Tag: Politics

Gov. Reynolds Takes $13 Million from ‘Rainy Day’ Fund to Cover Budget Shortfall

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s governor has decided not to call lawmakers back into a special session to deal with a shortfall from last year’s budget.

Gov. Kim Reynolds will instead transfer an additional $13 million from state reserves. That’s on top of about $249 million in previous cuts and borrowing from the state reserves.

Reynolds’ budget chief announced Wednesday, a combination of factors led to a lower end of year deficit.

That included higher state collections because workers paid more taxes since many got paid an additional paycheck in June.

Democratic candidate for governor, State Senator Nate Boulton, issued a statement following the announcement of Gov. Reynolds’ plans.

In it Boulton said, “Once again, Iowans are left wondering how Kim Reynolds will balance the budget after she has over extended our state with almost $600 million in annual giveaways to huge corporations. It’s a gamble that isn’t working to increase wages and is ruining state finances. Her previous attempts to fill the holes in our budget have been on the backs of hardworking Iowans, by cutting overtime pay for overtime work, gutting collective bargaining rights, and underfunding our education system.”

Republican Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer praised Reynolds’ decision in a statement released Wednesday.

“Governor Reynolds’ diligent and thoughtful approach was the right decision.  While others were reactionary, she demonstrated the steady leadership Iowans expect.  House Republicans will continue to fight off unsustainable spending schemes proposed by Democrats and will work with Governor Reynolds to keep Iowa moving forward.”

Trump Judicial Nominee Said Transgender Children Are Part of ‘Satan’s plan’, Defended ‘conversion therapy’

In a pair of 2015 speeches, President Donald Trump’s nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas described transgender children as evidence of “Satan’s plan,” lamented that states were banning conversion therapy and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality.

Jeff Mateer, the current first assistant attorney general of Texas, was serving at the time as general counsel of the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty advocacy group known before 2016 as the Liberty Institute. He faced criticism from LGBT rights groups for his work with the organization, such as opposing the expansion of nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people in the city of Plano. If confirmed by the US Senate, he will serve on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

In a May 2015 speech, titled “The Church and Homosexuality,” Mateer discussed a Colorado lawsuit in which the parents of a transgender girl sued her school for preventing her from using the bathroom of her choice.

“In Colorado, a public school has been sued because a first grader and I forget the sex, she’s a girl who thinks she’s a boy or a boy who thinks she’s a girl, it’s probably that, a boy who thinks she’s a girl,” Mateer said in a video posted on Vimeo in 2015 and reviewed by CNN’s KFile. “And the school said, ‘Well, she’s not using the girl’s restroom.’ And so she has now sued to have a right to go in. Now, I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults, a first grader really knows what their sexual identity? I mean it just really shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on.”

Mateer’s nomination comes as the Trump administration has unveiled a series of actions aimed at rolling back advancements for gay and transgender rights. Trump vowed to fight for the LGBT community during his presidential campaign and said last April that people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” Since taking office, however, Trump has withdrawn an Obama administration directive that allowed transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom of their choice and issued a directive banning transgender military recruits.

In that same May 2015 speech, Mateer said that the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage could lead to what he called “disgusting” new forms of matrimony.

“I submit to you that there’ll be no line there,” he said. “And actually in the arguments Chief Justice Roberts, who’s in the center there said, I mean, what is the limiting? Why couldn’t four 4 people wanna get married? Why not one man and three women? Or three women and one man? And we’re gonna spare you some of those slides. We actually have a presentation that we get into it. And I’ll tell you, we say it’s PG-13, it may be R, or what do they call the next one? NC-17 or whatever?”

He continued, “I mean, it’s disgusting. I’ve learned words I didn’t know. I mean, other than…my assistants here, have you ever heard the word ‘throuple’?’Throuple’ so that’s three people coming together of different sexes, maybe mixed sexes. Them coming together. There are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. It’s just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, ‘Oh, that’s not going on in our community.’ Oh yes it is. We’re back to that time where debauchery rules.”

Later that year in November 2015, Mateer lamented that states were banning gay conversion therapy at a conference hosted by controversial pastor Kevin Swanson, who preaches that the Biblical punishment for homosexuality is death.

