This week at Moral Mondays IOWA: Subject: Whose Right is it Anyway?

Dear Friends, On Monday, March 27, Moral Mondays IOWA (MMI) will focus on the impact of CAFOs in Iowa. All are encouraged to attend Moral Mondays IOWA each week. This week at Moral Mondays IOWA: Subject: Whose Right is it Anyway? … Continue reading

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Labor History

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Today’s Labor Quote: William Shepherd “The floods of water from the firemen’s hose that ran into the gutter were actually stained red with blood. I looked upon the heap of dead bodies and I remembered these girls were the shirtwaist … Continue reading

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House Ethics Committee admonishes Americans for Prosperity lobbyist

The Iowa House Ethics Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to issue a letter admonishing Americans for Prosperity lobbyist Drew Klein for failing to register his position on a controversial bill scaling back collective bargaining rights.

Iowa law requires lobbyists to “register” their support or opposition to legislation moving through the Capitol in an effort to create transparency. According to the committee, Klein did not officially register his support of House File 291 until after it had already been under discussion. That prompted a complaint from the Iowa Federation of Labor.

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Acosta Testimony Raises Serious Questions and Doubts

Statement by AFL-CIO President Trumka on the testimony of Labor Secretary nominee Alex Acosta to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:

Alex Acosta’s testimony today raises serious questions and doubts whether he is committed to making life better for working families. Mr. Acosta’s nomination was a major improvement over the previous nominee, based on his qualifications, yet he offered no indication that he would use those qualifications to stand up for workers.

The Labor Secretary is not just another Cabinet member – his or her actions directly impact our wages, safety, retirement security and rights on the job every single day. Working people wanted to hear how Mr. Acosta would enforce and uphold labor laws to benefit us and not further tilt the balance of power toward corporate CEOs. Today, presented with the opportunity, he failed to do so and ensure America’s workers he’s on our side.

 

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Call on Health Care

will you make one call today to protect the health care for thousands in Iowa? Congress is scheduled to vote on President Trump’s replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, and the bill would be devastating for our state. … Continue reading

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BRANSTAD/REYNOLDS KEPT NO RECORD OF INVITATIONS TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BILL SIGNING ATTENDED BY KOCH LOBBYIST

AFP Lobbyist Attended HF291 Bill Signing Despite No Record Of Invitations Sent By Branstad/Reynolds Administration DES MOINES — As a result of an open records request, Progress Iowa has learned that the Office of Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds … Continue reading

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Betsy DeVos’ Holy War on Education

Her appointment as education secretary marks the crowning achievement of the Christian right’s campaign to infiltrate America’s secular institutions

A few weeks after September 11th, 2001, with the nation reeling from the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., about 400 or so of the country’s leading Christian conservative investors convened at the luxury Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. They were there for the 17th annual meeting of the Gathering, a four-day, invitation-only philanthropic and networking event for the Christian donor class, whose members often describe themselves, simply, as “believers.” The perks awaiting them in their off hours included a 27-hole golf course, nine crystalline swimming pools and a luxury spa. At dusk, the ruddy hues of the desert rippled across the stone patios where, warmed by fire pits, some of the most important funders of Christian charity, and the Christian right, sipped cocktails and talked about expanding the Kingdom of God.

Among the evangelical super-rich at the Gathering that weekend were Donald Trump’s recently appointed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, and her husband, Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr., scion of the multilevel marketing behemoth Amway. The DeVoses are conservative Christian royalty with deep roots in Republican politics, and Betsy, a skilled political operator, had just finished a stint as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. During a talk one evening in the Phoenician’s elegant grand ballroom, DeVos mentioned her latest project: recruiting Christians to run for the state legislature. “It is critically important that we have believers involved in public life,” she said.

Politics was one facet of a much larger effort the DeVoses called the Shfela. This is the biblical name for the fertile crescent of land between Israel’s Judaean Mountains and the coastal plain, where David fought Goliath and other historic battles were waged between the Israelites and the Philistines. During a recent trip to Israel, the DeVoses had been highly impressed by a story about an archeological dig that unearthed a trove of ancient pig bones in layers of soil dating to the eras when the pagan Philistines held sway. But in other layers of the Shfela, the archeologists found no pig remains at all, suggesting that during these times, the Jews, who kept kosher, had come down from the mountain to spread their religious values among the people. For the DeVoses, the Shfela offered an essential metaphor of the challenges facing modern America. As Dick put it: “How do we get the pig bones out of our culture?”

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Don’t give them a break! Attend a legislative forum this Thursday and/or Friday.

