Some state lawmakers are making noise about repealing Iowa’s 2002 law designating English as the official language of government business. You remember, it’s the bill that Tom Vilsack signed into law as governor and then apologized for when he was preparing a presidential run.
It’s the law Gov. Chet Culver wants repealed, but not enough to ask a legislature controlled by his own party to do said repealing.
Yes, English is a tough subject for some Iowa politicians.
But as one astute, quasi-English-speaking lawmaker once said, we should leave this issue to Iowans and their “impotent wisdom.” So we shall.
I’m not convinced the repeal effort will get very far, (the bill is HF 14 in case you want to track it) but it’s one of those issues where almost everyone has an opinion. Leave yours here.
Yesterday, regular reader and statesman Zach had this to say about my latest posting in the never-ending Westdale Mall saga:
TEAR IT DOWN! …lol <- im actually starting to LOL at this situation. For crying out loud folks. It is a dead mall. You cant pump tax payer money into it and make it into some magical castle of convenience.
Am I actually going to have to put up teardownwestdale.com ?
Evidently, the answer is yes — teardownwestdale.com is up and running. It’s billed as a place to debate the fate of the mall and its rocky romance with local governments.
There’s not much there yet, sort of like its namesake mall. But I bet that will change.
The Gazette tops its front page this morning with news that Iowa lawmakers are seriously considering a gas tax hike of up to 8 cents per gallon, the difference between what Iowans pay in total state/fed gas taxes, 40 cents, and the national average of 48 cents. Rod Boshart reports that key lawmakers, including the chairs of Transportation Committees in both the House and Senate, are thinking it over.
Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg is pushing for at least a nickel after calling for a “war on potholes” in his opening day speech.
The Register’s web rundown is topped with news that some lawmakers are moving to repeal Iowa’s English-as-the-official-language law. If you happened to be put in cryogenic suspension in 2002 and just thawed out, don’t worry, the debate hasn’t changed much. Opponents of the law say its divisive and sends a signal to immigrants that they’re not welcome here. Supporters say it sends a clear message that English fluency is important in our society.
The issue re-fired last year when a district judge ruled that the law prohibits the Secretary of State’s office from printing voter registration info in languages other than English. The ruling jarred those who believed the law is merely symbolic. Gov. Chet Culver supports repeal, not that he’s ever done anything about it.
Meanwhile, a $56 million flood aid package has either been delayed, or not. AP and Radio Iowa say the governor has asked for a pause while his staff checks whether the package will jeopardize possible federal aid. The Gazette/Lee newspapers lede says the governor’s concerns have been addressed. In either case, it’s likely that the Iowa House will approve the measure next week.
All stories note concerns raised by Republicans about a $2 million portion of the recovery bill that will fund the Rebuild Iowa Office. Some lawmakers are concerned in particular about $77,000 that will be used to pay a Statehouse lobbyist representing the office.