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The Exchange, Condition of The State, Water Issues in the Legislature

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The Exchange 011619

Welcome to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett.  Yesterday, Iowa’s first woman governor gave her first Condition of the State address since being elected in November.  Reynolds took over for longtime Governor Terry Branstad in 2017, after he resigned to become the US Ambassador to China.  

Reynolds talked about several workforce, mental health, and educational initiatives, but the announcement of a new policy on allowing felons to vote.  Reynolds said she ran into a man whom she had returned voting rights, and learned about what it had meant to him.

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivers the Condition of the State Address on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

Reynolds1 :20

“How when . . .”

“. . . dignity back.”

Reynolds went on to reference the Constitution, whose founders included the flexibility to change laws when the passage of time and the changing of minds made that imperative.

Reynolds2 :15

“So let’s . . .”

“. . . in our hands.”

The governor then talked about workforce development, especially the Future Ready Iowa Program. She said the program was an effort to prepare Iowans for dynamic careers and lifelong learning. 

Reynolds3  :17

“Really . . .”

“. . . in Iowa.”

Reynolds said the Future Ready Program directs resources where they are needed most.

Reynolds4: 34

“It identifies . . .”

“. . . new careers.”

The governor also announced her plan to add state funding to future-ready Iowa.

Reynolds5 :

“The time is now . ..”

“. . . last session.”

The governor also discussed preK-12 education and touted the state’s focus on new technologies, teaching strategies and STEM-based education.

Reynolds7: 42

“In August . ..”

“. . . first and second graders.”

Reynolds said her budget includes a more than a two-percent increase in education funding.

Reynolds8 :

“The governor described her hopes for her rural Iowa initiative.

Reynolds9: 38

“As I travel . . .”

“ . . . and ideas.”

Reynolds then talked about meeting her goal to create an integrated health care system in Iowa.

Reynolds11 :34

“We passed . . .”

“. . . the adult system.”

However, the governor did not bring up any of the specific problems with the privatized Medicaid system in Iowa, that include patients not receiving care and providers who are sometimes not paid.  Reynolds did mention with pride the children’s mental health board that began last year. Reynolds said she would be calling on legislators to create a children’s mental health care system.

Reynolds13 :

“I’m also . . .”

“. . . mental illness.”

Reynolds is also proposing funding four new psychiatric residencies at UI Hospitals. 

The governor also focused on training prison inmates so they are prepared to work when they come back into society.  She provided two examples of ex-prisoners who found work and new lives when their sentences were done.

Reynolds14 :

“If you talk . . . .”

“. . . and they succeeded.”

The governor is proposing apprentice programs for inmates and protections from lawsuits for the employers that hire them.  One of the new apprentice programs will be in Newton, Iowa.  She also is promoting the use of Pell grants for prisoners to help them continue their education. 

Governor Reynolds ended her address with an entreaty to lawmakers to pass her initiatives and others that she believes will benefit Iowans.

Reynolds17

Applause fades

After the speech, I spoke with local Democratic and Republican party representatives.  Greg Guelcher is a professor of history at Morningside College, and a past chairman of the Woodbury County Democratic Party and Lance Emke is an attorney who is also a precinct leader for the Woodbury Party Republican Party.  First, I asked them to evaluate the speech.  

That was Greg Guelcher,  a professor of history at Morningside College, and a past chairman of the Woodbury County Democratic Party and Lance Emke, an attorney who is also a precinct leader for the Woodbury Party Republican Party.  We discussed Governor Kim Reynolds Condition of the State Speech that she delivered on Tuesday.  

You’re listening to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media.  I’m Mary Hartnett.  

Last year,  Iowa lawmakers passed a voluntary water quality bill that was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.  It didn’t require comprehensive statewide monitoring of water pollution and excludes benchmark improvement goals, a point some environmental groups argue will lessen its impact.

There have been years of disagreement in the Legislature over how the state should deal with water quality issues. 

This session, there is talk continuing work on water quality issues, even though those bills may not have the support needed to pass.  Today, Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer is live at the Iowa Lakeside Lab, where the water quality experts continue to work for cleaner waterways and sustainable use of lakes and rivers.   Sheila, 

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