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    Condition of the State 2020
    Articles, Blog

    Condition of the State 2020

    January 20, 2020

    ♪♪ Funding for this
    program was provided by Friends, the Iowa PBS
    Foundation, as well as generations of families
    and friends who feel passionate about the
    programs they watch on Iowa PBS. As legislators gather in
    Iowa’s capital city of Des Moines, Governor Kim
    Reynolds lays out her vision for the 2020
    legislative session, amidst another year of
    full republican control at the Iowa Statehouse. It’s the Governor’s 2020
    Condition of the State Address. From the House Chambers of
    the Iowa State Capitol, here is David Yepsen. Yepsen: Welcome to the
    Iowa Statehouse where a newly convened legislature
    is gathered to hear Governor Kim Reynolds
    assess the condition of our state and lay out
    her legislative agenda. This is Governor Reynolds’
    third Condition of the State address and it comes
    in another election year here in Iowa as
    republicans still retain trifecta control of the
    governorship, the Iowa House and the Senate. Now here are some of
    the issues confronting Reynolds and Statehouse
    legislators. The state budget always
    dominates part of the conversation in
    this chamber. A potential restructuring
    of taxes on her property, income and sales, with
    new funds designated for conservation, recreation
    and water quality. And further examination of
    the state’s mental health system. ♪♪ Yepsen: We’re
    waiting for the Governor to enter the chamber. Please escort Lieutenant
    Governor Adam Gregg and his family to their seats. Yepsen: Lieutenant
    Governor Gregg precedes the Governor’s entrance. (applause) Yepsen: This
    speech is always a festive occasion for legislators,
    the start of a new session, turning
    over a new leaf. Members are here, their
    families are here, it’s a nice ceremony and it is
    one that is required by the state Constitution,
    the Governor shall report on the Condition
    of the State. (applause) The Chair
    recognizes the Sergeant at Arms. Mr. President, First
    Gentleman Kevin Reynolds and the family of the Governor
    have arrived in the House Chamber. Please escort Governor
    Reynolds’ family to their seats. Yepsen: The Governor’s
    family now being escorted to their seats here
    in the chamber. The chamber gets pretty
    full with family members, members of their families,
    justices, executive council members,
    lots of spectators. (applause) The Chair
    recognizes the Sergeant at Arms. The Governor is waiting. Mr. President, your
    committee to notify and escort Governor
    Reynolds has arrived. The committee will escort
    the Honorable Kim Reynolds to the rostrum. (gavel sounds 3 times) (applause) Yepsen: The Governor getting a warm
    welcome from the members. This is, like I said, the
    start of a new day, the start of a new session and
    people are in a good mood, at least for now. That may not last but it’s
    always a fine ceremony. (applause) Yepsen: Here
    is Governor Reynolds. (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Thank you. (applause) Governor
    Reynolds: Thank you. Thank you. (applause) Governor
    Reynolds: Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant
    Governor, legislative leaders, Senators and
    Representatives, Justices and Judges, elected
    officials, distinguished guests, family, friends
    and my fellow Iowans, please be seated. (laughs) Governor Reynolds:
    Each time I enter this spectacular building I am
    reminded of the generation of Iowans who have
    come before us. And each time I walk into
    this historic chamber I am humbled by the
    responsibility of following in the footsteps
    of some amazing leaders and outstanding
    public servants. We lost a number of
    those leaders last year. Most notable for us today
    is Chief Justice Mark Cady, whose absence is
    felt right there in the front row. He loved his state. And he loved the law. And to his family and the
    colleagues in the Iowa Judicial Branch, our
    entire state shares your loss. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: We also bid
    farewell to former Lieutenant Governor Joann
    Zimmerman, the first woman elected Lieutenant
    Governor of this great state. She brought the heart of a
    nurse and the passion of a mother to a distinguished
    career in public service. And with shared sadness,
    we mourn the loss of Congressman Berkley
    Bedell, former Iowa Supreme Court Justices
    Daryl Hecht and Bruce Snell, as well as the
    longest-serving Chief Justice in state
    history, Art McGivern. We honor those leaders and
    so many more who committed their lives to making
    tomorrow a little better than today. (applause) Governor
    Reynolds: So often public service comes with
    sacrifice, a sacrifice that our men and women in
    uniform make every day. Our military, police and
    first responders risk their lives to
    protect ours. So today and every day we
    should thank those who serve while honoring
    those we lost. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor: Reynolds: In 2019 we
    saw the resiliency of Iowans tested once again as
    historic floods ravaged both sides of our state
    and parts in between. Entire communities were
    wiped out as the waters rose and didn’t
    seem to recede. But that devastation was
    met with purpose and resolve to build
    and recover. To those lives who have
    been impacted, your state stands with you as you
    work and we work to return life to normal and get
    your homes, businesses and communities back on track. To do that, the budget I’m
    submitting today includes an additional $20 million
    for flood relief. (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: This is the third time that I’ve
