We’re pleased to share this great video and sound essay by independent producer and Iowa CCI member Helen Gunderson. She joined us at the Statehouse January 15 and captured the day including Governor Branstad’s Condition of the State address and a our “People First: rally at the Capitol.

She does a nice job comparing Branstad’s vision to our and lifts up the role of direct action in the history of social change.

 

 

 

Give it a watch, then click LIKE and TWEET to share it with others and ask them to join you as a member of Iowa CCI.

Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum Calls on Secretary of State Schultz to Withdraw Voter Purge Rule Targeting Immigrants

Senator from Dubuque says Schultz’s proposed rule “exceeded the authority of the secretary’s office” and should be withdrawn and proposed as legislation

 

Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) called on Secretary of State Matt Schultz to withdraw a proposed voter purge rule targeting immigrants today during a meeting of the Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC).

Jochum said Schultz should withdraw the rule and submit it as a legislative proposal that can be fully vetted and debated by the state legislature during the 2013 session.

“I believe this rule has exceeded the authority of the secretary’s office,” Jochum said.

More than a dozen members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) joined the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens at the ARRC meeting and testified against the proposal.

“Schultz’s potentially illegal power grab will unfairly target Latino immigrants, intimidate voters from exercising their rights, and could result in voters being purged from the rolls without cause,” said Ana Belén Mancebo, 21, a CCI member from Des Moines who is also a naturalized citizen after immigrating from Nicaragua.  “Voter fraud is not a real problem in the state of Iowa and devoting resources to bullying immigrant communities already in the shadows is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“Iowa CCI members demand ARRC stand with everyday people and hardworking families from across Iowa and block this bad rule from being implemented.”

ARRC also held a special hearing today on new Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines that prevent immigrants protected under President Obama’s “deferred action” executive order from receiving an Iowa driver’s license.

Iowa CCI members say that deferred action immigrants have a legal right to obtain a valid driver’s license.

“I’m here on a work visa and I have a drivers license.  Why can’t my deferred action brothers and sisters who are also here legally get one?”  said Vanessa Carolina del Valle Marcano Marin, 27, a CCI member from Des Moines who is originally from Venezuela.

 

Click LIKE and TWEET if you agree!

CCI members tell Secretary of State Matt Schultz to throw out proposed voter rules

 

Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s witch hunt for non-existent voter fraud was put on display Thursday, January 3 at a public hearing on the proposed voter rule which would require immigrant voters whose citizenship is in question to prove their citizenship to vote.

Citizen groups including LULAC, ACLU, AFL-CIO, League of Women Voters, and others stood together and called out Schultz’s blatant attempt at suppressing the vote. 100 people, 40 who testified, made powerful statements to why the rule should be thrown out – Schultz is overreaching his authority, wasting taxpayer dollars pursuing non-existent voter fraud and intimidating immigrants who have a legal right to vote.

CCI member, Ana Mancebo, naturalized citizen from Nicaragua and Des Moines CCI member said “We do not come here to commit voter fraud. It’s a nonexistent problem. It’s a problem you invented and now you want to make it our problem. Put an end to this witch hunt for voter fraud.”

After the hearing, 20 CCI members delivered a letter to Secretary Schultz asking for a meeting on January 15 to discuss his attempts to suppress the vote and to stand up for all eligible voters by finding ways to make it easier to vote by passing universal voter registration.

 

What’s next?

This fight will continue into the legislative session and will mostly likely be an election issue. It’s important for us to continue demanding this rule be thrown out.

 

Take Action

There are two important upcoming events where we can tell Secretary of State Schultz to stop his voter witch hunt:

  • Wednesday, January 9, the Administrative Rules Review Committee meets to discuss Schultz’s proposed rule. They have the power to throw out this rule. CCI members will be there to again show our opposition and demand that this rule be thrown out.  Contact us if you can attend.
  •  “Money Out, People In!”: Kickoff at the Capitol, Tuesday, January 15, 9am-4pm, Iowa State Capitol.Help kick off the legislative session in a people-powerful way. This is an important and fun day you don’t want to miss. We’ll meet with top decision makers, key legislators and stand alongside hundreds of everyday Iowans who (just like you) are ready to stand up for a democratic electoral system and speak out to put our communities before corporations. Busses planned from Dubuque and Waterloo, Iowa City and Grinnell and Ames areas.  RSVP TODAY, click here.

 

Want to see the awesome press coverage from the hearing?

Des Moines Register – Basu: Iowans keep public officials accountable at voter hearing

Des Moines Register – Criticisms of proposed voter fraud rules aired at hearing

Des Moines Register – Hearing raises concerns about voter verification rules

Radio Iowa – Controversial rules to remove non-citizens from voter registration rolls

Associated Press – Speakers oppose planned voter registration rules

 

Join the Fight

  • Join as an Iowa CCI member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
  • Sign up for our E-Mail Action list to get the latest updates.
  • Follow us on Facebook and  Twitter for more fun photos and live action updates.

 

Click LIKE and TWEET if you think Schultz needs to throw this rule out!

 

Schultz to hold public hearings on a rulemaking package designed to intimidate immigrants and potentially suppress the vote.

 

Click HERE to Take Action Now – the Sec. of State’s office is accepting comments until midnight 1/3/12.

Iowa CCI members will demand Secretary of State Matt Schultz throw out a rulemaking package designed to intimidate voters and other immigrants during a public hearing tomorrow, Thursday, January 3, at 2 pm at the Iowa Department of Public Health, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines.

“Schultz’s proposed voter-suppression rules will unfairly target Latino immigrants, intimidate voters from exercising their rights, and could result in voters being purged from the rolls without cause,” said Ana Belén Mancebo, a CCI member from Des Moines.  “Voter fraud is not a real problem in the state of Iowa and devoting resources to bullying immigrant communities already in the shadows is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“Iowa CCI members demand Schultz’s throw these bad rules out, end his witch-hunt for non-existent voter fraud, and instead use the power of his office to promote universal voter registration and other means of expanding voting rights.”

