State News Feed

Ethanol lobby threatens Biden in Iowa - POLITICO

Iowa farmers really want Vice President Joe Biden to run. But not necessarily because they’re eager to vote for him.

Instead, at a time that ethanol’s kind of a hard sell, growers of corn and other crops used to make biofuels believe a Biden run would provide them a critical bit of leverage right when they need it. At the moment, the Obama administration is previewing next year’s rules for the amount of ethanol that has to be mixed with gasoline -- a regulation that has fueled the ethanol industry and earned untold millions for corn growers.

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Unfortunately for the farmers, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed reducing the ethanol requirement below the level mandated by law. Coincidentally, the agency is set to finalize that regulation in November -– right when the Iowa political season starts to heat up in earnest before the caucuses in January. And the people who care about this Renewable Fuel Standard are disproportionately in Iowa.


New State Plan Aims To Put Iowa on the Cutting Edge of Energy Policy |

PELLA, Iowa -- Iowa is no stranger to energy production.

"We have a dynamic workforce but our low cost of energy is another reason we stay competitive in the state of Iowa."

But Tuesday's announcement at Pella Corporation was a new step in energy policy. Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said, "Ensuring that our state remains in a leadership position in national energy market is vital for the future growth of our state."


Branstad's new anti-bullying office raises questions | KCRG-TV9

CORALVILLE COURIER EDITOR'S NOTE: A government office of anti-bullying? Really? At what point as a society did we become so default dependent on a government solution for every little thing?  And here's the kicker....  The article below is based on an objection that the state legislature failed to have a part in the creation of the office......  Some elected officials are more *concerned* with the exercise of power and control, rather than recognizing that the anti-bulling office is flat out too much government intervention and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars.  This is a community issue, not a state issue!  State officials and the so-called activists pushing for legislative involvement on this should be ashamed of themselves for seeking a *state solution*.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad's executive order to create an office for bullying prevention in schools bypasses failed legislative action on the issue, but the Sept. 28 move raises questions about how the small office will tackle major problems.

Alan Heisterkamp is the director of the Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Northern Iowa, which will manage the Governor's Office for Bullying Prevention.


Judge declines to intervene in Iowa’s Medicaid plan

Iowa can forge ahead with a quick-moving plan to privatize management of its annual $4.2 billion Medicaid program despite ongoing allegations that nepotism, fraud and inaccuracies played into the state’s selection of for-profit companies to take over the system, a Polk County judge ruled late Friday.

Aetna Better Health of Iowa filed a petition last month seeking a court injunction to prohibit the state from signing contracts on Oct. 9 with four companies in line to take over Medicaid management. Aetna wanted to postpone the signings until after questions about the bidding process are resolved.


Branstad says he won't defund Planned Parenthood in Iowa

Gov. Terry Branstad said Tuesday he doesn’t have legal authority to strip Planned Parenthood of taxpayer funding and any effort to do so would probably result in state officials being sued and losing in court.

Branstad has been under pressure from Iowa Republicans in the House and Senate to eliminate all government funding for Planned Parenthood, including for programs that pay for non-abortion services. He also has come under fire from The Family Leader, a Christian conservative group that notes he pledged to defund Planned Parenthood in his 2010 election campaign.


Treasurer blocks financing plan for Iowa police radio system

IOWA CITY, Ia. — The state treasurer has blocked a proposal by Gov. Terry Branstad's administration to finance a new $68 million communications system for Iowa emergency responders through a lease-purchase agreement with vendor Motorola Solutions.

Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald told The Associated Press that he has refused to approve the deal because it adds roughly $9 million in interest payments to the price during the 13-year term. He noted the state's lease payments would be tax-free income for Motorola, which was chosen last year to build the system following a controversial bidding process.


Chinese Delegates Renew Trade Relations with Iowa |

DES MOINES, Iowa — Members from the Chinese delegation are in Des Moines on Thursday to continue the country’s agricultural trade relationship with Iowa.

Lieutenent Governor Kim Reynolds along with members of the delegation will sign more than a dozen contracts to purchase soybeans and heath products, Thursday afternoon.

Last year, China was Iowa’s fourth largest export market, exporting close to $950 million of food and fuel. This year, Iowa is already above pace to export even more goods than last year.


Kasich ready to make push in Iowa; plans Cedar Rapids visit | KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowans gave John Kasich such an enthusiastic welcome the few times he’s campaigned here that the Ohio governor wants to spend more time in the first-in-the-nation state.

“It really excited him about coming to Iowa more,” Cory Crowley, Kasich’s Iowa campaign director, said.


Iowa land values fall: Survey

ALTOONA – Iowa farmland values continue to fall, though not as fast as they did last winter.

Iowa Realtors released their latest survey results on farmland values on Sept. 23 and it showed prices dropping an average of 3.7 percent between March 1 and Sept. 1. That, combined with the 7.6 percent dip the previous six months, means average values fell 11.3 percent in the past year.