    stood before you to report on the Condition
    of the State. As always, it’s a time to
    reflect on what we have done over the last year
    and to lay out a vision for the year to come. But this year marks the
    beginning of a new decade. So it seems appropriate
    that we take stock in what we have accomplished the
    last ten years and more importantly, to talk about
    what we want for the next ten years and beyond. When this body met in
    January of 2010, our unemployment
    rate was 6.4%. Just months earlier our
    state faced a near billion dollar deficit. School funding was
    drastically cut. And Iowans were worried
    about their future. A decade later the
    condition of our state is truly strong. Because of the vision and
    tenacity of Iowans our unemployment rate has gone
    from near record high to record low. Instead of cutting school
    budgets we’re cutting taxes. Our cash reserves
    are full. Wages are going up. And Iowans once again
    believe we’re headed in the right direction. (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Because we have such a great story
    to tell, last year we launched the “This
    is Iowa” campaign. And the goal was to show
    the country what we have to offer, to show that
    Iowa is the best place to live, work and
    raise a family. As part of this new
    initiative we created a candid camera style video
    where an actor playing a real estate agent shows
    Iowa home listings to New Yorkers so when the
    couples hear how big the homes are, how short the
    commute is, and what they can buy the properties
    for, they are baffled. That’s not possible, is
    the general reaction. When the actor tells them
    that these homes are in Iowa and not New York,
    they are shocked and amazed. That’s not how they
    envisioned Iowa. That is not what
    they have been told. We made that video to
    dispel some of the misconceptions and really
    to showcase what we have here. But I think that video
    serves another purpose. It reminds us of what we
    have because it can be easy to forget, to forget
    what it means to grow up in a safe neighborhood
    with a good school and a nice back yard, to spend
    more time with our families than we do in
    traffic, and to watch the sun set in our big skies
    and the stars shine over our beautiful fields. That is what Iowa has to
    offer and so much more. Those New Yorkers saw what
    I see, that opportunity lives here. But we can’t take
    it for granted. If we do, if we become
    complacent, then the condition of the state
    will not be strong when this body gathers
    ten years from now. That’s why this year,
    2020, we need to plan for 2030 and 2040. We need to seize the
    opportunities that exist so that years from now the
    next generation of Iowans will inherit an Iowa whose
    greatness comes as no surprise to anyone,
    including New Yorkers. That kind of
    planning takes work. It doesn’t happen all at
    once and no single policy will do. That kind of planning, it
    also takes a bold vision, a vision that preserves
    our heritage while seizing opportunities. Governor Reynolds: My
    request to this General Assembly is that you join
    me in taking the first bold step, right
    now, this session. In the coming weeks I’ll
    be introducing the Invest in Iowa Act, a bill that
    will significantly cut income taxes, create a
    sustainable funding source for our mental health
    system, reduce the burden of property tax payers and
    fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor
    Recreation Trust. (applause) (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: These
    changes will make our vision a reality. It is an investment in
    our future and it is an investment in those
    who are our future. Ten years ago, Iowans
    voted to establish the Natural Resources and
    Outdoor Recreation Trust. Funding the trust is no
    small investment but I believe that it is one
    that we need to make. We were given this
    beautiful land to work, but also to keep. And preserving what we
    have been given must be a responsibility
    of all Iowans. In 2010, the legislature
    established a formula for distributing
    the trust fund. I voted for that fund
    formula as did every one of my colleagues. But the challenges we face
    today and tomorrow are different than what we
    understood them to be ten years ago. So it’s time to amend the
    formula, specifically we need to increase the
    amount of money that will be allocated for water
    quality and conservation. Under my bill, almost 58%
    of the trust fund, an estimated $100 million,
    will go towards water quality efforts every
    year, representing an almost 31% increase
    in current funding. We also commit $52 million
    for other conservation and outdoor recreation
    efforts, representing an increase of 14.6%
    of current funding. These investments will
    not only aid in our conservation efforts, they
    will improve our quality of life and it will help
    us retain and recruit a new generation of Iowans. (applause) (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: I have
    no interest in raising taxes. So any increase in revenue
    from a sales tax must be more than offset by
    additional tax cuts and that starts — (applause) Governor Reynolds: So that starts with continuing to
    reduce our uncompetitive income tax rates. Two years ago, thanks to
    so many of you in this room, we passed the
    largest income tax in Iowa history. And I said then, and I’ve
    said ever since, that wasn’t a one and done. I intend to make good on
    that promise, which is why I’m proposing to cut
    income tax by an additional 10% for almost
    every Iowan, with lower income Iowans receiving
    as much as a 25% cut. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: So let me put
