Meanwhile, under the golden dome

Meanwhile, under the golden dome

Gazette Column
Welcome back to another year of Legislative Goodness. I’m joined by intrepid reporter Graph Stacker and political analyst Ima Payfordthiss. Anything unusual happen this week, or are lawmakers still deadlocked on school funding? Graph: There was actually movement in the K-12 funding dispute, Lynda. A Democrat-controlled Senate committee approved a 4 percent increase in state aid. As you know, the Republican-controlled House already voted to give schools an extra 2 percent in state aid. Ima: Yet splitting the difference doesn’t seem likely since the 3 percent average is above Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposed 2.45 percent increase. Graph: No one wants another appearance by the infamous veto pen. Is this another legislative session where school funding sucks up all the oxygen? Graph: Well, we’ll have to wait and see what lawmakers…
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Rayhons case reveals law’s flaws

Rayhons case reveals law’s flaws

Gazette Column
Jury selection took place this week in the trial of Henry Rayhons, a former Iowa lawmaker who stands accused of sexual abuse against his ailing wife, Donna. The case hinges on whether or not Donna, who was in a care facility due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, was able to consent to sexual activity and, of course, if sexual activity did occur. The couple, both in their 70s, married in 2007. They each had children from previous marriages and, as it often is in end of life situations, the presence of grown children was not trivial. Early last year, as Donna’s mental capability eroded and safety questions arose, two of her daughters suggested placement in a care facility. Henry balked, later explaining he did not want to be separated and…
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Public K-12 is a solid investment

Public K-12 is a solid investment

Gazette Column
Education funding shortfalls could get worse “It won’t hurt to look.” That was the advice of the school registration worker as she smiled and extended a paper with state income eligibility guidelines toward me. She had asked if our family qualified for free or reduced-priced lunches and I had mumbled something to the effect of, “I doubt it.” So, I took the paper and looked, my finger sliding down to our family size, then across to the yearly totals. It wasn’t even close. As I shrugged and handed the paper back to the worker, her smile widened and turned conspiratorial. “You didn’t know you were rich, did you?” HITTING HOME Every so often, when a writer is truly fortunate, personal and professional collide, allowing for the dissemination of information that…
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