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Approaching end of first Legislative Session with new bills
by Ashley Hinson State Representative · March 23rd, 2017
It is hard to believe we are only about a month away from the end of the 2017 Legislative Session. By my count, we debated and voted on more than 30 bills this past week; most garnering full bipartisan support. The topics of the legislation ranged from education to family support.

Efforts on three reforms begin to come to fruition in Iowa legislature
by Ken Rizer State Representative · March 23rd, 2017
Getting House colleagues to agree with various proposals is always a challenge, but I've found that persistence pays off. This week, three issues I've been personally working for years all came to a head and passed significant hurdles. I am proud to announce that my efforts on synthetic drugs, privacy rights, and alcohol reform all passed major milestones en route to becoming law.
 


Living in Iowa: Longest-running satellite has big Iowa roots
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · March 23rd, 2017
Last Friday was the 50th birthday of one of America's greatest explorers, now largely forgotten. This unique pioneer has traveled more than six billion miles and shows no sign of slowing down, despite being officially retired. Vanguard 1 was launched on St. Patrick's Day 1958 to become Earth's fourth and longest continuously orbiting artificial satellite. The six-inch diameter scientific instrument, which Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev mocked as a "grapefruit satellite," has now completed more than 197,000 Earth orbits and was the first satellite powered by solar cells. And its creation and success is due in no small part to Iowa's own genius rocket scientist James Van Allen.

Senator Mathis on Voter ID law under Senate consideration
by Liz Mathis State Senator · March 23rd, 2017
I had a nice conversation with Linn County Auditor, Joel Miller about the voter ID bill, also known as the Election Modernization and Integrity Act (HF516), which just passed in the House. When I asked Miller if we needed such a law he said, "no."

How to stop snoring
by Report submitted · March 16th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
Over the past few years my 57-year-old husband's snoring has gotten much worse. It's to the point that I have to either wear earplugs or move to a different room. Any suggestions?
Sleep-Deprived Susan


The fact of the matter is, Americans don't trust anyone
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · March 16th, 2017
Americans don't much trust the news media. According to the latest Gallup poll, the proportion of Americans who approve "quite a lot" of television and print media news is around 13 percent. That sounds pretty low until you consider that only 21 percent approve of the Supreme Court, 16 percent approve of banks and only about six percent like Congress quite a lot. (That six percent must be on some very effective medication.) So, maybe it's not so much that we don't trust the media. We don't trust anybody. And for good reason.

Election process to improve through new bill in Iowa
by Ken Rizer State Representative · March 9th, 2017
Iowans should have confidence in their elections. Measures should be in place to assure participants that our system is fair, clean, and doesn't disenfranchise eligible voters. The Election Modernization and Verification Act gives Iowans those assurances. House Republicans have been working with Secretary of State Paul Pate on improvements to Iowa's election process. These improvements include: voter verification, streamlining the process to make voting easier, make it harder to cheat, and not turning anyone away from the polls.

Iowa has outgrown its old 'bottle bill' as we struggle to put a new value on trash
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · March 9th, 2017
Iowa's "bottle bill" was enacted in 1978 to encourage recycling by requiring a five-cent deposit on certain beverage cans and bottles. Soon, aluminum and glass containers that used to litter ditches and roadsides were now recycled. These days, 86 percent of these containers are recycled, with more than 82,352 tons kept from the waste stream every year. The energy savings alone could heat 42,845 average Iowa homes because that original bottle bill turned trash into cash.

Senator Mathis reports from the Capitol
by Liz Mathis State Senator · March 9th, 2017
Last week was especially busy at the Capitol because the first "funnel" deadline is this Friday. This deadline requires that all bills we want to continue in the legislative process be passed out of a Senate committee and ready for debate on the floor.

The ABCs of picking a medicare supplemental policy
by Report submitted · March 9th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you provide any advice on choosing a Medicare supplemental policy to help cover things outside of Medicare? I'll be 65 in a few months and could use some assistance.
Looking for Help

Alcohol reform to increase economic development
by Ken Rizer State Representative · March 2nd, 2017
Two years ago I was enjoying a nice dinner, entertainment, and a glass of wine at Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in nearby Swisher. I knew that Cedar Ridge produced bourbon whiskey on site as well, so I asked for a glass of that. "I'm sorry," said the waitress, "it is against the law for us to serve that here." "How could that be," I asked, "when it's produced right here?" Turns out Iowa's outdated alcohol law had failed to keep up with the rapid growth of not just micro-distilleries, but wineries, microbreweries, and brewpubs as well. Iowa's law failed to provide equity across these different sectors, hurting job growth and economic development.

Hanging with eagles and seagulls - in February in Iowa
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · March 2nd, 2017
I don't care that they claim this is February. Our crocuses are coming up. When I open the front door to check for snow, I have to close it again quickly to keep the flies from coming in. If I have to mow the lawn next week, I'm going to be really annoyed.

How to find affordable high-speed home internet
by Report submitted · March 2nd, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
Do you know of any resources that can help me find affordable high-speed home Internet services? I'm retired and live primarily on my Social Security and would like to find something cheaper than the $40 per month that I currently pay.
Searching Senior

Iowa Public Employees Retirement System to see changes
by Liz Mathis State Senator · March 2nd, 2017
Is the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) next on the chopping block? We have been getting a lot of questions from constituents about the retirement security of Iowans. I am concerned about suggestions by Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds and special-interest groups that major changes are ahead for IPERS.

Can't decide where to retire? Congrats! You're already there
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · February 23rd, 2017
Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? No? Well, there is probably still time to get ready. But you will need some money and a generous dose of paranoia.
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