    that into perspective. Just one year ago our top
    tax bracket was almost at 9%, one of the worst
    in the country. Now, with this new round
    of tax cuts, our top rate will be down to
    5.5% by 2023. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Significant
    progress making Iowa competitive
    with our peers. Mental health is becoming
    one of the biggest challenges of our time. Two years ago we reformed
    our adult mental health system and last year we
    created Iowa’s first children’s mental
    health system. These were important steps
    to putting Iowans on a path to wellness. Now, we must provide
    predictable funding. To date, property tax
    payers have supplied most of that support through
    their county to the local mental health regions. I’m proposing, through the
    Invest in Iowa Act, that we reduce property tax
    levees and provide the needed funding through
    the state general fund. No parent, family member
    or friend should be told that treatment isn’t
    available for their loved one. And by establishing a
    dedicated and stable fund for mental health, we’ll
    give hope to so many who are suffering in silence. It’s a promise we made and
    it is a promise I intend to keep. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: The Invest
    in Iowa Act will bring meaningful change to
    Iowans in the very first year. But most importantly, it
    looks to the future, a future that will benefit
    our children and theirs. If we take this bold step
    right now, then whoever is standing at this podium
    10, 20, 30 years, republican or democrat,
    can proudly say what I can say today, and that is the
    condition of our state is strong. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: When I look
    to the next decade, I am reminded that Will Rogers
    once said, that farmer has to be an optimist or
    he wouldn’t still be a farmer. From weather at home
    to markets overseas to bureaucratic decisions
    made in Washington, D.C., so much of our farmers’
    success hinges on factors seemingly out of
    their control. But that doesn’t mean that
    we simply sit back and hope someone else fights
    for our interest. It is up to us to shape
    the challenges of uncertainty into
    opportunities for growth. I will always be a
    relentless advocate for our farmers and our
    producers and our very way of life, which is why
    today I’m calling for an additional $2 million
    for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program as
    well as modernizing and expanding the E15
    Promotion Tax Credit. This will support the sale
    of E15 year round and drive domestic demand for
    our home grown renewable fuels. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: As we move
    into 2020 I am focused on the overall wellness of all
    Iowans in every part of this state in all
    stages of life. And when I say all stages
    of life I mean to include the unborn. We must protect life by
    making it clear through an amendment that our
    Constitution does not grant a right to abortion. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: We must also
    do more to promote and support maternal health. Fewer doctors in fewer
    hospitals are delivering babies and providing care
    for mothers, especially outside the urban areas. That’s why I’m taking
    steps to increase the number of doctors who
    are willing and able to provide OB services in all
    four corners of our state. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: So first, I
    am proposing a fellowship for new family practice
    physicians who want to train and specialize
    in OB care. Each year, four new
    residents will complete the fellowship program and
    head back to their local communities, taking with
    them connections to OB specialists and an
    expertise to better treat mothers and their babies. Second, we’re launching a
    telementoring system where OB’s at our best
    institutions can consult with physicians
    across the state. With this program, a
    doctor in Corydon can talk with specialists in say,
    Iowa City, about the treatment for a mother
    with a high risk pregnancy. Using technology to bring
    cutting edge health care into every community
    is no longer a dream. Telehealth is
    reality today. But we have only just
    begun to scratch the surface. This year my budget
    includes additional funding to expand the
    use of these services to underserved Iowans. I have also directed
    the Department of Human Services to remove
    barriers that are restricting schools from
    partnering with telehealth providers, especially
    for behavioral health. What used to be a 70 mile
    drive in the middle of the school day can now be
    a walk down the hall. That means children
    receiving the care that they need with less
    disruption to their education. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: These
    advances would not be possible without high
    speed broadband. And after unanimous
    support from this legislature last year for
    the Empower Rural Iowa Act, we provided $5
    million to do that. That funding is now
    helping 17 broadband projects become
    reality in rural Iowa. Broadband is not a
    luxury, it is critical infrastructure. From the farmer checking
    crop conditions, to the Main Street business
    participating in the 24/7 marketplace, connectivity
    should be the expectation no matter where you live. So let’s make that
    expectation a reality. Today I’m requesting
    that we appropriate an additional $15 million and
    adjust our state match and that will allow us to
    continue to leverage private and federal
    funding to build out broadband to every part of
    Iowa making us the most connected state
    in the nation. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Broadband
