Slow news day with the holiday approaching, but there are a few tidbits out there.
Several papers carry news of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s renewed effort to better enforce the state’s open meetings and public records laws. The Gazette’s story, linked above, Miller says his preference in the past was to let locals solve local issues, but he now wants to “serve notice” that the state will get involved when necessary. His office’s performance on sunshine has been partly cloudy, at best, which prompted lawmakers last year to consider creating a new state enforcement agency. With budget woes this year, that proposal has been shelved.
See, lawmakers know where to draw the spending line. Here. At your right to know. Courageous.
The Gazette and Radio Iowa have accounts of a curious conference call Tuesday featuring Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. Radio Iowa notes that the call was organized by a Democratic-leaning group and was, on the surface, intended to deliver a partisan shove to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley on the issue of a federal stimulus package. But instead, the mayors struck a conciliatory tone. Phew.
I’m not sure why the mayor of a flooded town in need of big federal help would want to be within 100 feet of anything that could be interpreted as criticizing a senior member of the U.S. Senate. Odd.
Grassley, by the way, says he supports the stimulus concept but won’t commit to voting for a package until he sees details. Seems reasonable.
In a story that appears in The Gazette and Lee Newspapers, our man at the Statehouse Rod Boshart points to the big increases in vehicle registration fees that take affect Jan. 1. Pickup owners will see a sizable jump as the state tries to patch it’s its leaky Road Use Tax Fund.
And also, incase you didn’t know, 2008 was wet, according to Iowa weather gurus.
No must reads tomorrow. Happy New Year.