Schultz wants to cross-check Iowa DOT records with the U.S. Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system to force new citizens to prove they are legally eligible to vote.

Critics say Schultz does not have the legal authority to pass this rule, that the rule with have a disparate impact on new citizen voters, will likely result in voter intimidation, and violate due process.

The United Latin America Citizens of Iowa and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union are also set to testify against the proposed rules during tomorrow’s hearing.

Here is the full text of Schultz’ prosposed rule: http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/ARC0528C.pdf

 

Take Action

  • The Sec. of State’s office is taking public comment on this rule until midnight 1/3/2012. Submit your comment here: http://j.mp/UqCBEA

Join the Fight

  • Join as an Iowa CCI member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
  • Sign up for our E-Mail Action list to get the latest updates.
  • Follow us on Facebook and  Twitter for more fun photos and live action updates.


 

Join us December 1 for a Statewide Strategy Session and January 15 for our “Money Out, People In:  Kickoff at the Capitol”

 

The 2012 elections are over, and the 2013 Iowa Legislative Session is just around the corner.

This is what we know:

The state of Iowa is sitting on a nearly $1 billion budget surplus, and rather than reinvest in vital public services like education, environmental protections, health-care, and workers rights, Governor Branstad wants to use the extra money to cut taxes for Iowa’s biggest corporations and richest citizens.

The state budget is important because it affects all of us.  None of our “Put People First” priorities – like cracking down on factory farm pollution, predatory lending, and wage theft – matter if state agencies don’t have the money to enforce strong and effective public oversight.

That’s why we’re expecting the 2013 legislative session to be a major fight between Branstad’s pro-corporate agenda and our vision of what a more just and democratic Iowa looks like.

But we’re in a strong and exciting position to drive forward a narrative of a good government that puts the common good before corporate greed.  In addition to taking on Branstad’s bad budget plan head-on, we have a real opportunity to move statewide interest rate caps on payday loans, stronger wage theft protections for Iowa’s workers, and new rules to combat air and water pollution by factory farms.

That’s because all year long Iowa CCI members just like you have fought local campaigns that have recovered thousands of dollars in stolen wages, pushed payday lenders to the margins of city limits, and stopped factory farms from being built in rural communities across Iowa.

The winds of change are at our backs.  There’s a feeling in the air that the power of everyday people is on the march, and that corporate power is on the defensive.  That’s why we’re excited to start planning a powerful – and fun – campaign to win real change at the statehouse next year.

That change starts with you.

Can you join us for these two very special events?

  1. Legislative Strategy Session, Saturday, December 1, 12-4pm, Iowa CCI statewide headquarters (2001 Forest Avenue, Des Moines).
    Get the post-election/pre-legislative session scoop from Iowa CCI Action policy staff and hear (Iowa Policy Project and CCI crowd favorite) David Osterberg’s take on Branstad’s budget and tax proposals and – more importantly – how we can go on offense to get action on issues you care about. Together we’ll make plans to ensure our Jan. 15 legislative kickoff is as people-powerful as possible.
  2. “Money Out, People In!”:  Kickoff at the Capitol, Tuesday, January 15, 9am-4pm, Iowa State Capitol.
    Help kick off the legislative session in a people-powerful way. This is an important and fun day you don’t want to miss. We’ll meet with top decision makers, key legislators and stand alongside hundreds of everyday Iowans who (just like you) are ready to stand up and speak out to put our communities before corporations.  Busses planned from Dubuque and Waterloo, Iowa City and Grinnell and Ames areas.

The elections are over, but the next movement has just begun.  Send us a note and let us know you’re in for these two events and can help us take action and have a big impact.

Regents, ISU Must Clarify What Role Rastetter Played in New ISU Lobbyist Hire

Regents hiring of Rastetter’s public relations chief Joe Murphy to be new ISU lobbyist raises renewed questions about Rastetter’s entanglement of private, public duties

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members call on Board of Regents Director Bob Donley and Iowa State University President Steven Leath to disclose to the public what role, if any, Bruce Rastetter played in the hiring of his corporation’s public relations director to be the new lobbyist for Iowa State University.

The Board of Regents announced yesterday that it had hired Joe Murphy – public relations director for Summit Group, Rastetter’s private multinational corporation – to be the new state relations officer for Iowa State University.

“There should be a firewall between Rastetter’s private business interests and his public duties as a Regent and whether or not he was personally involved in hiring his P.R. chief to be ISU’s new lobbyist, this is yet another example of why Iowans cannot trust this man to be a Regent,” said Cherie Mortice, an Iowa CCI member from Des Moines.

“Iowans deserve our land-grant university to be free from even the appearance of corporate influence.”

Rastetter has long stacked Iowa State University with his personal business associates, which critics have contended allows him to push his corporate agenda inside university circles and to use ISU for his own ends.  Eric Peterson, the Vice President of Summit Group, sits on a quasi-secret ISU advisory panel.  Kevin Kimle, the Rastetter Chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship funded by a multimillion dollar endowment by Rastetter, helped push an AgriSol/ISU partnership for a landgrab in Tanzania.

Rastetter was the subject of a conflict of interest complaint filed by Iowa CCI members last summer for attempting to partner with ISU for the Tanzanian landgrab while a sitting member of the Board of Regents.  The Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board threw out the complaint after taking a limited, narrow ruling of the law rather than having the courage to stand up to a powerful interest like Rastetter with a broader and more inclusive view of state ethics law.

“There’s a lot more to a conflict of interest than whether or not you took a formal vote,” Mortice said.