“Biblical counselors and therapists, we’ve seen cases in New Jersey and in California where folks have gotten in trouble because they gave biblical counseling and, you know, the issue is always, it’s same sex,” Mateer says in audio obtained by CNN’s KFile. “And if you’re giving conversion therapy, that’s been outlawed in at least two states and then in some local areas. So they’re invading that area.”

Groups like the American Psychiatric Association and the American Pediatric Association have condemned the practice as having no scientific basis and the potential to do mental harm.

Mateer did not respond to a request for comment. A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment on Mateer’s remarks.

Special Session Not Likely To Deal With State’s Money Mess

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The state of Iowa hasn't paid its bills from last year. It didn't have the money. The issue isn't new. A plan is now coming.

Governor Kim Reynolds has faced questions for months on how she would deal with the financial problem. On Tuesday morning she announced that her administration will announce on Wednesday what it plans to do.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday) my department of management and revenue are finalizing the numbers, and they will do an update tomorrow (Wednesday) to the media and they will provide all of that information to you tomorrow," Reynolds told reporters.

Will the governor be there? "I won't be at the media update," she responded.

Department of Management Director Dave Roederer and Department of Revenue Director Courtney Kay-Decker will handle the budget briefing Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and announce whether the governor will need to call lawmakers back into a special session to authorize borrowing tens of millions of dollars from state reserves.

Both directors track day-to-day finances of the state. Insiders tell Channel 13 it is unlikely the governor will call lawmakers back into special session. Instead, she could use her authority to transfer up to $50 million from state reserves and then use some type of accounting measures to make up for the rest of the shortfall.

The governor's public schedule shows she will be in six rural Iowa towns on Wednesday, instead of at the State Capitol for the announcement about the much-anticipated blueprint for how to handle the budget shortfall.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour AgriVison Equipment

58668 190th St.

Pacific Junction, IA

8 a.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Water quality best practices farm tour

4077 180th St.

Shenandoah, IA

9:30 a.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour of IWCC CEAM Program, H&H Trailers & MHI

923 E Washington St.

Clarinda, IA

11:15 a.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour downtown Bedford

419 Main St.

Bedford, IA

1 p.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour Dragoon Trace Nature Center

2434 IA-2

Mt. Ayr, IA

2:30 p.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Education” event

Visit Graceland University

1 University Pl.

Lamoni, IA

4 p.m.

The governor did not say why she couldn't hold the budget announcement on Thursday when she is scheduled to be in Des Moines during the day and could deliver the plan herself.

Trump to UN: ‘Rocket Man is on a suicide mission’

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President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that the US would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said during his first address to the UN General Assembly.

“It is time for North Korea to realize that its denuclearization is its only responsible future,” Trump said.

Trump also warned that Kim Jong Un — whom he again referred to as “rocket man” — “is on a suicide mission for himself.”

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself,” he said.

Trump’s strong words came after he made the case that North Korea is a “country that imperils the world” and said that it is in no country’s interest that North Korea continue on its current path of nuclear and ballistic missile development.

He also offered strong words for countries that trade and finance North Korea: “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a nation but would arm supply and financially support a country that imperils the world.”

Trump also suggested on Tuesday he plans to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, saying it was a mistake to enter into the agreement at all.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions,” Trump said.

“That deal is embarrassment to the US and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” Trump said, a sign he’s preparing to weaken the deal.

Trump faces a mid-October deadline for re-certifying Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

Trump noted that terrorists are gaining strength around the world but that peace is possible around the world.

“To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said.

“Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet,” Trump said near the beginning of his remarks.

Trump stated bluntly that certain parts of the world are “going to hell,” suggesting it was within the UN’s power to reverse course.

“Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell,” Trump said.

“The powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations can solve many of these vicious and complex problems,” Trump said.

He said the United States was prepared to combat global instability through military might.

“Our military will soon be the strongest it’s ever been,” he said.

Trump told world leaders that he would not seek to insist their countries adopt US values.

“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch,” Trump said.

