The Exchange, January 30, 2018, Automation, Taxes, Leg Roundtable
Legislative Forum, Sioux City Public Museum
The Exchange 013019
Last week, Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor announced that he is running for the 4thdistrict Congressional seat held by Republican Steve King. A Republican who has served in the Iowa House, Taylor says he is Conservative, like King, but says he would speak about important issues like immigration differently.
In: “The way that . ..”
“. . . bring to the table.”
That was Jeremy Taylor, a Woodbury County Supervisor who is running against fellow Republican Steve King in next year’s primary. Taylor served in the Iowa House from 2010 to 2012 before losing his re-election bid to Democrat Chris Hall.
King also faces competition from Republican House member Randy Feenstra and Brett Richards, the mayor of Irwin.
Over the weekend, Congressman King held a town hall in O’Brien County. He wondered aloud how his quote in a New York Times article asking how the term white nationalist became offensive could outweigh 20 years of public service.
Kelly O’Brien of Sanborn, Iowa is the chairman of the O’Brien County Republican Party. He says he’s known King for 30 years and he’s not a racist.
(0128obrien 0:11) I don’t believe anything they’ve been saying about him. I’ve known him for 30 years. I don’t think any of this in the New York Times is true.
King was rebuked by his colleagues in the U.S. House nearly two weeks ago. He says the New York Times quote was taken out of context. King said when he asked “how did that language become offensive?” he was referring to Western civilization only.
You’re listening to The Exchange, on Siouxland Public Media. I’m Mary Hartnett.
On Saturday morning, Siouxland legislators returned home from the State House and took part in a roundtable discussion at the Sioux City Public Museum, organized by the Siouxland League of Women Voters. State Senators, Republican Jim Carlin and Democrat Jackie Smith were present, as well as Republican Representative Jacob Bossman and Democratic Representatives Chris Hall and Time Kacena. The conversation ranged from voter ID laws to privatized Medicaid to proposals to change way Iowa supreme judges are nominated and chosen. However, Governor Kim Reynold’s proposal to pass a constitutional amendment to allow felons to win back their voting rights was one topic that created differences of opinion between Republicans and Democrats.
Sioux City District 14 Representative Tim Kacena said he agreed with the intent of the governor’s announcement, but believed that the goal could be achieved much faster with a different method.
“An executive order at this time would be I think in line to at least get that rolling right now, and then we’ll get the constitution to where we want to read to get that back at that point.”
13thDistrict Democrat Chris Hall agreed.
However, Jim Carlin, a third district state senator, said he didn’t think he would be comfortable with a one-size fits all executive order when it comes to affording felons voting rights.
“I wouldn’t give a blanket approach to that if you’ve been convicted of a felony of violent crime, felony sex abuse, along those lines, those would be some things that I couldn’t get on board with.”
Another constituent asked about the future of the voter ID, which will require voters to show a valid ID when they come to the polls. A District Court judge struck down a part of the 2017 law that prevented Iowa county auditors from using an existing voter database to verify voters’ identity.
The bill, instructed elections commissioners to contact an absentee voter by phone, email, mail, or in person if not enough information was provided on their absentee ballot.
Previously, elections commissioners had to verify a voters’ identity through “the best means possible.”
The suit is one of two against the law. The second is still pending, and aims to turn over the entire law because the law violates the right to vote in the state constitution. Representative Jacob Bossman said the legislature is committed to letting the bill go on and be put in place.
Republican Jim Carlin said he wants to law to be followed as written to make sure all votes are counted, and that getting
ID to use at the polls is not that difficult.
Carlin referenced a state house race in NE Iowa that was decided by nine votes, and the full house decided not to count some contested mail-in absentee ballots on Monday, despite the efforts of Democrats who asked for them to be included.
Democrat Chris Hall also commented on the House 55 race.
Lawmakers were also asked about the Republican proposal to change how state supreme court judges are chosen. Currently, Justices are appointed by the governor.
Iowa's system is merit-based selection. This means there is a nonpartisan nominating commission made up of eight lawyers chosen by the Iowa Bar and eight others selected by the governor. The group reviews applications and chooses candidates they believe are most qualified for the job and give recommendations to the governor for the final say.
A justice serves an initial term of office that is one year after appointment and until January 1 following the next judicial retention election after the expiration of one year. The regular term of office of justices retained is eight years. The justices elect the chief justice. Republicans have claimed that the process is overly political. State Senator Jim Carlin, who is an attorney, believes most Iowa attorneys are Democrats and that affects their choices but still, lawyers should have a say in the process.
“There’s an impetus to . ..”
“. . . of their application.”
Democratic State Senator Jackie Smith disagreed, saying fairness in the choice of supreme judges was imperative.
“I think that . ..”
“. . . changing the process.”Democrat Chris Hall said he was surprised when the process of choosing supreme court judges came up this session.
“This is not an issue . . .”
“. . . the process itself.”
Several of the attendees at Saturday’s roundtable voiced concern that the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System, IPERS, might change from a secure, defined benefit program to one that would be exposed to changes in the financial markets and the economy. Republican Representative Jacob Bossman said his colleagues the House aren’t planning to make any changes to IPERS.
“Anything to become …”
“. . . it will not happen.”
Democrat Chris said he hopes there won’t be any changes in the system but adds that the fear about changing IPERS has been stoked by Republicans lashing out at public sector unions.
“The Senate .. .”
“. . . electoral results.”
Finally, the problems associated with privatized Medicaid were brought up by several at the event. Democrat Jackie Smith said she was concerned as well and said the privatized system was making it hard for skilled care facilities to remain open in Iowa. One in particular was having a hard time getting reimbursed for his by the state, to the point where he didn’t think he could make payroll.
“What he asked for . . .”
“ . . . going forward.”
Republican Jim Carlin said he understands the need to fine-tune the privatized system.
“I think a good . . .”
“. . . preauthorization.”
This was the first legislative roundtable discussion of the 2019 session to be sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Sioux City at the Sioux City Public Museum. The next roundtable will be held at the museum on Saturday, February 23rd.
Iowa lawmakers have also been considering changing the bottle deposit-return law. Republican State Senator Mark Segebart of Vail says most of the county redemption centers have closed because it’s not financially worth their while to take back bottles and cans for a one cent payment per piece.
That was Mark Segebart, Republican State Senator from Vail in Crawford County, who is sponsoring a measure that would amend Iowa’s bottle deposit bill to exempt grocery stores from the list of approved places to redeem cans and bottles. The bill has been approved by a Senate subcommittee. Democratic state senator Claire Celski says she opposes the measure because it largely benefits only grocery stores.
That was Claire Celski, Democratic state senator from West Des Moines who opposes a measure that would focus redemption of cans and bottles to redemption centers and away from grocery stores. The bill has yet to be debated in a Senate committee.
This week is the deadline for employers to send out their W-2’s this tax season. Many of us will find some major changes when it comes to filing our Federal 2018 tax returns. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer talked with CPA Brian Jensen with Houlihan and Associates about the transformation of taxes over the year and what we can expect this year
TAG: That was CPA Brian Jensen with Houlihan and Associates in Sioux City about the changes in the tax law and the potential impact for people as they get ready to file their returns this year. A bill passed in a Senate subcommittee last week that would remove grocery and convenience stores from the law that mandates retailers to redeem bottles and cans. Republican State Senator Mark Segebart of Vail in Northwest Iowa, says