Extreme 16: Voter Suppression Bill Crushes Competition As Number 1 Seed

A really inventive way from the folks at Progress Iowa    https://progressiowa.org  to illustrate how the Republican dominated legislature in Iowa is screwing over Iowa citizens:

 

Image (1) progress-iowa.jpg for post 17381

Attacks on working families, women, LGBTQ Iowans, and institutionalizing racism round out this year’s bracket

Des Moines, Iowa — The votes have been cast and the bracket has been set. This year’s Iowa ‘Extreme 16’ was released today by Progress Iowa, listing the most extreme legislative proposals introduced during the 2021 session. The voter suppression bill dominated the competition as the worst bill, taking the top seed in a field with stiff competition to round out the ‘Extreme 16’ bracket.

The voter suppression legislation was rushed during the pandemic by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Republicans, ensuring Iowan voices were silenced. After casting their votes against the voter suppression bill and these other extreme proposals, Iowans are making it clear: this year’s disastrous legislative session will not be forgotten.

“The competition for this year’s extreme 16 was unfortunately one of the strongest we’ve ever seen,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Gutting public schools, making it harder for Iowa families to get by, legalizing discrimination, and preventing Iowans from voting are just a few of the top seeds in this year’s bracket. To make matters even worse, the Republican controlled legislature barely lifted a finger to help Iowans who are still suffering one year into the pandemic. We hope every Iowan will learn more about the disastrous legislation that’s been proposed this year, and contact their elected officials to put a stop to it.” 

“My basketball bracket is busted, and reviewing this legislative bracket is even more frustrating,” said Iowa Rep. Jennifer Konfrst. “This year Republicans have made one attempt after another to make life more difficult for Iowans instead of serving their constituents, all while hoping Iowans will forget their extreme measures when it’s time to vote next year. But their attacks on working families, women, minorities, and LGBTQ Iowans have gone too far and will not be forgotten. Our friends, family members, and neighbors are under attack from this extreme agenda. The competition for which is most extreme was fierce, but there are no winning proposals on this list.”

Click here to view the bracket along with the entire Extreme 16, including:

  1. Voter Suppression – limiting voter participation with several measures including shortening early and election day voting time (SF413)
  2. Permitless Carry – would allow anyone to purchase a firearm without a permit, which would render a background check useless (HF756/SF535)
  3. Private School Vouchers – diverting public tax dollars to non-public schools (HSB243/SF159)
  4. Food Assistance Cuts – making it harder for Iowans to qualify for food assistance when they need it most (SF 389)
  5. Violating Women’s Privacy – would allow the government to reach out to women who search for abortion options online to attempt to condemn their decision (HF515)
  6. Whitewashing History – would bar diversity training programs to teach about “divisive topics,” essentially rewriting history (HF802)
  7. 1619 Project Ban – would bar Iowa educators from teaching about the 1619 Project, which reframes history with a focus on the contributions of Black Americans as well as the honest history of slavery (HF222)
  8. Anti-Transgender Bathroom Ban – barring transgender students from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity (HF187/SF224)
  9. Unemployment Cuts – enforcing a waiting period for benefits and cutting collection period, putting Iowa families on the brink (HF754)
  10. Unaccountable Charter Schools – adding a new method to create charter schools, which could take tax dollars from established public schools and give them to unaccountable Education Management Organizations, EMOs (HF813)
  11. Abortion Ban Amendment – amending Iowa’s Constitution to state that abortion is banned (SJR2)
  12. Anti-First Amendment – creating harsher sentences for protesters who take part in “unlawful assembly” (SF534)
  13. Legalizing Transgender Discrimination – would allow for discrimination against transgender Iowans by removing gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (HF272)
  14. Forced Unsafe In-Person School – forcing schools to offer full in-person classes regardless of COVID-19 safety protocols (SF160)
  15. Local Budget Revenge – cutting funding to cities and counties that decrease policing budgets for other needs, including mental health professionals (SF479)
  16. Transgender Sports Ban – would bar transgender student athletes from competing according to their gender identity (HF184/HF334)

Editor’s note- This was sent via email last weekend. Since that time Republicans have added a bill allowing private run, for profit charter schools to be established in Iowa (from a later email from Progress Iowa:

There is no way to predict how much the charter school proposal being considered by the Iowa legislature will cost, according to a newly released fiscal note from the Legislative Services Agency (LSA). 

Recent research has uncovered “the hidden world of charter schools” run for profit, where unaccountable Education Management Organizations, or EMOs, can make money by contracting with the newly formed charter school, providing nearly all of the school’s services, each for significant financial gain. According to LSA, there is no way to determine how much these EMOs would receive under the current charter school proposal, House File 813. 