He said he would continue to place America’s interests ahead of other countries’, suggesting his counterparts do the same with their own populations.

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first,” he said. “All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own nations.”

Trump opened his remarks touting his economic record, a nod to his core campaign promises of prosperity at home ahead of a major foreign policy speech.

“The United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8,” Trump said. “The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level.”

He cited “regulatory and other reforms” for an economic boom.

Trump has delivered major foreign policy addresses before, to a gathering of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia and in a packed central square in Poland. But the issues at the United Nations are broader, and the geographic spread of Trump’s audience wider. His message here will resonate in capitals worldwide, where officials and leaders are still seeking a cohesive foreign policy doctrine from new American leader.

His speech is a “deeply philosophical address,” according to a senior administration official involved in its drafting, one that frames his foreign policy as a rational attempt to move countries toward working in their own self-interests.

“It’s an incredible moment and an enormous opportunity to demonstrate US leadership and US values,” the official said, saying that was “why (Trump) spent so much time honing and crafting this address to express that vision to the world.”

For a President whose election and elevation to the White House was among the most improbable in modern political history, the United Nations stage represents a presidential setting, even if some in the audience still find the sight of Trump in front of the iconic green marble jarring. Trump’s three eldest children — Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump — were expected to attend his speech, a source familiar told CNN.

Trump has offered a wide range of views on the UN in the past, most recently determining the body is underperforming and inefficient.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said Monday during a meeting about reforming the UN, his first remarks during a hurried week of diplomacy here. “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”

Despite the criticism, Trump has seen some of his top foreign policy victories emerge from the UN’s Security Council, which has passed rounds of sanctions on North Korea for its ballistic missile program.

‘Iowa Nice is More Than Just a T-Shirt Slogan,’ Red Cross Says After Flood of New Volunteers

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  First Harvey hit. Then came Irma. Jose and Maria are now threatening. Mother Nature is bringing a fury of hurricanes, but also a steady stream of Iowa volunteers.

“Iowans are coming out to volunteer and help out,” the American Red Cross Iowa Region’s Senior Volunteer Specialist Tasmania “Taz” Stills said on Monday. “Iowa nice is more than just a t-shirt slogan.”

The numbers tell the story. The Red Cross usually has a list of about 600 Iowans who are signed up as volunteers for disaster relief, but since the hurricanes hit earlier this month, 400 additional people have reached out to the organization about volunteering.

The Red Cross requires a person to be available for a minimum two-week deployment, often on little notice. But lately, Iowans have been asking for more.

“The most common question is definitely, ‘What if I want to stay longer,'” Stills said of what he has heard from volunteers during training.

And what would she tell them? “We will work to make that happen,” Stills said. “We need it, especially in this unprecedented disaster response.”

The Red Cross held an all-day training session for more than  a dozen new volunteers at its Des Moines office on Monday. Volunteers could be deployed to a disaster site as soon as this week.

The Insiders: September 17th Edition, A Controversial Iowa Candidate’s Role in This Year’s Steak Fry

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Polk County Democrats are bringing back their own version of Senator Tom Harkin's Steak Fry, the must-stop event for Democrats who wanted to be president. It's also usually an event for other candidates to speak, too, but candidate Heather Ryan says Democrats don't want her.

Ryan is one of the Democrats running for the third congressional district, but she's offended some leadership and activists because of the four-letter words and other language she chooses to use in public.

Political Director Dave Price talks with Christian Ucles about Ryan's controversial

Swastika and Racist Message Found on Drake University Campus

DES MOINES, Iowa–Drake University President Marty Martin alerted staff and students Sunday that someone carved a swastika into a campus elevator and left a racist message outside an African-American student’s dorm room.

“If we ever thought otherwise, we have been reminded recently that the reactionary forces of intolerance and bigotry remain all too present in American society,” Martin wrote in an email.

Martin’s email also said, “At some point during the weekend someone carved a swastika in the elevator in Olmsted Center. At some point last night someone wrote the most offensive of racial epithets on the whiteboard attached to the door of an African-American first year student. Both of these acts were done in a way that offered the offenders some sense of concealment and no one has come forward to take responsibility for either act. These facts attest to the cowardly nature of the conduct.”

