Tag Archives: Iowa

Under Pressure From Angry Students, GOP Gov Reverses on Federal Summer Meals Funding

“It only took literally everyone in the entire state telling him that he was being a monster,” said one political scientist, “for him to do the absolute easiest thing and feed hungry kids.”

By Julia Conley. Published 2-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: USDA/Public domain

As the deadline rapidly approached for state governments to accept federal funds for summer food assistance for children, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen announced Monday that conversations with students from around the state had convinced him to take the funding—leaving just 14 Republican-led states still refusing the aid.

At a news conference, the GOP governor—who previously said he didn’t “believe in welfare” and would be forgoing $18 million for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program—said he had changed his mind after “an evolution of information” about how young people across Nebraska would be affected by his decision.

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Judge Blocks Iowa Book Ban, ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ’ Law

“We deserve to be able to express ourselves safely at school and we deserve to see ourselves in media at school, especially in books,” said an eighth grade student who joined one of the lawsuits.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-29-2023 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: KCRG-TV9/YouTube

A U.S. federal judge on Friday blocked key parts of what critics called a “sweeping Iowa law that seeks to silence LGBTQ+ students, erase any recognition of LGBTQ+ people from public schools, and bans books with sexual or LGBTQ+ content.”

Judge Stephen Locher determined that none of the plaintiffs in a pair of cases filed against Senate File 496 has standing to challenge the provision requiring school districts to notify parents if a child seeks an accommodation relating to gender identity, including the use of pronouns that does not match registration records.

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‘Deplorable’: Iowa’s GOP Governor Opts Out of Summer Food Program for Kids

“Announcing three days before Christmas that we’ve deliberately chosen not to feed hungry kids? The Dickensian parallels write themselves,” said the board chair of the Iowa Hunger Coalition.

By Jake Johnson. Published 12-25-2023 by Common Dreams

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speaking with attendees at Governor Reynolds’s Fair-Side Chats at JR’s South Pork Ranch at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa. 2023. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Iowa’s Republican-led government sparked outrage late last week by declining to participate in a federal program that would have provided low-income residents with $40 a month in additional food assistance during the coming summer.

Created by the U.S. Congress late last year, the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for Children program aims to boost nutrition benefits for families with school-aged children who typically receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year. Starting in summer 2024, eligible families will receive a prepaid debit card with $40 per child for three months.

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McDonald’s Fined 0.0002% of 2022 Profits for Child Labor Violations

“Less than $1,000 per child,” said one critic. “For one of the biggest franchises on Earth.”

By Julia Conley. Published 11-28-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: _skynet/flickr/CC

McDonald’s, one of the largest employers in the world, was fined just $26,000—a tiny fraction of its profits—on Monday for violating child labor laws in Pennsylvania, with two franchisees found to be violating numerous rules in five stores.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division found that Paul and Meghan Sweeney, owners of a company called Endor, which runs five McDonald’s locations, employed 34 children who were 14 and 15 years old.

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Iowa Meteorologist Resigns After Receiving Death Threats for Climate Coverage

“I take immense pride in having educated the public about the impacts of climate change during my career,” said Chris Gloninger of KCCI in Des Moines.

By Julia Conley. Published 6-22-2023 by Common Dreams

Chris Gloninger, chief meteorologist for KCCI in Des Moines, announced on June 21, 2023 that he is stepping down after receiving numerous threats for his coverage of how the climate emergency impacts the weather. (Photo: screenshot/@ChrisGloninger/Twitter)

The chief meteorologist for a Des Moines news station announced Wednesday he is stepping down after receiving violent threats for his frank coverage of the climate emergency and how it could affect his viewers’ lives—something he considered a mission as he regularly delivered news about the weather to Iowa residents.

Chris Gloninger joined CBS affiliate station KCCI in 2021 after receiving recognition for his coverage of the climate crisis and the environment at NBC10 in Boston.