    also supports a world class education system. And if there is something
    that Iowans have always understood it is that
    there is no greater path to opportunity than
    a quality education. We have strong local
    control rooted in communities and parents
    who care deeply about educating their children. We have the highest
    graduation rate in the country with more of our
    high schoolers taking college courses than
    any other state. We have made remarkable
    progress in recent years putting a new focus on
    STEM, science, technology, engineering and math
    and opening doors in elementary, middle and
    high schools for students who want to explore fields
    that will best equip them to be the innovators who
    build tomorrow’s economy. Computer science has
    quickly moved from a narrow elective to a basic
    skill that every student needs, something the
    people at Osage Community School district understand
    and have embraced with a passion. In addition to requiring
    computer science for students to graduate,
    they have dramatically increased learning
    opportunities for K-12 students to explore
    coding, design apps or to find their passion in
    the world of technology. And through an innovative
    partnership with NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids, Osage
    is training teachers to better integrate computer
    science in subjects like math, English and art. I want to recognize Osage
    and NewBoCo for their vision and congratulate
    the students for their success. You are absolutely a model
    for our state and for our nation. Please stand. (applause) (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: What
    Osage is doing is amazing and we need more of it. Currently almost
    two-thirds of schools teach computer science in
    middle and high school and about half teach it in
    elementary and we need that to be 100%, which is
    why I’m calling on the legislature to take
    computer science statewide and ensure every student
    at every level has access to this new basic skill. (applause) Governor
    Reynolds: One of the best ways for students to
    learn is through hands on experience, which is why
    we’re making Iowa a leader in work-based learning. In the last year alone we
    have expanded high school registered apprenticeships
    and launched the work-based learning
    clearinghouse. And this year we’ll be
    adding a million dollars for work-based learning
    coordinators to be covered by operational
    sharing agreements. Momentum in work-based
    learning is building across the state and
    Council Bluffs is a great example. The school district, Iowa
    Western Community College, and several local
    businesses have partnered to create TradeWorks
    Academy where high school students work with
    professionals to experience what it’s like
    to have a career as a plumber, electrician
    or a mechanic. It’s a win-win for the
    students in the community. The students learn skills
    that lead to lifelong careers and local
    businesses get the workforce that they so
    desperately needed. Emma Myers, a junior, is
    using TradeWorks to learn about welding, something
    her dad has been doing for 40 years and she would
    like to follow in his footsteps. By the time she graduates
    high school she’ll have a welding certificate that
    can immediately lead to a job right there
    in Council Bluffs. I want to recognize Emma
    and a number of the folks here today from
    TradeWorks Academy. (applause) (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: In
    2019, we made historic investments in K-12
    education with over $90 million in new money,
    including an increase in per pupil funding and
    transportation equity. The budget I’m presenting
    today makes another historic investment with
    over $103 million in new funding so that Iowa
    schools can maintain the best teachers and
    classrooms in the world. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: When it comes
    to workforce opportunities Iowa is in a
    strong position. We have thousands of open
    jobs in rewarding careers and that is why we
    launched Future Ready Iowa. Three years after starting
    the initiative and just one year after this body
    overwhelmingly voted to approve funding, Iowans
    who are looking for a way up are finding
    that opportunity. Over 6,000 Iowans are
    already receiving the Last Dollar Scholarship, almost
    80% of which are adult learners. That is 6,000 Iowans who
    are on their way to a rewarding career. Take Sarah Keehn, a 35
    year old mother of six from Hampton, who was laid
    off when her employer closed its doors. Because of the Last Dollar
    Scholarship she is now at NIACC pursuing a medical
    assistant’s degree and soon she will help fill
    the shortage of workers in our health care industry. Zach Behrensmeyer from New
    Liberty is another great example. So Zach assumed college
    was something that he couldn’t afford. But the Last Dollar
    Scholarship has enabled and encouraged him to
    pursue a degree in computer software
    development at Kirkwood. When Zach graduates this
    spring he’ll have a highly marketable degree in a
    field where the average starting salary
    is $55,000 a year. Sarah and Zach, please
    stand to be recognized. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Through the
    Employer Innovation Fund, Future Ready Iowa is also
    working to spur innovation among employers and
    communities in addressing their workforce needs. In Muscatine, the local
    community foundation has partnered with Muscatine
    Community College and Eastern Iowa Community
    College to create an extensive six-week program
    for low income parents who have children in school. They are working to become
    welders or certified nursing assistants, and if
