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April 2012

Are Coralville residents buying the equipment for Backpocket Brewery?

Doing the job the local liberal media fails to do.....

The Backpocket Brewery hopes to open up shop in the Iowa River Landing in mid-May.  Sounds great at face value right?

But what kind of sweet deal did the brewery get from the city and what do the sales projections look like?  Are those projections accurate and are they enough to help pay down Coralville's massive TIF debt?

This story is developing....

Here's a link to the puff piece the Iowa City DePressed Citizen did:|topnews|text|Frontpage

Note the piece didn't even get into the city's deal with the brewery.....

Cybersecurity Bill Passed in U.S. House on 248-168 Vote

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed cybersecurity bill, a day after President Barack Obama’s administration called the measure flawed and threatened a veto.

The bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, passed the House today by a vote of 248 to 168. The measure, introduced by Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, would encourage the government and companies to share data on cyber threats and give businesses legal immunity for such exchanges.

Read on....

Will 'Emoticon Defense' Disprove Cyberbullying?

Even if three Indiana girls were just kidding around and used emoticons and LOLs when they discussed killing classmates on Facebook, their talk still could be considered cyberbullying if it inflicted emotional harm, experts say.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the eighth-graders this week, claiming the Griffith Public Schools district in northern Indiana violated the girls' civil rights when it expelled them on the basis of a personal off-campus conversation that attorneys say shouldn't have been taken so seriously.

Read on....

43% Are Conservative on Money Issues, 13% Liberal

Voters continue to maintain more conservative views when it comes to money issues, but they are as divided as ever on social views.

Forty-three percent (43%) of Likely U.S. Voters consider themselves conservative when it comes to issues such as taxes, government spending and business regulation, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Nearly as many (40%) say they are fiscal moderates, but just 13% call themselves fiscally liberal.

Read on....

Legislature Limps Toward the Finish Line

State Senator James Hahn

Negotiations slow dramatically as big issues remain on the table for discussion 

James_hahnYou might describe an Iowa legislative session as one giant foot race and as this year’s runner is rounding the corner on the final lap, it seems to be limping toward the finish. 

But there is some good news!  That runner can still be a winner.  Here’s why:  There is still time to enact legislation that can bring about true reform, measurable results and real progress for hardworking Iowa taxpayers.  It starts with three big issues: the budget, property tax relief and education reform. 

The Budget

Senate Republicans made it clear from the start of the session that Iowa’s budget should: 

·       Not spend more dollars than our state takes in

·       Be balanced without raising taxes

·       Be free of the use of one-time dollars for ongoing expenses

·       Be transparent and should have money set aside for future needs

As negotiations continue on these important budget bills, expected to total over $6.2 billion dollars, Senate Republicans remain committed to standing up for the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa. 

Property Tax Relief

Iowa has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. 

Without significant, authentic and aggressive property tax relief for all classes of property, Iowans will only continue to see substantial job-killing property tax increases over the next decade. Passing authentic property tax reform will send a distinct message to our current and prospective job creators that Iowa is the place to do business and invest in our people. 

·       We need property tax reform for all classes of property

·       We need relief that limits the shift from one class of property to another 

In order to create more jobs in Iowa, we need property tax relief and Senate Republicans stand ready to help pass authentic reform. 

Education Reform

Governor Branstad and Senate Republicans have made it a top priority to get Iowa education back on the right track.  

Over the past decade, Iowa’s standing in education has stagnated significantly compared to the rest of the country. Simultaneously, we have spent billions of dollars on an annual basis and yet have not achieved the results our students deserve and parents and taxpayers expect.


  • Education should be about preparing our students to achieve success and be productive citizens.
  • Education should be about achievement and teaching our children the necessary skills they need to successfully compete in the global marketplace. 
  • Let’s get back to setting high standards and expectations for our students and challenge them to reach their fullest potential.
  • Students will rise to the challenge if we provide them with world-class standards, ambitious benchmarks and a rigorous curriculum grounded in the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science, history and civics.  

Senate Republicans remain hopeful that we will have meaningful education reform this session but a lot of work remains. 

There are two outcomes that can happen in the days or weeks that lie ahead. That runner can stumble and fall and not bring about the measurable results Iowans deserve or he can run through the tape with a victory.


This week, it appears there are now only two highly publicized pieces of education legislation remaining.  Last week, there were three.  The bills and their new statuses are:

·       Education Reform (SF 2284) – in conference committee

·       Education Appropriations (SF 2321) – in conference committee

·       School Start Date (HF 2462) – likely dead

While all three bills are technically alive, the school start date bill has shown no signs of life since making its way to the Senate and it is likely done for this session.  The education appropriations bill is currently in conference committee, but as of publication, there have been no discussions about how this bill will be resolved.  Lastly, education reform is in conference committee and has met regularly since being assigned.  As a result, there have been a number of points on the progress that has been made, but the bill still faces an uphill battle.

