature is not able to reach a decision on public education funding.

Jason Parrott / TSPR

State Senator Rich Taylor (D-Mount Pleasant) is surprised that one of the bills he sponsored this year is not sailing through the Iowa Legislature.

The bill would give residents the authority to call for a special election to "relocate a county seat, establish an additional county seat, or consolidate county seats."  Such a vote would require 60% approval to pass.

There seems to be a disconnect between what the Iowa Legislature has been doing for military veterans and the public’s awareness of it.

One southeast Iowa lawmaker says a lack of action by the federal government is costing both the state and small businesses money.

Governor Terry Branstad used his 2014 Condition of the State Address to show that "Iowa Is Working."

One southeast Iowa lawmaker expects to spend less time in Des Moines this year.

The Burlington School Board would like the the Iowa Legislature to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to new rules and regulations.

One southeast Iowa lawmaker does not believe the state legislature will be able to stop a reduction in local workforce development services.

It’s looking less likely that the Iowa Legislature will adjourn its current session on time.

This week’s guests on Emphasis are State Rep. Dave Heaton (R-Mount Pleasant) and State Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk).

They talk to Public Radio’s Jason Parrott about the Iowa Legislature’s 2013 session.

New SE Iowa Senator Preparing for Session

Jan 7, 2013

Southeast Iowa’s newest state lawmaker says he is still getting used to the state capitol.

Jim Steffen (R-Argyle) says southern Lee County needs a new voice in Des Moines.

State Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) says he has the experience needed to help create and retain jobs in Lee County and Iowa as a whole.

The decision by the Iowa Legislature to revamp the state’s mental health care system has counties struggling to determine their role in the new landscape.

The state will pay for Medicaid-related services, which means counties will receive less in reimbursements.

In response, Des Moines County established waiting lists for a wide variety of services. 

CPC Administrator Ken Hyndman says the idea was to reduce spending in case the county’s budget runs short without certain state reimbursements.

The three candidates for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 42nd Senate District say they will make education a top priority.

Bob Morawitz of Fort Madison, Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant and Donna Amandus of Fort Madison each say improvements to the education system equate to economic development.

Morawitz says the key is improving the workforce, adding “we have a lot of people who do not have the skills and need the training.”

He says that starts with focusing on adult education, especially as industrial jobs become more technology-based.

Lee County is showing support for Keokuk Area Hospital as the Board of Supervisors has pledged $100,000 to the financially-strapped hospital.

There is one condition with the contribution.  It must be matched or even exceeded by the Keokuk City Council.

Keokuk Area Hospital CEO Wally Winkler says the city and county are being asked for support the hospital in the hopes of receiving additional state funding.  He says there is money available to help hospitals, like Keokuk, that receive inadequate reimbursements for services.

Jason Parrott’s guest is Ryanne Wood, who is Lee County’s CPC Administrator.  They talk about mental health care reform and what is being proposed in Des Moines by the Iowa Legislature.

Lawmakers are running out of time during the spring session and there is still plenty of work to do in the area of services for those with mental health or other developmental disabilities.

Some of the more common services include one-on-one sessions, drop-in centers or sheltred workshops.

A southeast Iowa lawmaker says the state needs to put more money into economic development efforts.

The Iowa House has passed the Economic Development Budget bill.

The legislation not only funds statewide economic development efforts, but also agencies like the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Board of Regents, and the Iowa Finance Authority.

State Representative Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) voted against the bill.

A proposal in Des Moines could result in more money for Keokuk Area Hospital.

Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) has filed legislation asking the Iowa Department of Human Services to recalculate one of its hospital funding formulas.

He says the state makes money available to hospitals that do not receive adequate reimbursement for care of low income patients.

Kearns says that state funding can be used to leverage even more federal money.

Two Southeast Iowa lawmakers believe the state’s fuel tax will eventually increase.

State Senator Gene Fraise (D-Lee County) and State Representative Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) do not foresee an increase during an election year.

The two recently spoke to members of the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce during a legislative luncheon.

Fraise says a proposal gaining support in Des Moines would increase the fuel tax by four cents/year for two years.

It would take effect next year.