    they stay on track in this program, a job will be
    waiting for them at the end. On the other side of the
    state Peterbilt of Sioux City and Midwest Diesel
    Tech Academy developed a training program to meet
    the increasing demand for diesel mechanics
    in the area. In Oskaloosa, the school
    district recognized transportation as a major
    barrier for students to attend career academies
    at Indian Hills Community College so they developed
    a transportation program to make it happen. With all three of these
    and so many more, the state of Iowa, through the
    Employer Innovation Fund, was a partner. In less than a year, we
    have helped thousands of Iowans upscale for
    the new economy. Future Ready Iowa is
    working, which is why I’m proposing that we
    expand the Last Dollar Scholarships and the
    Employer Innovation Fund by $2 million each,
    bringing the total investment to
    over $20 million. (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Child care is the next workforce
    issue we need to tackle. It is another barrier for
    families looking for a way up. For some, it is
    about affordability. For others, access
    is the issue. And for thousands of
    Iowans it is both. This year we need to act. First, let’s make child
    care more affordable by expanding the Early
    Childhood tax credits. Currently, they are
    available to families making $45,000 or less and
    I am recommending that be doubled to $90,000. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Second, we
    must begin to address the child care cliff so that we
    are, hang on there, okay. I agree. So we’re not punishing
    parents as they continue on a path to
    self-sufficiency. To do this, we should
    implement a tiered copay system that doesn’t punish
    those who work hard enough to earn a raise. (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Finally, we need to enlist
    Iowans to find common sense solutions that
    increase access to child care. If you consider Lee
    Container, it is a manufacturing facility in
    Centerville that employs 200 people. Since opening its doors in
    2008 they have expanded but have struggled
    to find workers. Lack of child care was
    part of that problem. So Lee Container partnered
    with a local provider to turn a vacant elementary
    school into a daycare center and that is exactly
    the kind of innovation that we need, which is why
    I’m opening the Employer Innovation Fund to
    employers and community organizations who have
    ideas to expand and create child care options in
    their communities. I want to recognize
    Robert, the CEO of Lee Container, and Michelle
    from Curious Kids, who are with us today. Thank you for your
    inspiring idea. There they are, they’re
    clear up there in the corner. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: I have made
    it a priority of this administration to focus
    on prisoner re-entry and rehabilitation because our
    prisons shouldn’t be one stop in a circle that
    leads back to prison. Those in our correctional
    facilities are serving time for a reason. But when they leave we
    want them to succeed because here’s the thing,
    if they re-offend they land back in prison at
    a cost to taxpayers of $32,000 per year. But it’s more than that. When someone has lost
    their way we are called to seek them out, to leave
    the 99 to find the 1. I believe in that calling,
    which is why I formed the Governor’s Focus Committee
    on Criminal Justice Reform. This committee, which is
    chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, includes law
    enforcement, correction officials, the NAACP
    and a wide range of stakeholders. Last month they provided
    several recommendations and we’re already in the
    process of implementing many of them. And last year, I signed
    legislation that protects employers that are willing
    to give returning citizens a second chance. To build on that we hosted
    roundtables are our correctional facilities in
    Mitchellville and Rockwell City where more than 80
    employers stepped inside our prison walls and maybe
    a little outside their comfort zone. They did that to learn
    more about how they can meet their workforce needs
    and give an Iowan a second chance at a productive
    and rewarding life. Finally, I am renewing
    my support to amend our Constitution so that it no
    longer bars felons from voting after they have
    served their sentence. To see why it matters,
    talk to William Burt from Waterloo. He spent much of his life
    in and out of prison, but now a business owner
    working to change Iowa law to allow mobile barber
    shops, which I think is a good idea. I recently called William
    to tell him that I was restoring his voting
    rights and hearing those words brought
    tears to his eyes. You cannot imagine the
    gratitude and dignity that Iowans like William feel
    when they are told that they can once again
    exercise what Ronald Reagan called the crown
    jewel of American liberties. William, please stand so
    that we can recognize your efforts to become an
    active and productive citizen of this
    great state. (applause) (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: I am
    grateful to the House for starting this process last
    year by approving the Constitutional amendment
    with a strong bipartisan vote of 95 to 2. I also appreciate the
    productive conversations we’re having with Senators
    and I look forward to continuing to work with
    you to pass the amendment and craft an implementing
    statute that lets us avoid the confusion and lawsuits
    that have plagued other states’ restoration
    efforts. (applause) Governor
    Reynolds: Together we can help put returning
    citizens on a path to redemption. We can help them become