Martin said the swastika had since been removed and the racial epithet had been erased from the student’s whiteboard.

He concluded the email, “Finally, it is likely that a number of individuals reading this message have information that could help us discover the identity of those who committed these acts. I encourage anyone who has such information to share it with a residential life or student life professional, or some other university colleague who will ensure that the information gets to the right place. Being a member of the Drake community means that we don’t stand-by passively when we could step-in and make a difference.”

Read the entire email here.  

Religious and Political Leaders Come Together for Annual Banquet

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  One of the most-watched political events in Iowa kicked off the political season on Saturday night.

The annual Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event started with Pastor Warren Rodgers singing the national anthem. He has been singing at Republican events like this for years, and says despite differing political views he has faith in current political leaders.

"I am very much pleased that Donald Trump reached across the aisle. That is the beginning with his leadership in this particular aspect, that is the beginning of his leadership when he reached across the aisle concerning this matter."

Rodgers is talking about the president's decision to stop DACA, affecting the lives of 11 million children who were brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents.

"Now they're 18, 19 years old and and involved very much in the fabric of our society and make a great contribution, and I just personally believe, it is my prayer that the decision will be made for these kids to be able to stay in the United States of America," he said.

Whether those children can stay is up to Congress to decide. In the meantime, people at the event want local Iowa government to decide what to do with topics like tax reform.

"Events like this help the grassroots send that message to elected officials that we want tax reform and we want it now," said Windsor Heights resident Tyler Raygor.

The main goal of the event is to send a message of hope and pride, while organizers work to educate people and politicians on staying committed to liberty and law.

Senator Joni Ernst and Governor Kim Reynolds were among the speakers both pushing for faith-based voters to hit the polls in 2018.

Iowa, Oklahoma Senators Headlining Annual Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Event

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition is hosting its annual fundraiser to kick off the political season.

Oklahoma senator James Lankford, along with Iowa senator Joni Ernst, will help headline Saturday night's event. Organizers say its purpose is to educate voters and politicians to keep their commitment to liberty and law.

Check-in is at 4 p.m., followed by dinner, and the event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Knapp Learning Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Trump Again Seizes on Terror Incident to Call for Travel Ban

President Donald Trump on Friday again called for the expansion of his travel ban in the wake of an overseas terror incident, railing against “loser terrorists” behind the London Tube explosion.

He also suggested that the perpetrator was known to authorities and recruited on the Internet, prompting a London police spokesperson to publicly rebuke the President.

“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” he tweeted.

“Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!” he continued.

Trump then added, “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

Trump similarly referred to his travel ban back in June immediately after news reports surfaced about the London Bridge terror attacks.

In a fourth tweet Friday morning, Trump said, “We have made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years.Must be proactive & nasty!”

Police say an “improvised explosive device” was detonated on a train in west London Friday, injuring at least 18 people, in an incident authorities are treating as terrorism. Authorities in London are still investigating the attack, and it’s not immediately clear who was responsible or what Trump was referring to in suggesting that the perpetrators were known to authorities.

A police spokesperson told CNN that Trump’s comment is “pure speculation given we don’t know who involved. Any speculation is unhelpful.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was coordinating with the police and authorities and urged Londoners to “remain calm and vigilant.”

Trump called for travel ban after June attacks

This isn’t the first time Trump has used terrorist attacks in London to call for his travel ban. After two terror attacks in the city in June, Trump seized on the moment.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” he tweeted.

Khan and Trump publicly feuded following the June attacks after the US President misconstrued a statement from Khan saying there was “no cause for alarm” due to the visible police activity following the incident.

Trump responded on Twitter: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'”

The Supreme Court granted Tuesday a Trump administration request to continue to bar most refugees under its travel ban.

The travel ban bars certain people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.

The issue concerning the scope of the travel ban has been making its way through the courts since last spring, when the Supreme Court allowed Trump’s ban to go into effect except for those with a “bona fide” relationship to the United States. The order might give hope to supporters of the ban, but it may also simply reflect a desire on the part of the justices to maintain the status quo until the justices can hear the case next month.