“Would you commit to buy something without first seeing the price tag?” said Senator Sarah Trone Garriott. “This reckless charter school legislation asks Iowa taxpayers to write a blank check and give it to untested and unaccountable private companies. According to the new report from the Legislative Services Agency, we don’t even know how much this will cost us. Public schools across the state are already preparing to cut their budgets because of this year’s inadequate state funding. After a year in which we asked so much of our public schools, it’s an outright betrayal to take even more resources away from our public schools.”

After passing the Iowa House despite receiving bipartisan opposition, HF 813 will now be considered by the Iowa Senate. A growing number of community and advocacy groups have opposed HF 813, led by the Iowa State Education Association, who is organizing an online email and letter campaign, calling on Iowans to contact Senators to express their concerns about the proposal. 

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Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law.

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American Rescue Plan Benefits Iowa Families And Schools

Iowa Kids and Schools win big with the American Rescue Plan. Today, Senator Claire Celsi told the Iowa Senate how the American Rescue Plan will provide a big boost to Iowa kids, their schools, and their families. Thanks President Joe Biden, U.S. Representative Cindy Axne, and all the members of Congress who are helping Iowa recover!

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The Lincoln Project Takes On Murdoch

Oh happy day, finally someone is taking on the cause of most of our problems.

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Statehouse Blue Alert LIVE: Iowa House Democrats

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IDP Picks Erin Davison-Rippey as Executive Director

Erin Davison-Rippey

DES MOINES, Iowa – Erin Davison-Rippey will serve as the Iowa Democratic Party’s Executive Director, working closely with Chairman Ross Wilburn, party leaders, and volunteers across the state to build the party’s infrastructure for long-term progressive wins across Iowa.

“Growing our party and laying a foundation for progressive victories across the state requires a proven, strategic, and engaged leader – that’s why we’re excited to welcome Erin Davison-Rippey as our next Executive Director,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rep. Ross Wilburn. “I’m confident Erin will work with party leaders, electeds, our staff, and all of our partner organizations to prepare for what’s ahead by continuing to hold Republicans accountable and build an infrastructure for electoral success in 2022 and beyond.”

“This is an important moment for Iowa Democrats. After the challenges over the past year, our state is desperate for leadership that will finally give families, workers, and small businesses the tools they need to succeed. That’s exactly what Democrats in the legislature and the Biden-Harris administration are delivering. I’m honored to have this opportunity to work with Chairman Wilburn, party leaders, and partners across the state to grow this organization and help our candidates succeed,” said Erin Davison-Rippey.

Davison-Rippey has witnessed firsthand the importance of strong, progressive leadership in the state. As the former State Executive Director and Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa and Planned Parenthood North Central States, she has worked to build impactful and compelling campaigns around some of the most important issues facing our state. In addition to her work with Planned Parenthood, Davison-Rippey has previously worked with the State Public Policy Group and Youth Policy Institute of Iowa to lead critical initiatives aimed at improving public policy and creating opportunity for everyone.

Davison-Rippey will begin in her capacity as Executive Director on April 5th. Interim Executive Director Blair Lawton will continue to serve as the organization’s Party Affairs Director.

“Blair Lawton has been a tremendous asset during my first couple months as chair. His wealth of knowledge and strong relationships across our state has helped make this transition process smooth and successful,” added Chairman Wilburn.

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Hart: All Votes In IA-02 Election Must Be Counted

Rita Hart Urges House Committee to Apply Iowa Law so All Legal Votes Are Counted in IA-02 Race

Miller-Meeks continues push to disenfranchise at least 22 Iowa voters, Refuses to engage in legal process

WHEATLAND, IOWA — Today, [Monday] in the latest briefing filed with the House Committee on Administration, Rita Hart again made her case that all votes in IA-02 election must be counted, noting that the Committee’s approach to this contested election case is consistent with its authority under Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution and House contest precedent.

Hart filed a Notice of Contest with the U.S. House of Representatives after an initial state recount process left thousands of ballots in question, and specifically disenfranchised at least 22 voters in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Federal law provides that this contest is the proper avenue for Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty and the Committee overseeing the contest decided to move forward with a review of the IA-02 contest on its merits. In fact, Republicans — including Kevin McCarthy — have in the past supported this ordinary, legal process. However, as these Iowans wait for their votes to be counted, Miller-Meeks continues to make substantively flawed arguments that will leave Iowan voters silenced.