    productive members of society, reduce recidivism
    and make our communities a safer place. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: Opportunity
    lives here because of the ingenuity of our people. If Iowa is going to thrive
    in the next decade we must make sure that government
    isn’t stifling that ingenuity. I’m concerned we are. One quarter of Iowa’s
    workforce requires some kind of professional
    license. If that sounds like a lot,
    that is because it is. It is the second highest
    in the nation, which puts our state and its
    people at a competitive disadvantage. A recent study shows that
    our licensing system cost Iowa 48,000 jobs
    and $290 million. Our licensing requirements
    are also the worst for low income people, meaning
    that those who need opportunity the most have
    the hardest time getting a license. We should never ever
    dismiss the importance of protecting the health and
    safety of the people. But is has been far
    too long since we have modernized our
    licensing structure. And that is what I’m
    asking you to do today. First, we need to adopt
    universal licensing recognition. Those who go through a
    rigorous application process in another
    state and meet certain conditions in our state
    should be able to have that license
    recognized here. Let’s encourage these
    skilled workers to move to Iowa. Second, we should waive
    license fees for low income individuals. Now, that doesn’t mean we
    lower any standards, it just ensures we don’t deny
    someone a professional license simply because of
    their inability to pay. Third, we currently have
    no uniform standard for considering criminal
    convictions in licensure. As a result, qualified and
    skilled Iowans are being denied the chance to
    obtain a license because of mistakes unrelated to
    the profession they now want to enter. And this is another
    barrier to ex-offenders re-entering the workforce
    and we need to change it. Lastly, we need better
    oversight of the entire professional
    licensing process. I’m calling for the
    creation of a commission that will review every
    professional license requirement and the boards
    that oversee them every four years. Licensing reform is a
    topic that has bipartisan support, but that doesn’t
    mean it will be easy. There will always be
    entrenched interests who benefit from overly
    burdensome regulations. But we can’t let those
    interests stand in the way of opportunity. These reforms are long
    overdue and this is the year we begin to
    fix a broken system. (applause) (applause) (applause) Governor Reynolds: As we head
    into this legislative session, let’s not focus solely
    on the next 12 months. This is a time to chart
    the path for the next 10 years, to stand together
    to enact a comprehensive agenda that invests in
    Iowa, returns money to taxpayers, preserves
    our land and water, strengthens our schools,
    looks after the health and wellbeing of all Iowans
    and gives every Iowan the opportunity to succeed. So as we move into the
    next decade, let’s put Iowans first. Let’s be bold
    and visionary. Let’s seize this
    opportunity and make the next decade Iowa’s best. It’s time we show the
    world that opportunity lives here. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the
    great state of Iowa. Thank you. (applause) (applause) Yepsen: That was Governor Kim Reynolds wrapping up
    her speech, standing there enjoying some applause
    from the members of the General Assembly. We’re joined now by
    House Minority Leader Representative Todd
    Prichard of Charles City. Representative, thank you
    very much for being with us today. Prichard: Thanks for
    having me again this year, David. Yepsen: I want to ask you
    what is your reaction to what you heard
    in this speech? Prichard: Well, there’s
    quite a bit in the Governor’s speech
    for us to work with. I think there’s some
    initiatives and some starting positions, some
    starting proposals with IWILL, that is obviously a
    big topic for us that we’d like to work with her on. There’s a lot to —
    Yepsen: IWILL is the water quality initiative. Prichard: Right, the trust
    fund for water quality initiatives. Yepsen: What else do you
    view as points where you could work with
    the Governor? Prichard: Obviously
    anything where we’re going to do something that
    betters the lives of working Iowans. I like to hear the talk
    and the proposals about child care. That is something that has
    been a barrier for a lot of working Iowans as far
    as finding child care and things like that. So that is something, a
    specific proposal we would like to work with
    the Governor on. The mental health issue,
    last year we passed a mental health package that
    created a program but really didn’t do a funding
    piece to that legislation. So finding a way through
    her proposal with the sales tax increase is
    something that we’ll work with her on. We’d like to find a
    permanent solution for funding mental health
    across the state. Yepsen: One of the things
    that she’s trying to do with this money is to
    lower local property taxes. Is there some way you can
    assure that gets through to the local
    property taxpayer? Often times local
    governments are accused of taking state money and
    just continuing to spend that money. Prichard: Property tax and
    increases has been a big issue, particularly in my
    district in rural north Iowa. And what we’ve seen, what
    I’ve seen over the last few years is really a
    property tax burden shift. We can claim victories
    that we have shifted and lowered income tax rates,
    but really that has resulted in a burden shift
    to property tax owners, and that is particularly
    tough for rural Iowans. So that is something we’d