 

Thursday March 23

INDIANOLA

Thursday March 23 – 5:30 PM

Greater Iowa Credit Union 301 Senic Vally Ave. 

 

Friday March 24

BEDFORD

Friday March 24   7AM

Bedford Farm Bureau Office  607 Pollock Blvd

BETTENDORF

Every Friday 9AM at the Happy Joe’s ,2430 Spruce Hill Drive, Bettendorf, IA

 CEDAR FALLS

 Friday March 24: 4:30 PM

Legislative Forum AEA 267 Building on 3712 Cedar Heights Dr.

 CLEAR LAKE

Friday March 24: 10 AM

Clear Lake Bank and Trust, Community Room. 322 Main Ave.

DAVENPORT

Friday March 24 :  9:30 AM

Greatest Grains  1600 North Harrison St.

HAMPTON

Friday March 24, 1 PM

Hampton Chamber of Commerce, 5 First St. SW

KEOKUK

Friday March 24 :  Noon

Hawkeye Restaurant  105 North Park

MONTICELLO

Friday March 24:  Noon

City Hall 200 East First St.

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What Starting Line Has Accomplished – And Why You Should Help – Iowa Starting Line

In the age of Donald Trump, an independent media that holds our elected officials accountable is more important than ever. This is especially true in Iowa, where the new Republican majorities have rammed through an extreme right-wing agenda that brings something new and disastrous seemingly every single day to the Statehouse.

Fortunately for those of us on the left in Iowa, we have a rather robust online news presence from several independent sites and blogs. But it wasn’t always like that, and it didn’t spring up over night. Now it needs your help to keep it going [donate to Starting Line here].

I launched Iowa Starting Line over two years ago to bolster progressive news coverage in the state, in part due to conservatives’ out-sized influence on Iowa politics from their blogs and Twitter presence. In the time since, we’ve seen incredible success. Starting Line has become a must-read for Iowa politics, followed by thousands of Iowa activists, as well as state and national reporters.

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Gorsuch would endanger most vulnerable: persons with disabilities

As the chief Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and as an attorney enforcing the ADA for over 20 years, respectively, we have grave concerns that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has repeatedly ignored critical disability rights laws and hurt children and workers who rely on those laws.

One of the most disturbing areas of that record involves the education of children with disabilities. Until the 1970s, that opportunity was largely denied to students with disabilities.

In 1975, Congress opened the doors to public education for children with disabilities by passing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  While the Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that schools must provide a “meaningful” educational benefit, Judge Gorsuch has held that the law is satisfied if a student with a disability receives “merely … ‘more than de minimis’” educational benefit.

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Victims of Medical Malpractice and Nursing Home Negligence to Speak out Thursday at an Iowa Statehouse Press Conference Regarding Controversial Legislation

MEDIA ADVISORY
Press Conference, Noon, Thursday, March 23, 2017
Contact: Andrew Mertens
andrewmertens@iowajustice.org – 319-759-7088 (c)

Iowans who have been personally impacted by medical malpractice and nursing home negligence will speak out Thursday at the Iowa Statehouse in opposition to controversial legislation (Senate File 465 / House File 487) that would make it more difficult to hold unsafe doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes accountable in court.

    What: Press conference in opposition to a medical malpractice bill (which passed the Iowa Senate and is being considered by the House) which makes it more difficult, and in many cases impossible, for victims of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence to bring a complaint to court.
    Who: Several Iowa families whose lives have been turned upside down by preventable medical errors.
    Where: Iowa Statehouse, room 19 on the ground floor.
    When: Noon, Thursday, March 23, 2017.

The bill places a cap of $250,000 for what a victim and his/her family can recover for the loss of quality of life. This is an arbitrary, government-mandated cap on the value of life. Furthermore, 11 state supreme courts have ruled such caps on damages unconstitutional. Caps on damages are a violation of the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Article 1, Section 9 of the Iowa constitution which states, “the right to trial by jury shall remain inviolate.”

There is no rational basis for limiting the legal rights of Iowans who have been harmed by bad medical care or neglect and abuse in nursing homes.

Iowa doctors pay some of the lowest premiums for medical malpractice insurance in the country, even using their low costs as a recruiting tool for new doctors to come to the state. Over the last 15 years, the number of lawsuits for medical malpractice have fallen by over half in Iowa, and Iowa patients file fewer lawsuits per capita than residents of almost any other state.

There is no medical malpractice crisis in Iowa, there is a medical errors crisis. Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Making it more difficult to hold doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes accountable in court will make medical care less safe in Iowa.

