Government & Politics

Recent Stories

Down In Funding and Polls, Hatch’s Climb Is Steep In Iowa’s Gubernatorial Race

Republican supporters of Gov. Terry Branstad, holding large posters bearing the likeness of his face, pose for a group photo before the Sept. 20 gubernatorial debate in Burlington, Iowa.

Democrat Jack Hatch’s gubernatorial campaign clearly has been in the kind of steep uphill climb you would expect when running against an incumbent like Republican Terry Branstad, especially when Branstad had 22 times more campaign money than Hatch had mid-summer. Continue Reading →

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Gubernatorial Candidates Spar Over Best Way To Provide Jobs In Iowa, Leadership

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, right, and Iowa Sen. Jack Hatch during their debate on economic development and job growth Saturday Sept. 20, 2014, at Edward Stone Middle School in Burlington, Iowa. The 2nd Iowa Gubernatorial Debate was sponsored by The Hawk Eye newspaper, KWQC TV and The Greater Burlington Partnership.

The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor wasted no time digging into the merits of a $100 million tax break that lured a $1.6 billion fertilizer company to Lee County. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and Democratic challenger state Sen. Jack Hatch also lobbed accusations of improper behavior as elected representatives. Continue Reading →

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Iowa Counties Stick To Home To Win Fights Over Frac Sand Mining

An entrance on the west end of a Pattison Sand Company mine in rural Clayton County, Iowa, near the small town of Clayton, on June 24, 2014. Pattison, which produces industrial sand for the natural gas and oil industries, has about 35 acres of underground mine and 300 acres of above ground for plant operations, shipping and storage, ponding and drying, maintenance, a fabrication shop, reclamation areas and an open pit mine.

A group of northeast Iowans effectively is keeping large frac sand mine companies from mining silica-rich sand in their county by building a consortium that set aside politics and focused on dealing with the matter locally, instead of with state intervention. Continue Reading →

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High-Interest Payday Loans Called Predatory, But Regulations Die In Iowa Legislature

Easy Cash Solutions, on First Avenue in Cedar Rapids, is pictured on February 26

Brian Curtis took out his first payday loan when he was 19. It took more than a decade before he got out from under it and the climbing interest payments that followed. “It’s a trap,” he said. Curtis, 37, and living in Davenport, said he had roughly $5,000 in payday loan debt after taking out loans for a $1,500 car repair while living in Florida, and then again when he moved to Missouri and needed a deposit for an apartment. Add to that more than $22,000 in interest that accrued and he said he faced a bill topping $27,000. Continue Reading →

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Alternatives To Payday Loans Exist

The sign for Easy Cash Solutions and the neighboring store, EZ Pawn, on First Avenue in Cedar Rapids is pictured on February 26.

Some financial institutions, banks and credit unions in Iowa are trying to create alternatives to payday loans and help people who are unbanked open accounts. The program provides second-chance bank accounts and small dollar loans. Continue Reading →

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Iowa’s Texting-While-Driving Ban Not Reducing Crashes, Hard To Enforce

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Iowa’s law banning texting while driving is failing to reduce road crashes, and officers seldom enforce it because of legal restrictions, an IowaWatch investigation shows. Crash history reports from the Iowa Department of Transportation show that since the Iowa Legislature enacted it in July 2011, the law has not decreased cell-phone related crashes. Continue Reading →

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Bioengineers Hope Turning Garbage Into Gas Opens A Green Frontier in Iowa, Midwest

pic Ethanol Plant with grass

The thought of turning your dinner table leftovers, old cardboard boxes and even dirty diapers into fuel for your car might sound ambitious, or even absurd. But scientists, bioengineers and profit-minded businesspeople say they can do it. Continue Reading →

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