Government & Politics

Recent Stories

Gun Rights Groups Take Concealed Carry Political Fights To College Campuses

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NEWS21 REPORT: Idaho became the seventh state to allow "campus carry" in a movement gaining traction across the country, despite the often strenuous opposition of other students, faculty and campus administrators. Political battles are being fought in other states, too. 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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Former Iowa State Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Money to Back Ron Paul

Kent Sorenson, former Iowa state senator

A former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he accepted money from the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign to switch his endorsement from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who was also running for the GOP White House nomination. Kent Sorenson, of Milo, Iowa, has been at the center of accusations that he was paid for his endorsement, first by the Bachmann campaign and then by the Paul campaign, in late 2011. Sorenson switched his endorsement at the last moment before the Iowa caucuses in the 2012 race, but vehemently denied he had been paid to do so. Last year, OpenSecrets blog published emails alleged to be between Ron Paul campaign officials and representatives of Sorenson discussing Sorenson’s demands for payment. Later, audio recordings emerged in which Sorenson discussed how a Paul operative named Dimitri Kesari offered him a $25,000 check, written in the name of a jewelry shop owned by Kesari’s wife, to switch sides. Continue Reading →

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Gun Rights Supporters Rely On Individual States To Overcome Federal Controls

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NEWS21 REPORT: Across the country, a thriving dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is prompting a growing spate of bills in state legislatures aimed at defying federal control over firearms - more than 200 during the last decade, a News21 investigation found. Continue Reading →

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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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