“Contestee Miller-Meeks’s adamant opposition to Contestant Hart’s efforts to count these lawful ballots is alarming, but not surprising,” wrote Hart’s attorney Marc Elias, in the briefing. “Her obstruction is consistent with her party’s outright hostility to fundamental democratic norms, from the baseless attempts of its standard-bearer and his allies to throw out hundreds of thousands of lawful votes and overturn the will of the people last November, to its refusal to uniformly condemn the assault on our democracy that unfolded on January 6, to its unanimous opposition to the For the People Act and other legislative efforts to safeguard the vote, to its open hostility to this attempt to prevent the disenfranchisement of 22 Iowans. The position of Contestee Miller-Meeks and the Republican Party is now clear: the right to vote is worthy of neither respect nor protection.”

**To read the full response click here. To read the full Notice of Contest and other documents filed with the Clerk of the House in this contest click here.

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Senator Joe Bolkcom: “This Bill Is A Shell Game”

Senator Bolkcom’s closing comments in committee on SSB 1253, a $152 million dollar property tax increase approved with only Republican votes.

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Voter Suppression In Georgia

Republicans can’t win elections, so they must steal them.

From the Rachel Maddow Show of 3/25/2021 (Last Thursday). As usual, Rachel goes extra deep to ferret out the real meaning:

 

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Sunday Funday: End Of Democracy Edition

 

republicans learned from Trump AHNC

From Heather Cox Richardson: 

The story today—and always—is the story of American democracy.

Tonight, Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia signed a 95-page law designed to suppress the vote in the state where voters chose two Democratic senators in 2020, making it possible for Democrats to enact their agenda. Among other things, the new law strips power from the Republican secretary of state who stood up to Trump’s demand that he change the 2020 voting results. The law also makes it a crime to give water or food to people waiting in line to vote.

The Georgia law is eye-popping, but it is only one of more than 250 measures in 43 states designed to keep Republicans in power no matter what voters want.

<< snip >>

The For the People Act, passed by the House of Representatives, is now going to the Senate. There, Republicans will try to kill it with the filibuster, which enables an entrenched minority to stop popular legislation by threatening to hold the floor talking so that the Senate cannot vote. If Republicans block this measure, the extraordinary state laws designed to guarantee that Democrats can never win another election will stay in effect, and America as a whole will look much like the Jim Crow South, with democracy replaced by a one-party state.

Remember when Ben Franklin answered the question on what type of government e had and he said “A Republic – if you can keep it.” Well, this is the point in history when it is being stolen right in front of us.

  1. President Biden held his long demanded first press conference. What major topic did the press fail to ask even a single question on despite it continuing to be the dominant news story?
  1. Biden also went into detail on what multi trillion dollar proposal that would surpass the recent American Relief Plan for cost?
  1. Kim Janey made headlines last week as the first black female to head what major US city?
  1. Corona virus vaccinations will be available for all Iowans beginning on what date?
  1. Vice-President Harris has been put in charge of trying to straighten what continuing headache left by the previous administration?
  1. It is still Women’s History Month. One of the most overlooked leaders of the suffrage movement, what woman wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923?
  1. 40 years ago Tuesday – March 30, 1981 – John Hinckley Jr. got his 15 minutes of fame when he did what?
  1. What drug maker kind of booted the presentation of their new corona virus vaccine to America’s National Institute of Health?
  1. “It’s sick and un-American. It makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.” What was President Biden referring to when he spoke those words at his press conference?
  1. “When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?’ and my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’ Thus said what SCOTUS justice?
  1. Another mass murder in the US, this time in Boulder, Colorado at what business?
  1. The murder of two prison guards in Anamosa has shed light on AFSCME’s continuing request for what?
  1. Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith defended the rollback on what common voting practice claiming it was against the Ten Commandments?
  1. New York republican representative Tom Reed, expected major opponent to challenge NY Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has resigned congress and said he will not run against Cuomo for what reason?
  1. In a poll by Pew Research, what percent of white Americans said there was “a Lot” or “Some” discrimination against white people?  
  1. Virginia became the first former Confederate state to eliminate what form of punishment last week?
  1. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued long term goals for the department that included longer delivery times, shorter office hours and what third pillar of failure?
  1. Sally Ride! Her name was so fitting for what her role in life was. Sally Ride was America’s first what?
  1. Which country held its 4th election in 2 years last Tuesday?
  1. The founder of BioNTech (Ozlem Tureci) said three weeks ago that the mRNA technology could soon be used on what other major scourge of human health?

background checks AHNC

The only way we will solve the problem of gun violence is by solving the problem of mental illness in Republican Senators. – Andy Borowitz