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House Dems Urge Biden Administration to Rid Hyundai Supply Chain of Child Labor

The call from congressional lawmakers comes amid a surge in child labor violations—and as Republican state lawmakers seek to roll back over a century of child labor protections.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 2-112023 by Common Dreams

Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama manufacturing plant—some of whose suppliers illegally employed children as young as 12 years old—is seen in this aerial photograph. (Photo: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama/Facebook)

A group of 33 Democratic lawmakers on Friday implored the U.S. Labor Department “to take immediate action to rid Hyundai’s supply chain of child labor and hold those responsible to the fullest extent of the law” after a Reuters investigation revealed that dozens of kids as young as 12 years old—most of them Central American migrants—were working in Southeastern factories supplying the Korean auto giant.

Last July, Reuters began investigating allegations of children working on the factory floor at Hyundai subsidiary SMART Alabama LLC’s metal stamping plant in Luverne after a 13-year-old Guatemalan girl who worked there temporarily went missing. Reporters Joshua Schneyer, Mica Rosenberg, and Kristina Cooke reported that children, the youngest of whom were 12 years old, worked at the plant, which supplies parts for vehicles manufactured at Hyundai’s flagship U.S. factory in Montgomery. Continue reading

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Critics Slam ‘Reprehensible’ Iowa Bill to Expand Child Labor

“This is just crazy,” said the president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “A kid can still lose an arm in a work-based learning program.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 2-7-2023 by Common Dreams

Teen Job Fair. Photo: Fleet & Family Support Centers/flickr/CC

Labor advocates on Tuesday decried a business-backed bill introduced by Republican state lawmakers in Iowa that would roll back child labor laws so that teens as young as 14 could work in previously prohibited jobs including mining, logging, and animal slaughtering—a proposal one union president called dangerous and “just crazy.”

Senate File 167, introduced by state Sen. Jason Schultz (R-6) would expand job options available to teens—including letting children as young as 14 work in freezers and meat coolers and loading and unloading light tools, under certain conditions. Continue reading

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Iowa Republicans Push ‘Profoundly Cruel and Petty’ Food Benefit Restrictions

Under the new legislation, Iowans would no longer be allowed to purchase fresh meat, white grains, nuts, canned fruits, American cheese, and other foods with SNAP benefits.

By Jake Johnson  Published 1-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, right, speaks during a committee hearing on January 18, 2023. (Photo: Pat Grassley/Facebook)

Republicans in the Iowa House introduced legislation this month that would impose a slew of fresh restrictions on the kinds of food people can purchase using SNAP benefits, sparking outrage among local groups who say the measure would exacerbate hunger in the GOP-dominated state.

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), an interfaith group that operates the largest food pantry network in Iowa, noted in a statement earlier this week that if the bill passes, “Iowans could no longer use their SNAP benefits to purchase meat, nuts, and seeds; flour, butter, cooking oil, soup, canned fruits, and vegetables; frozen prepared foods, snack foods, herbs, spices—not even salt or pepper.” Continue reading

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The US Christian Right groups actively involved in voter suppression

OPINION: Religious and anti-abortion groups are trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the midterm elections

By Annika Brockschmidt  Published 11-3-2022 by openDemocracy

Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr/CC

Anyone who wants a future in today’s Republican Party must openly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, or at least dance around the question of electoral fraud enough to appease their dear leader.

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative dark money groups with strong ties to the religious Right have made it their mission to curb voting rights in potentially election-deciding swing states. They are using allegations of Democratic voter fraud and ‘election integrity’ as tactics to engage in voter suppression. Continue reading

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Motorist ‘Tried to Murder’ Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went “out of his way” to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-25-2022 by Common Dreams

A driver is seen running into abortion rights defenders in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 24, 2022. (Photo: Lyz Lenz/Twitter)

An unidentified male motorist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa intentionally rammed into several women on Friday night as abortion rights defenders peacefully protested the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The driver of a Ford truck maneuvered around multiple cars at a red light and drove through the tail end of a group of demonstrators who were crossing a street downtown, running over one woman’s ankle and sending her to the hospital, witnesses told HuffPost. Continue reading

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