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This cartoon is admittedly a bit of a rush job.

What did you say we should do about Ukraine?

In early March, Enterprise Media conducted an unscientific poll on its websites for the Spencer Daily Reporter, the Dickinson County News in Spirit Lake and the Kossuth County Advance in Algona. People were asked to select one of several options to answer the following question: What do you say about the U.S. and the situation in Ukraine?

It’s crunch time for eminent domain reform

It’s crunch time in the Iowa Legislature with the looming funnel deadline of March 31. For landowners targeted for eminent domain by the profiteers of the CO2 pipelines, it’s been a years-long David and Goliath fight, and the battle is now taking place in the Iowa Senate.

Some thoughts as eminent domain bill heads to Iowa Senate

Now that the Iowa House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed HF-565, which would require 90 percent voluntary easements before the use of eminent domain, it now will be considered by the Senate sub-committee in order to help protect Iowa landowners from the destruction of our precious valuable farmland and danger to lives from the three proposed hazardous CO2 pipelines in our state.

Bills moving through committees as spring begins

This week I was greeted with spring weather as I arrived in Des Moines and the Iowa State Capitol on Monday. First order of business was organization and scheduling to move bills we are working on out of committee. These bills will then be sent to the House as the House sends their bills to the Senate. Committees are arranged around floor debate. Key bills that were debated this week were:

Mental health legislation moves forward

The Iowa Legislature continues to prioritize expanding access to mental health care in every corner of the state by passing bills to recruit and retain mental health providers to every corner of Iowa. Below is a list of bills that help access to mental health care and where they are at in the process:

Discovery and Daniel Houses look for additional guidance

By Jessica Amendt - Discovery House Director

State of undress

Well, this one might not make it to an actual hard copy page in the DCN. I've gone back and forth about it a few times since sketching it up over the weekend.

Big money and big problems with CO2 pipelines

Sure are hearing lots of rumors about “big” money going to farmers selling out to the pipelines. The number I am hearing might be enough to pay off some credit card bills and put money down on a new combine.
When the pipeline companies say big money this is what they are thinking:

• 12 million tons of CO2 each year
• $85 tax credit per ton
• $1,020,000,000 tax credit annually
• $2.8 million per day
• $116,438 per hour
• $2,000 per minute

A dangerous consequence of public-notice bill: Iowans won't know what they don't know

What separates average-to-good Iowa towns from thriving ones, former Gov. Terry Branstad often said, is the presence of locally owned banks and a dedicated community newspaper.

Community newspapers are a big part of what makes Iowa, well, Iowa.

And that's why it's so troubling that some in the Iowa Senate are considering requiring legal notices to be posted on some to-be-created state-run website and not requiring they be published in a local newspaper.

House passes overdue legislation to realign state government

This week, the Iowa House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation that streamlines and realigns the state government of Iowa. It has been nearly 40 years since the organization of the state government has been evaluated and restructured in order to serve Iowans. In that time, the number of cabinet-level departments and agencies has grown to 37 agencies.

More bills moving to floor for debate

This week has been a very productive week in the Iowa Senate. We have had important bills, debates and meetings take place over the course of the week. I served on several subcommittees, chairing two. We also had a Ways & Means Committee meeting where several bills passed and are now eligible for floor debate. After two days of floor debate in the Senate, the House is now working through several of those bills.

Delivering a strong Farm Bill for Iowa

Every five years, Congress reauthorizes the Agriculture Improvement Act – better known as the Farm Bill – to protect the productivity, profitability and international competitiveness of American agriculture. As the second largest agriculture-producing district in the nation, I am working to ensure that every farmer, producer and agricultural stakeholder in Iowa has a seat at the table when the Farm Bill is negotiated and eventually signed into law.

The fast that delights God ... and us

By Deb Mechler

We have entered the Lenten season, when many of us engage in spiritual practices and rituals leading up to Easter. Roman Catholics have traditionally abstained from red meat on Fridays, thus the increase of fish on menus this time of year. It is a kind of fasting, which has many benefits. In general, fasting helps us remember to focus on God and to appreciate the suffering of Jesus for our sake.

More than just a bill

It's been a while since I had time to sit down and crank out an editorial cartoon for the DCN. But sometimes all it takes to really get you motivated is a topic you really care about.

Important bills move to Senate floor

Funnel week may be over, but that doesn’t mean all of the work is over. Subcommittees will be done for the most part, but now my time will be focused on debate and running the bills I chaired in subcommittee on the floor. This week our focus was on floor debate and sending important bills to the House to be considered.

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