    like to see what her specific proposal is and
    what she has in mind. But it’s something that
    we have to stop shifting burden just because we
    want to lower income tax to property tax owners
    and the sales tax. Yepsen: Are there places
    where you see any flash points with the
    Governor and democratic legislators? Prichard: I think
    health care. I didn’t, I’ve always
    listened closely to see what the Governor is
    proposing to do with dealing with health
    care in Iowa. We have had a lot
    of issues with the privatization and it has
    had a traumatic effect on small rural hospitals and
    health care providers across the state. And I didn’t really hear
    much in terms of what she is doing to address health
    care and that is something that I think needs to be
    addressed and is probably lacking in the speech. Yepsen: Also joining us
    is Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen
    of Des Moines. Senator, what is your
    reaction to Governor Reynolds’ speech? Petersen: I thought the
    Governor raised a lot of good points about keeping
    young people in our state. I was surprised, as
    Representative Prichard, about her health care
    message, nothing to fix the Medicaid mess that
    we’re still facing as a state. Maternal health care is
    in a crisis situation. She touched on that
    just a little bit. But that won’t stop the
    millions of dollars that are leaving our rural
    hospitals to go to these out-of-state corporations
    that aren’t covering the cost of delivering babies. Yepsen: What do you see,
    Senator Petersen, what do you see as the major
    flashpoints, what could be major points of
    disagreement with the Governor’s program
    in the Senate? You mentioned a couple. But are there any specific
    ones that you can see will be problematic? Petersen: Well, I think
    she talked about a huge tax package and we’ll want
    to look at the details on that to make sure that low
    income Iowans and Iowans who are retired and on
    fixed income don’t take the biggest hit with that. Yepsen: And how do you,
    let me ask you this sort of a brief question. The Constitution requires
    that the Governor report on the condition
    of the state. We don’t make that
    requirement out of the legislature. But I’m going to ask
    you the question. Senator Petersen, what do
    you think the condition of our state is? Petersen: That’s
    a good question. I think that we’re facing
    some pretty significant issues. The Governor said the
    condition of the state is strong. But if you look at the
    amount of money that they have invested in our
    classroom budgets we’re seeing schools shutting
    down across our state, we’re seeing rural
    hospitals struggling. So I tend to disagree with
    her on saying that the condition of the
    state is strong. When our smaller
    communities are doing better financially then I
    could maybe agree with her but we’re not
    there right now. Yepsen: And,
    Representative Prichard, the same question to you. What is the condition
    of our state? Prichard: I really think
    it depends on who you ask and where they are. Right now the farm economy
    is in some struggles with trade and with ethanol. As the Governor mentioned
    she is going to propose $2 million for renewables so
    they can do research and development I believe. That type of
    investment is great. But there’s a bigger
    problem with small ethanol plant waivers, with the
    trade issues that farmers are facing right now. You look at in rural
    communities there’s a lot of struggles. There’s struggles to find
    workers, to find people to fill jobs in critical jobs
    in all parts of the state. I think you look at wages,
    wage growth in Iowa has not been what
    it should be. Our median wage, we need
    to be focused on raising the median wage in Iowa
    that if you’re going to come to Iowa you’re going
    to find a job that that job can support a family. And that’s, we’ve got too
    many people caught in a situation where they’re
    having to work two jobs and they’re not
    making ends meet. So I think it really
    matters on who you ask as what the state of
    the state is in. Yepsen: What will
    democrats be doing about housing? Petersen: I think one of
    the biggest issues you’re going to see this year,
    which has bipartisan support, is to help Iowans
    who are living in mobile home parks. We’ve seen out-of-state
    predatory investors come and buy those properties
    up and then charge outrageous increases to
    them that they can’t afford and so I’m hoping
    that democrats and republicans will work
    together to give them some more rights as homeowners. Yepsen: And
    Representative, quickly, housing is an issue in
    small towns and in urban areas. Prichard: It’s
    a big issue. We’re looking at proposing
    legislation to expand the workforce housing credit,
    hopefully make — a lot of times dollars just don’t
    make, the amount that you have to spend in rural
    Iowa to get something fixed isn’t the
    same as urban Iowa. Yepsen: I’m sorry
    to you both. Thank you for
    being with us. We’re out of time today. I look forward to seeing
    you on the Iowa Press show and we can talk more about
    these things in greater detail. Petersen: Thanks
    for having us. Prichard: Always
    a pleasure. Yepsen: Thanks to House
    Minority Leader Prichard and Senate Minority Leader
    Petersen for joining us. That wraps up our coverage
    of the 2020 Condition of the State Address. For our entire hardworking
    Iowa PBS crew here at the State Capitol in Des
    Moines, I’m David Yepsen. Thanks for
    joining us today. ♪♪ Funding for this
    program was provided by Friends, the Iowa PBS
    Foundation, as well as generations of families
    and friends who feel passionate about the
    programs they watch on Iowa PBS.