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Grassley flips from roadblock to cakewalk on Supreme Court

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, when Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away, Sen. Grassley didn’t even wait a day after Scalia had died to put out a public statement opposing any nominee made by President Obama. And he followed that up by refusing to hold hearings in the Judiciary Committee, an unprecedented obstruction of the Supreme Court. This year, Sen. Grassley is not only supporting President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, he also proclaimed his support publicly, before he even knew who the nominee would be. Last year Sen. Grassley threw up a permanent roadblock as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and this year he is turning the process into a cakewalk.

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IAJ Statement on Senate Medical Malpractice Bill

Pen stethoscope glasses and dollar on blank Patient information

The Iowa Senate just passed Senate File 465, regarding accountability for medical negligence. See the statement below from the Iowa Association for Justice (IAJ). IAJ is an organization of Iowa trial attorneys who fight for justice in courtrooms and communities across the state.

IAJ Statement
“This bill violates the 7th Amendment constitutional rights of Iowans and threatens the safety of every Iowa medical patient. Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country, and this bill will reduce accountability for doctors and hospitals that refuse to follow even the minimum standard of care.

“This bill creates an arbitrary, government-mandated, one-size-fits-all cap on the value of life; it bars available experts from testifying on the victim’s behalf, and it increases the cost of litigation.

“There is no rationale for this bill, whatsoever. Rates of medical malpractice lawsuits in Iowa have fallen by over 50 percent in the past 15 years, and Iowa doctors pay some of the lowest medical liability premiums in the country. This bill will only allow insurance companies to pocket more of Iowa doctors’ premium dollars at the expense of Iowans who have been killed or devastated by bad medical care.”

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Mark Twain “When all the bricklayers, and all the machinists, and all the miners, and blacksmiths, and printers, and hod-carriers, and stevedores, and house-painters, and brakemen, and engineers, and conductors, and factory hands, and horse-car drivers, … Continue reading

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Not all tax credits are the same Refundable EITC eases poverty for tens of thousands Refundable RAC pads profits for big companies

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Statement of Iowa Fiscal Partnership to House Appropriations Subcommittee Mike Owen, Iowa Policy Project  First, thank you to the subcommittee for this opportunity to address some of the issues raised by HSB187. I would very quickly like to acknowledge that … Continue reading

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Project Labor Agreements – What You Need to Know

Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is a production of our advertising agency, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and Andy Bill MPL 16 March 2017
is the only daily, hour-long business broadcast in the region. The News Hour is made possible through the sponsorship of: The Greater Des Moines PartnershipShaul & Desmond CPA of West Des Moines, Iowa Soft Water of the Des Moines Metro, Aureon of West Des Moines, Iowa Computer Repair of Windsor Heights, ReMax Real Estate Concepts of the Des Moines Metro, the, The Strudl Haus of Des Moines, Tero International, The Kreamer Law Firm of West Des Moines and AARP-Iowa of Des Moines

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: Maryland social studies teacher Ken Bernstein “Too few Americans know labor history and how they have benefited from the efforts of unions. We have a 40-hour work week, defined benefits, higher wages, paid vacations and sick leave, largely … Continue reading

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Jake Highfill Admits He Has Blacklist Of Constituents – Iowa Starting Line

**FILE** Shown in this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, file photo is State Rep. Jake Highfill, R-Johnston, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Saturday’s Johnston legislative forum with Senator Brad Zaun and Representative Jake Highfill resulted in a shocking and outrageous disclosure by Representative Highfill. A question from one of his constituents caused Representative Highfill to admit that he keeps a blacklist of constituents he considers threats because they disagree with him.

Johnston resident Vicki Harris asked Representative Highfill why he never responded to her emails or her Statehouse notes sent to his desk at the Capitol. Representative Highfill said he had 15 requests from Harris on his desk, but refused to respond to her because he felt threatened by her notes. Harris is a very calm and gentle Johnston grandmother. Highfill unapologetically defended blacklisting constituents that disagree with him. He seemed very agitated and tried to defend his so-called threat generated blacklist to Harris but Zaun leaned over and cautioned him to stop talking.

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We need to continue to fight for Iowa workers. – Go to a Forum this weekend!

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We need to make sure our legislators hear from us about the issues we care about, that they know we are paying attention and that WE are their constituents, they are accountable to US for the way they vote. We … Continue reading

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This week at Moral Mondays IOWA: Subject: Causing Injury to Workers’ Compensation

Dear Friends, On Monday, March 20, Moral Mondays IOWA (MMI) will focus on Workers’ Compensation. My apologies for the delay in getting this to you. We had some changes midstream that needed to be confirmed. We need to change the … Continue reading

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