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Under the Golden Dome is Iowa Public Radio's coverage of the Iowa legislature. Each episode is a compilation of the week's news coverage, including stories, interviews and more. The 2017 session finds Republicans controlling both legislative chambers, as well as the Governor's office, for the first time in 20 years. Out of the gate lawmakers are addressing a $100 million shortfall in the current budget. Join us as we navigate issues like education funding, and improving Iowa's water quality. Each week we'll talk with policy makers as well as those impacted by their actions.

Under the Golden Dome is Iowa Public Radio's coverage of the Iowa legislature. Each episode is a compilation of the week's news coverage, including stories, interviews and more. The 2017 session finds Republicans controlling both legislative chambers, as well as the Governor's office, for the first time in 20 years. Out of the gate lawmakers are addressing a $100 million shortfall in the current budget. Join us as we navigate issues like education funding, and improving Iowa's water quality. Each week we'll talk with policy makers as well as those impacted by their actions.
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Under the Golden Dome is Iowa Public Radio's coverage of the Iowa legislature. Each episode is a compilation of the week's news coverage, including stories, interviews and more. The 2017 session finds Republicans controlling both legislative chambers, as well as the Governor's office, for the first time in 20 years. Out of the gate lawmakers are addressing a $100 million shortfall in the current budget. Join us as we navigate issues like education funding, and improving Iowa's water quality. Each week we'll talk with policy makers as well as those impacted by their actions.

Language:

English


Episodes

Under the Golden Dome: Challenges Ahead 5/9/2018

5/9/2018
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The legislature went 18 days past the planned 100 when it finally adjourned on May 5th. The biggest reason for the delay is because House and Senate Republicans took a long time to find agreement on a new tax plan. It will gradually phase in tax reductions over a six year period. The final reductions in taxes will happen in 2023 and 2024 if economic triggers are met. In 2019, tax collections will be reduced by $100 million, while it is estimated $66 million will come in from new taxes on...

Duration:00:44:21

Under the Golden Dome: Leaving Late 4/20/2018

4/20/2018
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Every seat in the House and half in the Senate are up for reelection later this year. Twenty-two legislators are choosing not to come back. In the final days of a general assembly, many give "retirement" speeches on the floor. This week Wally Horn, Bob Dvorsky, Mark Chelgren, and Rick Bertrand are honored with Senate resolutions. In the House, those leaving aren't presented with resolutions, but they are given the floor to address their colleagues. Clel Baudler is the only representative...

Duration:00:19:50

Under the Golden Dome: Taxes, Trade, & Personal Points 4/13/2018

4/13/2018
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There are only a few days before per diems stop for legislators. It's the goal for the session to end by the 100th day -- April 17th -- but with two different tax codes in the works and no fiscal year 2019 budget, it's likely the session will continue longer. This week a public hearing on a House tax code received praise and pushback from around three dozen Iowans. Support ranges from it stimulates the economy to it adds "gravy on our taters." This is a reference to the federal tax breaks...

Duration:00:42:41

Under the Golden Dome: Raising Penalties

4/6/2018
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At this point, it's common to hear bills are enrolled. This means both chambers have approved a bill and it awaits the governor to sign it in to law or veto. Because the chambers are controlled by the same party as the governor, a vetos are highly unlikely. One of the bills awaiting the governor deals with electronic eavesdropping. It passed the House then the Senate where it was amended. As it returns to the House, suddenly Democrats have privacy concerns. Surveillance devices recording...

Duration:00:51:24

Under the Golden Dome: Objections 3/30/2018

3/30/2018
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On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds talks about firing the Director of Iowa Finance Authority, Dave Jamison. She says he was terminated for credible allegations of sexual harassment. She reiterates her zero tolerance policy, but reveals very little about the allegations due to privacy concerns for the victims. In November, Reynolds said a Senate Republican report about past sexual harassment should reveal additional information about past claims while protecting personal information. Reporters...

Duration:00:33:07

Under the Golden Dome: Gains for Guns & Nonpublic Schools 3/23/2018

3/23/2018
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Last year Rep. Matt Windschitl authored a bill greatly expanding gun rights in Iowa. It includes making it legal to carry a concealed pistol in the Capitol with a permit, and a stand your ground provision allowing people to use deadly force if they feel threatened. This year he authored a resolution to add to the state constitution an amendment that would make it more challenging to pass gun restrictions in the future. He floor-managed a three hour debate in the House, where it passed. It...

Duration:00:50:33

Under the Golden Dome: Resignation, Revision and Restriction 3/16/2018

3/16/2018
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Typically, Monday mornings at the Capitol aren't the most active day, but nothing was typical about last Monday morning. Around 10 a.m. a post from a Democratic-leaning blog, Iowa Starting Line, contained pictures and a video of Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix in a Des Moines bar. He is sitting close to a woman lobbyist and at one point it looks like they briefly kiss. Hours later, Sen. Dix resigned from the senate. Jack Whitver was elected as the new minority leader and Charles Schneider...

Duration:00:46:51

Under the Golden Dome: Insurance, Licenses & Energy 3/9/2018

3/9/2018
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As President Trump imposes larger tariffs for metal, he reaffirms his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many agricultural products from Iowa go to Canada and Mexico. As Trump repeatedly says he's willing to start a "trade war", Gov. Reynolds is worried about a backlash. The governor says the president's actions will have unintended consequences for Iowa farmers and manufacturers. However, she does support making some changes to NAFTA. Getting an individual healthcare...

