State News Feed

ACLU of Iowa Files Complaint on Behalf of Trans Corrections Employee - NBC News

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa filed a complaint on Wednesday with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on behalf of a long-time Iowa Department of Corrections employee who was not permitted to use the bathroom associated with his gender identity.

Jesse Vroegh, a nurse, was denied access to the men's bathrooms and locker rooms at work and was instructed to use a unisex restroom. This unisex facility, according to an ACLU statement, did not have a shower like the other bathrooms and isolated Vroegh from is co-workers.


Iowa to welcome 20,000 cyclists for RAGBRAI | Fitness |

Iowa will feel a little bigger next week.

The state will welcome 20,000 cyclists for the 44th annual RAGBRAI.

The ride starts Sunday in Glenwood, about 25 miles southeast of Omaha. The cyclists will cover nearly 50 miles that day to kick off the weeklong event.

The cyclists pedal between 50 and 70 miles each day, stopping in small towns along the way. Those towns and the people the riders will encounter are what what makes RAGBRAI special, said event director TJ Juskiewicz. He called RAGBRAI the “mecca of cycling.”

“It’s just unmatched, what the people of Iowa can put together,” he added.

New this year is a 1-mile ride of silence on Sunday to remember those who have died while riding their bike.

Having covered the ride’s 420 miles, the cyclists will end their two-wheeled journey on July 30 in Muscatine, Iowa, on the eastern edge of the state.


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Iowa shows commitment to conservation across the state

As a farmer and community member, I’m thankful to call Greenfield, Ia., home, especially as I travel through six Midwest states harvesting wheat. A long rainy spell delaying harvest has allowed me ample time to reflect on how stark the contrast is between the conservation practices of Iowa compared with other states, like Oklahoma or Kansas.

I saw very few obvious and consistent conservation practices. For example, I saw many terraces across these states, but little contour farming to slow soil erosion. In these other states, I saw large, visible gullies from water run-off and few preventative measures to manage heavy rains like cover crops, tile inlets or grass buffer strips (all prevalent and ever-increasing across Iowa). It takes time to achieve conservation goals, money to install them and knowledge and collaboration to make it all work; it’s not happening in other states like it is in Iowa.


Will Iowa students see any more tuition freezes in the future?

With Iowa undergraduates facing a steep tuition increase this fall, many students at regent universities are left wondering whether years’ worth of tuition freezes may have left them worse off than if tuition had increased in more regular $100 or $200 increments.

The Iowa Board of Regents is scheduled Monday to approve adding an extra $300 in resident undergraduate tuition to an already approved $200 increase for the 2016-17 academic year. If approved, the increase would amount to a 7.5 percent year-over-year tuition hike at all three public universities.


Churches fear Iowa law will silence pastors, open church bathrooms to transgenders | Fox News

Congregations across the state of Iowa are in grave danger of having their pastors silenced in the pulpit over LGBT public accommodation rules, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

Fort Des Moines Church of Christ filed what is known as a “pre-enforcement challenge” – arguing that a portion of the Iowa Civil Rights Act is a threat to First Amendment freedoms.


Secretary Pate Statement on Iowa Supreme Court Decision

Below is Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s statement regarding the verdict in the Iowa Supreme Court case, Griffin vs. Pate:

“I applaud the Iowa Supreme Court in their analysis that felonies are infamous crimes, and therefore, felons lose their voting privileges as outlined in the Iowa Constitution. This ruling goes in line with 150 years of precedence and has been reaffirmed by the people of Iowa and their elected representatives on multiple occasions.

“I took an oath to uphold the Iowa Constitution and the laws of our state. That is what I will continue to do and that is what the Iowa Supreme Court did in this case. I agree with Chief Justice Cady, who wrote that the term “infamous crime” was generally recognized to include felonies at the time our Constitution was adopted, and that meaning has not sufficiently changed or evolved to give rise to a different meaning today. My office will continue to work to preserve the integrity and fairness of Iowa elections and strive to help and encourage every eligible Iowan to participate in the electoral process.” – Paul Pate, Iowa Secretary of State

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he has no intention of becoming Donald Trump's running mate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he has no intention of becoming Donald Trump's running mate.

When asked at his weekly news conference whether he'd consider joining a Trump ticket he declined to answer with an emphatic no, but said he didn't want to get into that type of speculation. He says he's honored to serve the people of Iowa and "not intending to be a candidate for national office."


Auditor gives Iowa B-plus on state budget

State Auditor Mary Mosiman is giving the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Terry Branstad high marks in developing an $8.5 billion state budget for the 2017 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The budget represents a spending increase of about 2 percent in state appropriations compared to the current fiscal year. It will be matched by about $7 billion in federal money.

"The budget is stable and responsible," Mosiman, a Republican and a certified public accountant, told reporters Monday at a news conference at her Iowa Capitol office. She joked that she has two daughters who are teachers so she is reluctant to give state officials an A on their budget work, but she felt a B-plus was fair.