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Senators hear how regulatory burden hurts people in Iowa, Wisconsin

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Regulations often have unintended consequences that harm Americans in unforeseen ways, Iowa and Wisconsin farmers and businessmen told Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Dubuque on Wednesday. 

The hearing, “From Crop to Craft Beer,” examined the effects of federal regulations on agriculture and food producers. 

Total federal regulatory burden now exceeds $2 trillion dollars, according to leading estimates, a sum of more than $14,000 per American household each year. Johnson and Ernst heard how that translates into economic reality. “Overreaching rules and regulations are burdening our employers and our businesses,” said Ernst, "and we’re not growing our economy like we could be and should be because of that.” 

Federal regulators are drastically reducing the allowable level of atrazine that farmers can use. Atrazine, a herbicide in use for more than 50 years and found safe by more than 7,000 studies, would in effect be banned by the new standard, said Jim Zimmermann, a farmer from Rosendale, Wis., who is on the board of the National Corn Growers Association. 

That, he said, endangers water quality. Farmers who use conservation tillage methods see much less erosion of their soil, keeping silt out of waterways. But using safe herbicides such as atrazine is crucial to the effectiveness of conservation tillage, said Zimmermann. “If you’re not able to use atrazine, you’re less likely to use conservation tillage?” ask Johnson. “Yes,” said Zimmermann.

Ernst asked about the effects of new restrictions on the handling of anhydrous ammonia, a commonly used fertilizer. The regulations, said Rick Vaughan, CEO of Innovative Ag Services, a co-op based in Monticello, Iowa, were motivated by faulty logic. And their cost is likely to drive small cooperatives out of the business of offering the product. His cooperative, which is larger, can better handle the cost, but it, too, might make the fertilizer available at fewer locations, leading to more truck traffic on rural roads. 

David Fritz heads the Potosi Foundation, a nonprofit that reopened a long-defunct brewery in Potosi, Wis., and now brews and sells craft beers throughout the region. He noted that the craft brewing movement faces strong regulatory headwinds, especially from health care costs under Obamacare and from the threat of a mandated $15 an hour minimum wage, which hits small brewers that rely on part-time and manual labor to do packaging work that is automated at larger breweries.

Johnson noted that a sharp rise in the minimum wage would hit at a time of unusually low interest rates, making it harder for small companies to resist borrowing to automate. “If you’re worried about providing job opportunities,” said Johnson, “…the last thing you want to do is increase the cost of labor.” 

Fritz agreed with the analysis. “Craft brewers value quality,” he said. "They’ll take care of quality. Just don’t overburden with excessive costs.”





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Audit: 2,300 VA patients in Iowa, SD were on 'ghost panels'

IOWA CITY — More than 2,300 VA patients in Iowa and South Dakota were assigned to primary care "ghost panels," or doctors who no longer worked at their hospitals, a federal audit found.

Critics say the practice is a way that some VA hospitals have made their doctors' caseloads appear artificially small and within federal guidelines. It can also be disruptive for patients, who have to see different doctors if they need care and may face longer wait times.

via www.press-citizen.com


Iowa Secretary of State, Google form partnership to get businesses on the map

DES MOINES - As part of an ongoing effort to promote and encourage entrepreneurship in Iowa, today Secretary of State Paul Pate announced a new partnership with Google to help small businesses get off the ground, grow their online presence and achieve success. New businesses in Iowa can take advantage of Google’s Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map program after they file with the Secretary of State’s Office. Existing businesses can utilize the resources to enhance their digital footprint.

The partnership launched today in the Secretary of State’s booth at the Iowa State Fair, and business owners can visit the booth in the Varied Industries Building throughout the Fair to get started.

As the first stop for businesses in the state, the Secretary of State wants potential new business owners to know there has never been a better time to start a business in Iowa.

“My office is the business portal for Iowa,” Secretary Pate said. “Our goal is to work at the speed of business, not the speed of government, and we want small businesses to succeed. Last year we conducted a record number of new business filings in the state, surpassing the 20,000 mark. This partnership with Google will help these businesses get online and reach more customers. It will be a great asset for our state and our economy.”

The program helps businesses get found on Google Search and Maps, secure domain names, build websites (with free webhosting for one year) and more. Secretary Pate’s office is now listed as an official partner of Google’s program. Businesses can find a link to small business resources on the Secretary of State’s website or at www.gybo.com/iowa-business<http://www.gybo.com/iowa-business>.

“Four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information, yet only 37 percent of businesses have claimed their listing on a search engine,” said Whitney Cox, Small Business Outreach at Google. “Small businesses are the economic engine of local communities in Iowa. When they succeed, our communities do as well.”

Throughout the Fair, representatives from America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) will be on hand to help business owners learn how to use the online resources at the Secretary of State’s booth.

“This partnership is a great opportunity to show the strong collaboration within our state to bring small businesses the very best assistance to help them grow and thrive,” said Lisa Shimkat, Iowa State Director of America’s SBDC.

Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map is a program that empowers communities to support their local businesses and encourage them to get on the map. Local businesses keep our communities strong; when we help them succeed on the web, they make our communities even stronger. Visit www.gybo.com/iowa-business<http://www.gybo.com/iowa-business> to learn more about the program and get involved.


Iowa Secretary of State, Google form partnership to get businesses on the map

DES MOINES - As part of an ongoing effort to promote and encourage entrepreneurship in Iowa, today Secretary of State Paul Pate announced a new partnership with Google to help small businesses get off the ground, grow their online presence and achieve success. New businesses in Iowa can take advantage of Google’s Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map program after they file with the Secretary of State’s Office. Existing businesses can utilize the resources to enhance their digital footprint.