Duration:01:04:35

Under the Golden Dome: Tax Breaks, Backfills, & Prescription Monitoring 3/2/2018

3/2/2018
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Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Jerry Foxhoven as the director of the Department of Human Resources in June. All of the governor's appointments must be confirmed by the Senate. These appointments first must pass a Senate committee, and when Foxhoven's appointment came up for a vote all Democrats voted against. It passed the committee, but to be confirmed Foxhoven must be voted by two-thirds of the full Senate body. They'll probably vote sometime in April. Most of the governor's appointments...

Duration:00:41:29

Under the Golden Dome: Shortfalls and Cuts 2/23/2018

2/23/2018
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During Gov. Kim Reynolds' weekly press conference, she talks about the shooting in a Florida high school that killed 17 people. She reintroduces a Department of Homeland Security public campaign "If You Something, Say Something" as a result of the murders in Florida. Because the crime was committed with a gun, she is asked questions about what firearm control or expansion she supports in the Iowa legislature. She says she doesn't want to comment right now on potential bills until they have...

Duration:00:42:02

Under the Golden Dome: Abortion and Death Penalty 2/16/2018

2/16/2018
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This is the final week for most bills to pass a committee and become eligible for debate in a chamber. It's known as "funnel week." Exceptions are for bills in appropriations, ways and means, government oversight, and administrative rules, which is why most budget bills are approved at the end of a session. On this show, we focus on two bills. One that passed and one that didn't pass through the senate judiciary committee. Both are among the most controversial bills that come before...

Duration:00:37:32

Under the Golden Dome: Managing Opioids 2/9/2018

2/9/2018
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The human brain has opioid receptors that process pain and pleasure. An opioid drug like morphine, oxycodone, or Percocet is often prescribed to alleviate physical pain from a surgery or physical injury. Opioids are addictive. In 2017, about 200 people died in Iowa from an opioid drug overdose. On this show, two bills to help curb opioid drug abuse are moved out of subcommittees. One will require doctors and pharmacies to use an electronic prescription system. There is concern some areas...

Duration:00:30:16

Under the Golden Dome: So Many Subcommittees 2/2/2018

2/2/2018
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Dozens of subcommittees occupy a lot of space and time at the Capitol at this point during the session. These three panel members are a more informal discussion about a bill to determine what needs to be modified, removed or added. Often members of the public offer their input during these meetings. In this program we visit the senate lounge, where two subcommittee meetings are happening a few feet from each other. We focus on the State Government subcommittee’s discussion about a bill...

Duration:00:59:54

Under the Golden Dome: Small Steps 1/26/2018

1/26/2018
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A water quality bill with a long history in both chambers passes and will be the first law Governor Reynolds signs. It started in 2016 during the last general assembly. It passed in the house, but did not get debated in the senate. The general assembly ended, killing the bill. When the senate switched to all Republican for this general assembly starting in 2017, they took up a bill with very similar language and passed it. The house, didn’t like it so Rep. Chip Baltimore wrote an amendment...

Duration:00:41:18

Under the Golden Dome: Changes Recommended 1/19/2018

1/19/2018
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The beginning of the session is a good opportunity for groups to present their recommendations to lawmakers. On Wednesday morning, veterans’ organizations came to the Capitol for that purpose. Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs chair, Dan Gannon, talks with us about three of them: a bill to mandate the POW / MIA flag be flown at state buildings on designated holidays, instill Americanism and Patriotism in grades K - 12, and encourage the judicial branch to expand Veteran’s Treatment...

Duration:00:36:09

Under the Golden Dome: Intentions and Conditions 1/12/2018

1/12/2018
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This is the beginning of the 2018 session where legislative leaders lay out their intentions. During the opening week, party leaders speak about their goals. Republican praise their work from last year and intend to support the governor’s new tax code for Iowa. Only a few details are revealed about a tax code changes, and the governor says the process may take several years. The Republicans want to add more skills to Iowa’s workforce through post high school education, and Democrats agree....

Duration:00:41:15

Podcast: Under The Golden Dome - In Conclusion (4/26/2017)

4/26/2017
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The first half of the 87th General Assembly ends Saturday morning, April 22nd, at 7:15. The chambers are mostly silent as amendments and budget bills are finalized in committees. In the middle of the night, House leaders give their sine die speeches a few hours before adjournment. By daybreak, debate begins for the last bills of the session. One expands medical marijuana and the other is the standing appropriations budget bill. On the floor, one of the last items of the budget to be...

Duration:00:44:16

Podcast: Under The Golden Dome Week 15 (4/21/2017)

4/21/2017
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It's the last full week of the 2017 legislative session with many long and complicated discussions about next year's budget. This week's show stays clear of most of the budget discussion and we can present a final show next focusing on the budget with a wrap up of the past 15 weeks. For this second to last show in the series, we focus on some of the final non-budget bills passing both chambers. A consumer fireworks bill in the House is managed by Representative Matt Windschitl. Days before...

Duration:00:42:56

Podcast: Under The Golden Dome Week 14 (4/14/2017)

4/14/2017
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As the end of the session nears, leaders are often asked a simple "yes or no" about the likelihood of a bill becoming law. The Senate president says a bill that would change how independent water utilities are managed isn't moving forward. This bill's passage would affect the Des Moines Water Works, for example. A last-minute addition of a medical marijuana bill passes through committees and is eligible for debate in the Senate, but even if it gets this far, House leaders say...

Duration:00:33:40

Podcast: Under The Golden Dome Week 13 (4/7/2017)

4/7/2017
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This week, the House passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the state's history. It bans abortions after 20 weeks except when the life of the mother is in danger. The bill originated in the Senate two week ago, but the House makes many revisions. In this podcast, we condense the six-and-a-half hour long debate from the chamber floor to 15 minutes. Last year, the legislature approved funding to fix the Capitol's dome. For a couple of years moisture has gradually been leaking in....

Duration:00:26:49