Answers:

  1. The pandemic
  1. His infrastructure ‘build back better’ plans. Our infrastructure is in bad shape.
  1. Boston – She succeeded new Labor Secretary Marty Walsh
  1. April 5th
  1. Why Latin Americans are leaving their countries
  1. Alice Paul
  1. Shot and nearly killed President Reagan
  1. Astra Zeneca
  1. The 250+ voter restriction bills in 43 state legislatures
  1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  1. King Soopers supermarket
  1. More guards in Iowa’s prison system
  1. Early voting on Sunday. Maybe someone could tell her that the Ten Commandments are not part of our laws?
  1. He too, has been accused of sexual harassment.
  1. 40% (14% “a lot, 26% some)
  1. The death penalty
  1. Higher prices for services. If that isn’t a recipe for failure I do not know what else you could do.
  1. Female astronaut
  1. Israel. Remember Netanyahu cannot be prosecuted for corruption as long as he is PM
  1. Cancer

After 20 small children were massacred at Sandy Hook, President Obama led the charge on common sense gun reform. 

It had sky-high public approval.

The filibuster killed its chances of passage. – Dean Barker

 

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More Gun Violence Deaths

If there seems to be one constant on this country in recent years it is the outbursts of gun violence that is totally senseless. What is just as senseless is Republican politicians who refuse to take any of a number of common sense, simple approaches that could greatly decrease the senseless deaths caused by gun violence not every year in America, but every day.

Every day in this country an average of 100 people die of gun violence. For each of these persons who die there are survivors who will be traumatized to some degree for the rest of their lives. Some will be greatly scarred. Even the family of the perpetrator will be traumatized for the rest of their lives.

Think if you were shot dead tomorrow, how would the people you left behind react. What about Grandma and Grandpa if they are still living? News of your sudden death might kill them in their old age. What about your parents and your in-laws? Here again it may cause health problems among them. There would possibly be much grieving and a loss of belief in most anything.

What about your spouse? Besides being traumatized, your spouse will now have to figure how to live with a huge loss of income to the family. You are very fortunate if you have some form of life insurance, most folks don’t. Even if you do have life insurance will it replace your income?

What about children? Your senseless death will haunt them for years. Will their plans and goals need to change drastically when they have lost a parent? Will they become withdrawn and sullen? 

And then there are extended family such as brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. There are also friends and social networks that you exist in. Most folks are involved in some form of volunteer work including church work to little league to political action or book clubs. Everywhere there will be a hole that will never quite be filled.

That previous exercise is to show just what repercussions one unexpected, senseless death has. Multiply that by 100 a day for 365 days and you have an idea of the scope of the situation.

And yet The Republican Party for at least the last 40 years has stood in the way of even the simplest, most sensible fixes that could easily be implemented. While they give all sorts excuses the bottom line is that guns are a huge business in this country and for a Republican dollars are much more sacred than lives.

For many years Republican politicians have papered over the grief and loss that families and friends are faced with by making some really useless public statement that usually includes a phrase such as “Thoughts and Prayers.” Thoughts and prayers are little more than empty air. They do nothing. 

What Americans need are solid laws that restrict who can get guns, what kind of guns can be bought, how quickly can they be delivered and ways to engineer in safety features. There should also be some form of insurance or funding for victims of shootings.

We have had laws in the past specifying that folks with felonies can’t buy or own a gun. That was accomplished with background checks. Even in these computerized times, background checks should take a few days. Thus, the delivery of the gun should take a few days. If someone is in a huge hurry to get a gun, that is probably an indication that the intention of owning a gun is not a good one. 

The next question is why do we sell weapons of war (AR15s and their ilk) to the average American who is supposedly living in a civil society? There should be no reason that any civilian should own an AR15.

Industry and engineers have always looked to ways to make their products safer, less likely to kill or maim. The great example of that is the automobile. When safety became a top goal in the 70s and 80s it was amazing how cars have been redesigned in such a way that even in some of the worst crashes people are able to survive. Seat belts, collapsable steering wheels and air bags are a few of the changes that have been incorporated.

As has been suggested many times, why do guns not have a fingerprint scanner or an eyeball scanner to validate that the person shooting the gun has been authorized for that gun? To be authorized a person will need to have a background check. There are many variations on this theme.

What about insurance to cover a victim’s losses? Or a victim’s fund that is funded with a large tax on gun purchases.

One suggestion that comes up all the time is to tax the bullets. If each bullet actually cost $10 someone would think a while before shooting.

Here is one suggestion that melds voter suppression with gun laws:

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