Government & Politics

Recent Stories

News21 Report: New Gun Control Groups Are Entering The Gun Debates

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Twenty months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, some would say little has changed when it comes to guns in America. Others would say everything has. A special News21 report explains. 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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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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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

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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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Iowa’s Penalty For Sex With Enslaved Prostitute Has Been Pale When Compared To Drug Charges

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A bill that passed the Iowa Legislature and was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad boosts penalties for human trafficking. Iowa law had considered human trafficking less serious than drug cases. Continue Reading →

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‘Ag-Gag’ Laws On The Rise

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Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting report: Idaho recently became the first state to have both a modern-day farm protection law and an agriculture disparagement, or “veggie libel,” law. Iowa led the nation in 2012 when it passed its own so-called "ag-gag" law. Continue Reading →

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Contradicting Studies On Traffic Camera Safety Impact Make Regulation A Judgment Call

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The “on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand” mix of conclusions from studies and opinions about those controversial traffic cameras has left state lawmakers with this simple fact: Their decision will be a judgment call, not an action on something evident that needs to be fixed. Continue Reading →

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