    Locally-developed S. Korean space rocket on track for 2021 launch
    Articles, Blog

    Locally-developed S. Korean space rocket on track for 2021 launch

    January 20, 2020

    ever since South Korea launched his
    first space rocket in 2013 with Russia’s help it’s been working to develop
    Baracus solely with domestic technology art so jung-in tells us more about the
    new D rocket making an ear piercing noise a column of rocket exhaust rises
    into the air over the narrow space center a 75 ton thrust engine blows out
    flames the nuri rocket South Korea’s first locally built space rocket is
    having its 139th fire test the new rocket is made up of three stages and is
    designed to carry a 1.5 tons satellite into low orbit the first stage of the
    rocket is a clustering of 475 tons thrust liquid-fueled rockets and is
    considered the most difficult stage to develop the first stage plays an
    important role in launching the 200 ton duty rocket 55 metres from the ground so
    making the stage stable as crucial once all the tests are done development on
    the projectile can be completed the 45 metre launch pad the supplies fuel and
    oxidizing agents is expected to be completed in October in order to go into
    space and get out of the Earth’s gravity we need Rockets space rockets being the
    means to go into outer space South Korea will now have individually developed the
    ability to send people and objects into space the government has your marked
    over 1.6 billion u.s. dollars from 2010 to design and develop the new rocket
    to place the payload into orbit 600 kilometres above the earth the Institute
    hopes to launch the rocket by February next year and apply the technology to
    its 2030 Lunar Module Teddington Arirang news

    Unification Minister says concrete results must be achieved in inter-Korean railway project
    Articles, Blog

    Unification Minister says concrete results must be achieved in inter-Korean railway project

    January 16, 2020

    a lot of attention has been focused on a
    railway project between the two Koreas with president moon jaein highlighting
    it numerous times as a way to shore up inter-korean relations despite the
    stalled North Korea us denuclearization talks kind of forcing the project into a
    state of limbo the South Korean government and some local experts remain
    optimistic the progress will be made in 2020 Parque June with more South Korea
    plans to push this new year to advance a long delayed inter-korean railway
    project for a breakthrough in deadlock talks with North this year marks the
    20th anniversary of the two Koreas agreement to reconnect railway and roads
    we must fulfill that goal now a seminar organized by rail Hope was held in Seoul
    on Wednesday centering on the role the inter-korean railway project has in
    regards to peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula the unification Minister
    pointed to the project as the best way to establish a peace economy based on
    inter-korean economic cooperation Seoul and Pyongyang completed the Econoline in
    2006 but a 2-mile ila runs along the east coast of the Korean Peninsula is
    yet to be finished once complete trains departing from the south will be able to
    pass through north korea to reach destinations like Russia China and even
    Europe the deadlock in an a clean dialogue installed nuclear talks between
    Pyongyang and Washington have prevented further discussions in advancing new
    projects but it appears that all that is required is a little more patience
    because North Korea is seemingly very much interested it might seem as though
    there’s only bad news but based on the great amount of information I’ve
    accessed through China North Korea is very much interested in the inter-korean
    railway and roll’ projects and is willing to participate when the
    conditions are right why North is so interested in the railway project the
    immense economic benefits it can bring the railway connection project has
    enormous economic effects analysis show that it can bring South Korea benefits
    worth 1.4 billion u.s. dollars whereas North Korea would see benefits worth 14
    billion dollars the groundwork is slowly being made to
    realize the vision China and Russia submitted a resolution to the UN
    Security Council that includes reading the project from restrictions Chinese
    President Xi Jinping also expressed strong support for the railway project
    during a summit with president moon jae-in in Beijing last month the South
    Korean government also plans to do what it can under the current status quo and
    continue reaching out to the north so that this year can be different for
    inter-korean ties the completion of the line is expected to bring great benefits
    to the domestic economy it’s expected to re-energize the steelmaking
    petrochemical and tourism industries all the more reason to find a momentum to
    advance e projects PACA tonight on news