Government

Wearing pearls for Barbara, a push for Marsy's Law, youth straw poll coming soon: Iowa Capitol Digest, April 18

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and GOP women in the Iowa House wore pearls Wednesday to honor the memory of Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday. The former first lady was known for, among other things, her love of pearl jewelry. Reynolds also ordered all state flags to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Saturday in honor and remembrance of Bush. The governor’s order was issued in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s proclamation to lower all U.S. flags to half-staff for the same length of time. (James Q. Lynch/Gazette Des Moines Bureau)
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and GOP women in the Iowa House wore pearls Wednesday to honor the memory of Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday. The former first lady was known for, among other things, her love of pearl jewelry. Reynolds also ordered all state flags to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Saturday in honor and remembrance of Bush. The governor’s order was issued in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s proclamation to lower all U.S. flags to half-staff for the same length of time. (James Q. Lynch/Gazette Des Moines Bureau)

MARSY’S LAW PUSH: Victims and advocates for victims’ rights called on Iowa lawmakers to pass House Joint Resolution 2003 that would add victims’ rights to the state Constitution.

Both the House and Senate Judiciary committees have approved the resolutions but they have not been called up for debate.

Gina Battani of Johnston described the frustration she felt during the investigation of a domestic assault committed by her ex-husband and his trial.

“It seem that offenders’ rights take priority over the victims,” she said at a Capitol rotunda news conference. “Please, legislators, prioritize victims over politics.”

“It seems offenders have all the rights,” added Linda Chapman of Dubuque, whose daughter, Nikki, was killed by a drunken driver with multiple OWI charges.

Eric Baker, the state director for Marsy’s Law, said although the legislative session is nearing its end, lawmakers “have a chance to make things right” by passing the resolution.

Before victims’ right can be added to the state Constitution, the resolution must be approved by the Legislature in two consecutive sessions and then approved by voters. The earliest it could be on the ballot is 2020.

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BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND: Iowa is now one of four states where wind power generates 30 percent or more of the electricity consumed.

Wind power generated a record 6.3 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The impact is more pronounced at the state level where Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota also generated more than 30 percent of their electricity using wind, according to the association.

Nationally, 14 states generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind.

The association also said more American homes and businesses use wind energy than ever before and the industry employs a record 105,500 men and women in all 50 states.

More than 500 U.S. wind-related factories operated in 41 states, employing more than 23,000, the association said.

Wind power’s operating capacity grew 9 percent last year. The installation of 7,017 megawatts (MW) of wind in 2017 brings total U.S. installed wind power capacity to 88,973 MW.

Just under 54,000 wind turbines are operating in 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico — with enough installed capacity to power 27 million American homes.

YOUTH STRAW POLL: High school students are invited to participate in the statewide Iowa Youth Straw Poll that will be conducted by Secretary of State Paul Pate on April 24.

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Thousands of students can cast ballots for their choices in Iowa’s primary races for governor and Congress. Results will be announced Tuesday evening.

Each gubernatorial and congressional campaign for the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties have been sent a request to provide a short video from the candidate with a personalized message for Iowa’s students.

An estimated 4,000 Iowa FFA members will cast their votes in the Youth Straw Poll on April 23 during the organization’s state convention in Ames.

Pate won the 2016 National State Boards of Education Award for Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education for his work in organizing the Iowa Youth Straw Polls and Iowa Youth Caucus.

It is a component of Elections101.org, a free online curriculum developed by Pate and written by Iowa teachers for Iowa students.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When I’m not at home driving my wife crazy, I’ll be out trying to catch that seven-pound bass. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I look forward to the adventure.” — Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, who is retiring after 20 years in the Iowa House.

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