The partnership launched today in the Secretary of State’s booth at the Iowa State Fair, and business owners can visit the booth in the Varied Industries Building throughout the Fair to get started.

As the first stop for businesses in the state, the Secretary of State wants potential new business owners to know there has never been a better time to start a business in Iowa.

“My office is the business portal for Iowa,” Secretary Pate said. “Our goal is to work at the speed of business, not the speed of government, and we want small businesses to succeed. Last year we conducted a record number of new business filings in the state, surpassing the 20,000 mark. This partnership with Google will help these businesses get online and reach more customers. It will be a great asset for our state and our economy.”

The program helps businesses get found on Google Search and Maps, secure domain names, build websites (with free webhosting for one year) and more. Secretary Pate’s office is now listed as an official partner of Google’s program. Businesses can find a link to small business resources on the Secretary of State’s website or at www.gybo.com/iowa-business<http://www.gybo.com/iowa-business>.

“Four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information, yet only 37 percent of businesses have claimed their listing on a search engine,” said Whitney Cox, Small Business Outreach at Google. “Small businesses are the economic engine of local communities in Iowa. When they succeed, our communities do as well.”

Throughout the Fair, representatives from America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) will be on hand to help business owners learn how to use the online resources at the Secretary of State’s booth.

“This partnership is a great opportunity to show the strong collaboration within our state to bring small businesses the very best assistance to help them grow and thrive,” said Lisa Shimkat, Iowa State Director of America’s SBDC.

Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map is a program that empowers communities to support their local businesses and encourage them to get on the map. Local businesses keep our communities strong; when we help them succeed on the web, they make our communities even stronger. Visit www.gybo.com/iowa-business<http://www.gybo.com/iowa-business> to learn more about the program and get involved.


VA Office of Inspector General Investigates Iowa Veteran’s Death Following Requests from Ernst, Grassley, Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today released the following statement after the Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) confirmed their decision to review the circumstances surrounding the death of Iowa veteran Brandon Ketchum, who committed suicide after being denied care at the Iowa City VA Medical Center. The VA OIG’s decision to review the case follows two letters sent to VA officials by Senator Ernst on July 15th, and an additional request on August 2nd from Senators Ernst, Grassley (R-IA), and Johnson (R-WI) to investigate the incident.

“The tragic loss of Brandon underscores how critical it is that every veteran is receiving quality and timely care from the VA. I am pleased that the VA OIG has answered our calls for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Brandon’s death, including the alleged denial of urgent treatment, so we can determine what went wrong and take the steps necessary to ensure this never happens again.”

Click here to read the VA Inspector General’s response to the senators’ request.

Click here and here to read the letters Senator Ernst sent to VA Inspector General Michael Missal and VA Under Secretary for Health David Shulkin on July 15th.

Click here to read the letter Senators Ernst, Grassley, and Johnson sent to VA Inspector General Michael Missal on August 2nd.   


Iowa Secretary of State’s Fair Booth to Feature Presidential, U.S. Senate Straw Poll

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate plans to include a Presidential and U.S. Senate Straw Poll at his office’s booth during the 2016 Iowa State Fair. The unscientific polls can be accessed via iPads at the booth, which will be located inside the Varied Industries Building at the State Fairgrounds. Real time results will be available on the homepage of the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.iowa.gov<http://www.sos.iowa.gov>.

“We hope the Straw Poll will draw people to our booth, where Iowans can also register to vote online, fill out an Honor a Veteran tribute, and learn more about important programs we administer like Safe at Home,” Secretary Pate said. “We are also partnering with Google in a new program that will provide a big boost to Iowa businesses. Details of that will be announced at our booth during the State Fair.”

The State Fair Presidential Straw Poll will include Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and an option for ‘Other’. The U.S. Senate Straw Poll includes options for Chuck Grassley, Patty Judge and ‘Other’. Last year, more than 9,000 people voted in the Secretary of State’s State Fair Straw Poll, which included all of the presidential candidates. Clinton and Trump were the respective winners for their parties.

Visitors to the Secretary of State’s booth can also vote in daily polls with fun topics, such as “What is your favorite new State Fair food”, “What is your favorite bacon dish,” and “Which school had the best 2015-2016 in collegiate athletics”.

“Voting is fun and that is what we want to convey to Iowans,” Secretary Pate said. “Making your voice heard and being a voter should be something people enjoy. An active citizenry is also vital for the future of our constitutional republic. Hopefully this straw poll will spur people to vote in November.”

The Secretary of State’s booth is Number 273, on the second row from the concourse main entrance of the Varied Industries Building. The booth will be open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. throughout the State Fair.


Is Corbett dipping toe into 2018 Iowa governor's race?

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett outlined a statewide plan Friday to improve water quality and reform Iowa income taxes, and he appeared to dip his toe into the 2018 governor's race.

Corbett, 55, a former Iowa House speaker who served 13 years in the Legislature, acknowledged to The Des Moines Register that he's been the subject of gubernatorial speculation. But Corbett, a Republican, said he hasn't decided yet whether to seek a third term as mayor next year, and his trip to Des Moines was solely to promote a public policy discussion.

via www.desmoinesregister.com


Iowa senators back away from Trump comments

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump faces backlash from prominent Iowa Republicans about his response to Khizr Khan’s July 28 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Iowa’s two Republican senators, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, who have supported Trump in the past, distanced themselves from the GOP presidential candidate because of the businessman’s comments on Monday.

via daily-iowan.com