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The Exchange, Joni Ernst, Govt. Shutdown, Iowa Caucuses


The Exchange 01/23/19


Coming up this week on The Exchange, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says Senate Republicans are working on a compromise bill to end the partial govt. shutdown.


Also, how the shut down could soon affect supplemental food benefits like SNAP, 

and Iowa’s Supreme Court Chief Justice says citizens should be able to deal with minor legal issues online.  :That and more coming up on The Exchange, Wednesday at noon and Friday at 9:00 a.m. on SPR.




You’re listening to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett. Today we hear how a possible plan to allow online dispute resolution in Iowa courts might work.  But first, we talk with Iowa’s junior US Senator Joni Ernst.  Senator Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, Iowa visited Siouxland yesterday.  She started her day by touring the Seaboard Triumph Pork processing plant in Sioux City. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer sat down with her for a one-on-one interview covering everything from controversial remarks made by Steve King to a brief conversation about a news report saying she turned down a chance to be Donald Trump’s vice president. Let’s listen in when they started talking about the partial government shutdown.

Senator Ernst also visited Ida Grove for a town hall meeting yesterday, she toured the Cookie’s BBQ facility in Wall Lake, and then finished the day at a correctional facility in Fort Dodge.   Her trips to Woodbury, Ida, Sac and Webster Counties are part of her 99 County Tour she does each year.

SPR’s Sheila Brummer caught up with Ernst yester morning after Ernst toured Seabord Triumph Foods.

As Senator Ernst says, there is as of today, no end in sight for the partial government shutdown.  That has farmers worried about subsidy payments and millions of Americans who depend on food stamps concerned about their benefits.  Those who are enrolled of the Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program were sent the benefits through February despite the government shutdown, 

However, it is still not clear what will happen at the end of February. Linda Scheid is the executive director of the Food Bank of Siouxland.  Sheid says a lot of people who use the food bank and food pantries are concerned about what will happen with their SNAP benefits at the end of next month.

You’re listening to The Exchange, on Siouxland Public Media. I’m Mary Hartnett.  Last week, Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court Mark Cady gave his condition of the Judiciary speech.  Cady this year asked for more time and money to be spent on electronic access to court documents and processes.  Cady said that technology is propelling courts into a new age of justice.

Cady1 :23 

“ With new opportunities . .. “

“ . . . who are our customers.”

Cady went on to list some of the projects.

Cady2 :15

“Our digital opportunities . . . 
“. . . dispute resolution.”

Cady says Online Dispute Resolution has already begun on other states, with promising results.

Cady3 :18

“The state of Utah . . .”

“ . . .each year. “

Cady says ODR would make life easier for Iowans with court business that would otherwise take time away from the daily responsibilities.

Cady4 :40

“Imagine . . .”

“. . . appearances.”

As Cady says, ODR has already been instituted in several states and the Pew Charitable Trust recently released a study on the process and how to measure its effectiveness.  Erika Rickard is a senior officer for the civil legal system modernization project at The Pew Charitable Trusts.  Rickard says the court system, for the most part, hasn’t evolved to include online processes to make using the system easier for court officers and citizens.

That was Erika Rickard is a senior officer for the civil legal system modernization project at The Pew Charitable Trusts, talking about the benefits of Online Dispute Resolution in the court system.  Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady last week asked lawmakers to help bring the process and its technology to Iowa.  

You’re listening to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett. Last year, lawmakers greatly expanded the rights of Iowans to use firearms in a threatening situation when they passed the Stand Your Ground Law.  This year, lawmakers have introduced a measure that would make it legal for gun owners to bring loaded weapons onto a school parking lot.  Carrying weapons on school grounds is currently illegal.  The bill proposes that a person with a valid nonprofessional permit to carry weapons may carry or transport a firearm on a public or private k-12 school parking area or driveway designed for cars when dropping off or picking up their kids from school. State senator Kevin Kinney is a Democrat from Oxford who is one of three lawmakers on a subcommittee that has initially approved the bill.   He says it would ensure that parents don’t accidentally violate the law for quickly dropping off a child.

You’re listening to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett. The Iowa Caucuses are not quite one year away, and already, Democratic Presidential candidates are visiting Iowa, meeting with voters, holding town hall forums and currying favor with possible donors.  Iowa State University Professor of Political Science Stephan Schmidt has been watching the caucus process for decades.  He says the current crop of largely female candidates have been talking a lot about the dissatisfaction many voters have with the performance of Republican President Donald Trump.

That was Iowa State University Professor of Political Science Stephan Schmidt talking about the candidates so far for The 2020 Iowa caucuses.  They are expected to be the first votes of next year’s presidential election cycle. They are currently scheduled to take place on February 3, 2020.

Finally today,  U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has announced today he will postpone one of two planned town hall meetings, but hold his first meeting of the year on Saturday in Primghar.

A morning release from King's office said the first of the scheduled town hall meetings in each of the 39 counties in Iowa’s 4th congressional district will be held in O'Brien County. The event is open to the public and will be held for an hour, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Primghar Community Building.

The release said the kickoff event, which had been first announced to be held on Thursday, will be postponed, due to "recently announced changes in the House of Representative’s voting schedule."

This was the first word from King's team on the timing and place of the town hall meetings, since King on Jan. 4 announced he would hold the events throughout the year. King's office and top spokespersons had not responded to a series of Journal inquiries about details for this week's meetings.

Unlike many members of Congress, the nine-term incumbent has shunned town halls in recent years, saying he feared out-of-state paid protesters would hijack the meetings and prevent district voters from asking their questions and voicing concerns. He also expressed concerns for his own safety, citing a Republican House leader who was wounded after a gunman opened fire at baseball practice for GOP House members two years ago in suburban Virginia.

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