So far, there have been a number of pieces of SF 2284 and amendment S-5216 that have been agreed upon.  Under the rules of the conference committee, any language that is the same in both the bill and the amendment is agreed upon and is not up for discussion during the conference committee.  Some of these previously approved issues include:

·       National Board Certification for teachers

·       Expanding Project Lead the Way

·       Expanding competency based learning

·       Expanding the Department of Education’s Iowa Learning Online Initiative

There are some other issues that have also been agreed upon during the conference committee discussions.  While these are only tentative agreements and are subject to a final vote of the conference committee, they do indicate progress.  At this point, some of these agreed to issues include:

·       Allowing the governor to appoint and the Senate to confirm the Director of the Board of Educational Examiners

·       Expanding student teaching from 12 to 14 weeks

·       Extending the Early Intervention Block Grant, K-3 class size reduction money - until 2016; this program is currently set to expire on June 30th

·       Striking unnecessary language in several portions of SF 2284 that was not included in S-5216

·       Partial expansion of the Iowa Core, in principle

It is important to point out that despite the agreements that were previously passed in both the House and Senate versions of the bill and the agreements that have been reached on portions in conference committee, there are several aspects that are not agreed to.  These will be the sticking points for the remainder of the conference committee.  These issues may be so substantial that the conference committee fails to reach an agreement.  Some of these issues are:

·       Establishing alternative licensure for teachers

·       Establishing a religious exemption for portions of the Iowa Core that violate the bona fide tenants of faith for religious schools

·       Establishing a student growth model to evaluate student and teacher performance

·       Implementing greater regulations for online learning

·       Determining what assessments will be required of students

There is always a possibility that all of the disagreements will be worked out, the conference committee will approve the report, and both chambers will move forward.  However, if the bill moves forward, it is much more likely that the points of disagreement will be left out of the bill and only the agreed upon portion will pass into law.  The other option that remains is that the bill could die in conference committee, despite the months of planning, discussion, and debate that have already occurred.  Hopefully, some compromise can be reached, and education reform, while not the bold initiative originally proposed by Governor Branstad, can become law to improve education in Iowa.

I always appreciate hearing from constituents.  You may contact me at or by calling my home phone at 1-563-263-1208.

Fed lawsuit against Arizona is baseless

"All the Arizona state law does is require Arizona law enforcement officials to enforce federal law on immigration. There's no conflict between the Arizona state law and the federal law that anybody can cite. Even Mr. Verrilli, the government lawyer, could not find and could not cite any conflict." - Rush Limbaugh

NFL Draft Tracker 2012: Final Grades for Each Team

By Scott Carasik

Now that the draft is finally done, I've updated the entire group of grades for every team including all trades for every team and a final grade at the top of the slide. Some grades may seem a bit generous but this is my honest opinion on the picks.

A good bit of players selected this year have no right to be in the NFL and I have no idea how they were selected and a good bit of players went three rounds later than I thought they would.

Read on....

The Paulsen Perspective: Overtime

Rep. Kraig Paulsen
Speaker Of The House

Kraig_paulsenThis year the Legislature was scheduled to meet for 100 days.  As you may have heard, the 100th day of the 2012 session was Tuesday, April 17th.  The reason for the overtime?  Simply put, Democrats want to spend more than we do.
House Republicans made a commitment to Iowans to fund their priorities and stick to commonsense budgeting principles, including: 
--Aligning ongoing spending with ongoing revenue. Iowans cannot afford a government that spends more money than it takes in.  Anything less jeopardizes Iowa’s long-term economic health.
--Ending the practice of using one-time money for ongoing expenses.  This is not how Iowans balance their own checkbooks at home and it’s not how House Republicans will balance the government checkbook.
--Ending the practice of intentionally underfunding entitlement programs.  Promises made are promises kept and House Republicans can best protect education and Medicaid by getting the budget under control.
As economic uncertainty continues throughout the country, it is imperative that we take a conservative approach to the budget to give stability to Iowa’s job creators.   Controlling government spending by spending less than the government takes in demonstrates a commitment to commonsense budgeting and economic health that employers deserve.  One of the best ways to help Iowa’s employers is to keep control of government spending.  
Our principles are promises made to Iowans and they will be kept.
Additionally, we remain committed to acting on the looming property tax increase staring Iowa taxpayers in the face.  Iowa’s growing property tax burden is stalling job growth and consuming family budgets.  If we do not act on this issue Iowa families and job creators will suffer. 
Our work here is not yet done.  But rest assured that we will stay the course and continue to do what’s in the best interest of Iowans. 
As always, you may contact me at (515) 281-3521 or

Rose injured in Bulls' Game 1 win

CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrick Rose is out for the remainder of the playoffs after suffering a torn ACL late in the fourth quarter during the Chicago Bulls' 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Saturday's playoff opener.

Rose crumbled to the ground after he drove the lane with about 1:20 left and the Bulls leading by 12. He was going for a layup when he came to a jump-stop and seemed to change his mind, passing off to a teammate before an awkward landing.

Read on....